On Friday I posted this puzzle…..

Take five matchsticks and form the figure of a giraffe as is shown in the diagram.  Now can you move just one matchstick so that the shape of the giraffe is remained intact but is rotated or reflected?

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

I guess, technically speaking, the answer is ‘no’ because the head is not exactly square.  However, if you are not deterred by a small slant, you can do this……

Did you solve it? Any other answers?

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


  1. But surely in this answer the shape is reflected AND rotated, while the question asked if it could be reflected OR rotated…:)

    1. Nope, it’s just reflected !

      (I did the same mistake friday. Axis of reflexion is the neck. Every combination of a reflection and a rotation is a reflection)

    2. I actually had to physically get the matchsticks out before I could see what you meant, but I got there eventually. I guess my understanding was deterred by the small slant.

      Thanks for pointing it out. I love being wrong – means I’ve learnt something.

  2. To anyone who doesn’t like the angle of the “head” in the answer…

    So, you amputate two of the Giraffe’s legs, re-attach them, not to the body, but to the other two feet and you expect the giraffe not to move its head?

  3. Unusual of Richard to actually own up to the objection to his answer. Usually he just leaves us to argue over it. Or, in the case of one of the more philosophically tricky he set recently, give no answer at all and just leave us to argue over it.

  4. This was a good answer, giving both solutions, which is probably how we all felt: “technically no, but allowing for the angle being a minor error, there is a solution”.

  5. Awwww the head angle makes a huge difference to those of us who get hung up on technicalities. Of course I saw that possible axis of reflection, but technically it did not solve the puzzle!

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