On Friday i posted this puzzle….Bonjour. Can you add 5 lines to the image below to make the whole form nine? Oh, and can you add 3 lines to make it form eight?

If you have not tried to solve it, have a go now. For everyone else, the answer is after the break.

The solutions are…..


Thus the word ‘Bonjour’ at the start of the post. Did you solve it? Any other solutions?

I have produced an ebook containing 101 of the previous Friday Puzzles! It is called PUZZLED and is available for the Kindle (UK here and USA here) and on the iBookstore (UK here in the USA here). You can try 101 of the puzzles for free here.


    1. This was how I worked it out – why do you think it’s wrong? I was quite proud of myself for a minute there!

    2. It’s wrong ‘case you only need to add two longs to make it tally to eight. One strike through to turn the first four lines into five, then one extra line at the end, 5 and 3 = 8. The puzzle was to add three lines, no more, no less and this method only uses two.

  1. There was a Flemish pig farmer who had a very smart pig that could do maths. When he asked the pig “what is 3 + 6” the pig would say “Neuf!”. “What is 4+5”? “Neuf!” “What is 3*3?” “Neuf!”.

    A man walked by and noticed that all the equations ended up in nine, so he asked the farmer: “Can I ask him a math problem?”
    “Sure” said the farmer. The man asked “What is 4 + 4?”. The pig stayed quiet for a little while, and then the farmer put a stick in it’s ass, and the pig replied “HUIT!!!”.

  2. My eight in three was by making ||8|| which is, as anyone versed in linear algebra knows, the scalar length of a dimensionless vector of length 8. Or it’s the absolute value of the absolute value of 8, to be a bit more reasonable.

  3. I got the NINE, but for eight, I used XII-IIII (adding 2 for “X” and one for “-” )

    You can also get eight by adding two lines (and nine by adding 3) (IIIIIIII and IIIIIIIII), and with II×IIII (adding two in a cross for ×, while nine can be made by III×III (again adding 2)

  4. 5 added lines for whole form 9:
    11-1-1-1+1 (i.e. 1 line for each “-” and 2 lines for “+” and each vertical line being a “1”)

    3 added lines for whole form 8:
    11-1-1-1 (i.e. 3 lines, one for each “-“).

    This was just arithmetic. Richard’s official solution was more clever.

  5. Ha! I was so sure of my eight, but I guess I was headed in a completely different direction. I added 3 more parallel lines to “form” eight spaces.

  6. I added III to the end of second example to form 8 empty spaces between lines.

    With the first one I doubt there was even 3 seconds I took to find the solution 🙂

  7. Put a circle through lines 2 and 3, a circle through lines 4 and 5, and a big circle through lines 1 and 6, and you have a big 8 on its side. Or infinity I suppose, if you’re being pedantic.

  8. Got nine, and with the three lines I made IIII + IV (the extra lines are the crossbar of the + and the V). Two valid Roman notations for 4, and 4+4=8.

  9. I got both, but only after seeing the clues in some of the comments.

    I believe ‘hence’ would be more appropriate than ‘thus’ though.

  10. yes + oui,
    I had always thought my schoolboy-french had been a waste of time, now I celebrate the tortured hours spent trapped in class.

  11. Got the NINE. for eight my solution was:

    | | | | | |
    | |———–| |
    | | | | | |

    which makes 8 rectangles

  12. just spell out NINE…add a slanting match between the first two matches,,,then another slant between the 4th and fifth,,and finally,put 3 horizontal matches at the last matchstick…Done..

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