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Match Math

The Puzzler

RAY: OK? So, how can you move one matchstick to make the equation correct? Now, we're going to get a bunch of people to go, "Aw, man, this is bogus!" But...tough!

TOM: Well, that's what Puzzlers are all about! If the answer was simple and straight forward, it wouldn't be a puzzlement, now would it?

RAY: No, it would be a third-grade math problem.

TOM: It would be a third-grade math problem, exactly! These are brain-stretchers, man! I mean, so people who are going to complain: we don't want to hear it!

RAY: Exactly!

TOM: It's the very nature of puzzlement.

RAY: And I think the solution is elegant. You are going to take one away from the numerator.

TOM: Yeah, so, instead of saying 23, it's going to be 22.

RAY: And now you have 22 over 7, and with that one matchstick that you removed, a number should jump into your head.

TOM: Yes!

RAY: Because 22 over 7 equals pi, and you're going to put that matchstick that you've removed from the numerator atop the 2 on the right side of the equation, and --

TOM: Oh, man!

RAY: Although it isn't quite accurate, you're going to make the symbol for pi, thus making the equation correct, and I think it's pretty --

TOM: I mean, everyone has used that approximation. I use it all the time in my calculations!

RAY: Yes.

TOM: I don't like to write out 3.14159... and all those other digits. I just use 22 sevenths, and I'm sure everyone else does too, whether they'll admit it or not.

RAY: Who's our winner this week?

TOM: Shut up. The winner is Laura Leonard from Charleston, South Carolina.

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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