Join the Car Talk Community!

Matchstick Math Number 3E

The Puzzler

RAY: Get a bunch of matches and make the following equation with Roman numerals: XI, that's 11, plus I, then an equals sign and X. So you have XI plus I...

TOM: Eleven plus one.

RAY: Eleven plus one equals ten.

TOM: That's not right.

RAY: That's not right and the question very simply is: What is the fewest number of matches you can move to get an equation that is correct? You can't throw away any matches -- you have to use them all.

I’ll give you a hint. I presented this to my son the other day, my younger son, and he looked at it for a minute. We had it set up on the kitchen table. He leaves the room, and as soon as he re-enters, he has the answer.

Think you know? Drop Ray a note!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic



Rocket Fuel