coverOn Friday I posted 2 puzzles…

1) Can you use three 2s to create an expression (such as ‘2+2+2’) that equals 11?

2) Can you use each of the digits 0-9 once to create an expression that equals 1?

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

1) 11=22/2

2) 1 = 35/70 + 148/296

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. Is Richard trying some bizarre psychological trick by posting up an answer to question 1 which is so clearly wrong? Or has Barry Goddard hacked his acount?

    (2 + 2)! -2 = 22 is the only “right” answer I can find for (1).

    There are several solutions to question 2.

  2. The official answer is 11=22/2.

    I have councelled several times that the puzzles need a close reading in order to arrive at the right approach and a correct solution.

    Several people in comments have derided me for “pedentry” and such for looking behind the words to the question.

    This time perhaps we can see my position vindicated.

    NONE of the “solutions” offered on Friday (even mine) were even close to 11=22/2.

    NONE of us correctly read the problem. We were all fooled.

    Let is learn from this in future as indeed will I. I will not cease in reading the question closely before approaching with an answer in future.

    1. Can you explain then how we were mistaken in interpreting the question? That would be helpful, as I think we all saw “Can you use three 2s to create an expression (such as ’2+2+2′) that equals 22?” as building an equation A = B where A is made up of three 2s and B would be 22.

    2. @seePyou

      We all saw the WORDS that is true. But none of us saw the TRUE question behind the words. And so we answered the words and not the question.

      Now it seems the words have changed yet the question has NOT changed. That may make it easier for us to answer the question. Or it may make it harder. But it does not change the question that was intended. It only changes our approach to finding that question.

      I feel as stated that my approach has been vindicated by this.

      As an analogy consider astrology. The stars and the moon and the sun and the planets all change position all the time. As do we. Yet for those who look deeply into those changes can see eternal connections.

      Yes I was fooled by the words of this puzzle. But more often than not I see more deeply than others into these puzzles and try to help guide others to the same. My usual reward is ridicule and spelling lesions. I wish it were otherwise but I will persevere nonetheless.

    3. Barry, please explain the question to me, I have tried reading it again and still can’t reconcile it with the answer given. Also as a pedant myself I feel I have to correct your spelling of pedantry.

  3. I found sqrt(22)^2 for the first one, as well.
    As for why there’s a wrong answer up there – perhaps Richard mixed up expression with equation and things went downhill from there?

    1. @cjt the square root of 22 does, indeed, provide negative and positive roots. However, squaring either provides a positive answer, so sqrt(22)^2 is an ingenious and elegant solution.

    2. no you twit, the square root of a number is by convention always the positive root

  4. I think Richard typed the question wrong… meant to type 11, typed 22… there is no other explanation…

    and for (2) I got (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9)^0

  5. I very much liked sqrt(22)^2 and (2+2)!-2
    But doesn’t 16+2+2+2 (and a million similar items) satisfy the conditions of the puzzle?

    1. Yes, Definitively!! The question on friday’s blog was also changed today!!
      It said 22 still yesterday – i am 100% sure.

  6. Oh.
    Now question 1 has been changed.
    Maybe an apology or explanation from Richard is in order. And another from Barry. Hope your lesions heal quickly.

    1. Agreed – quite why Richard has chosen to change the wording of the question retrospectively without acknowledgement, I’ve no idea. It’s odd behaviour.

  7. For 1) I had 22/2=11, but I only read the question properly today, solving it instantly. However, I did glance at it on Friday and could not think of an answer at the time. I don’t remember if it was written as 11 or 22. I’d be interested to know if it was changed.
    For 2) I had:

    1. The question was changed some time today (Monday), without any acknowledgement, which is going to confuse the hell out of latecomers to the debate.

    2. I know it’s a minor thing, but its rather shitty for Richard to make no acknowledgement of the change. He changed Friday’s question today, so now the comments make no sense.

      Bad form.

  8. You all seem to be suffering from the artificial constraints of reactionary bourgeois consciousness within the paradigm of Newtonism-Leibnitzism. Changing the words, or the meaning, or both, of the answer, or question, or both, can be done at any time and for any reason (or for no reason at all), if the revolutionary fervour and determination of the proletariat and the peasantry is fervent and frenzied enough. It matters not whether 2 + 2 = 4 or 5, and it certainly doesn’t matter whether 2 + 2 + 2 = 11 or 22 or even 22,000,000.

    1. I plead guilty to being a disciple of Newton and Leibnitz, but then I studied physics. Of course, Newton’s physics was very much based on determinism, so when Richard starts playing with those rules by altering past events, it causes a certain disruption in the continuum.

  9. The first one changed, from a rather hard one to an obvious one.
    The second has plenty of answers. One with the digits in order is 0-1+2+3+4-5+6-7+8-9=1

  10. Although no one got the right answer to this puzzle (owing thanks to the misread wording) I can now at least offer my answer to the wrong wording. This is an answer that no one got all weekend.

    (2^2)! – 2

    It is elegant as it does not use either addition or square roots.

  11. well another possible answer to the first 22 version is to use the boolean operator for disjunction … 22 or 2 = 22

  12. I saw 22 as well and came up with (2+2)!-2

    For number 2:
    Any form of 123456789^0
    0/23456789 + 1
    0*23456789 + 1

    I think when you do all the variants there are well over 1 million solutions.

  13. did anyone else notice how richard went back and sneakily changed the original problem, so now it asks for an expression equal to 11, instead of 22 like it did over the weekend?

    how shameful.

  14. I scarcely put responses, but I read over a huge
    amount of suggestions here on Answer to the Friday Puzzle.
    Richard Wiseman and had a couple of important questions for you if you wouldn’t mind.
    Might it be just me or do a number oof of the above replies
    look as if they could be coming froom really dumb folks?
    And, if you happen to be writing on other various internet pages, I would like to stay in touch with you.
    Is it possible to post a short list of all of thee social network pages like your
    linkedin link, Facebook page or twitter feed?

    1. Hey Barry, if you think that a lot of people are dumb and you are normal, maybe your just the dumb one.

  15. I think the actual question is, what sneaky psychological experiment is Richard performing on his regular readers?

  16. 1) I could if that was what the question actually asked back on Friday, before being edited!

    2) As others have said, there are numerous answers. Mine was 0+1+2+3-4-5-6-7+8+9.

  17. You changed the answer from 22 on friday to 11 today on Question 1? Also, for the second one, i had 0+1-2-3+4+5+6+7-8-9=1 on the second one, which I think is neater, because it uses the actual numbers themselves, instead of using them as digits.

  18. On Friday YOU posted 2 puzzles…

    1) Can you use three 2s to create an expression (such as ’2+2+2′) that equals 22 AND NOT 11!!!!!!!!! Do you have problems with memory?

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