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Matchstick Math

The Puzzler


RAY: Here's the answer moving a match stick, one match stick. And that is, you take the match stick from the equal sign. And you bring it over to where the minus sign is and you make one equal to three, now minus two.


TOM: Sure, that's good.


RAY: OK? Or, you move no sticks and you walk around to the other side of the table. You walk around 180 degrees and look at it from the other side of the table -- assuming you had them set up on a table. And you can look at it from the other side, in which case you need to move nothing. And it says two equals three minus one.


TOM: Well, the answer is what's the least number of --


RAY: Match stick movements.


TOM: Isn't zero leaster than one?


RAY: Yeah.


TOM: There aren't two answers. There's one answer.


RAY: OK.


TOM: The answer is zero.


RAY: Anyway, do we have a legitimate winner?


TOM: Yes, we do. The winner is Richard King from Sunnyvale, California. Congratulations!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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