Matchstick Mathematics Number 3-E

The Puzzler

RAY: Of course, I obfuscated. As you'll soon find out.

TOM: But the basic question was, how...what is the least number of matches you can? Is that the question?

RAY: Yes, the smallest number of matches.

TOM: Yeah, yeah.

RAY: OK. And the hint that I gave is that when I presented this to my younger son, Andrew, the other day, he got the answer after he had left the room and returned.

TOM: That's brilliant. I thought that was brilliant.

RAY: A brilliant, brilliant hint.

TOM: A brilliant hint. That's what I'm saying. I thought that was a brilliant hint--after I knew the answer, of course.

RAY: As he stood there at my side and looked at the equation, he said, "Gee, I don't know, Dad." He said, "I can certainly move a match and make the thing correct," he said. And I told him, "Well, you don't have to move any matches." Wow. And he walked out of the room bewildered, and when he came back...

TOM: Was he just bewildered or was he going, "Stupid jerk." He mumbled.

RAY: But when he came back he had the answer, because if you walk around to the other side of the table and look at the equation...

TOM: You see it upside down.

RAY: You see it as X equals I plus IX.

TOM: Man.

RAY: And you have to move no matches to make the equation correct. Who's our winner this week, Tommy?

TOM: Wow. How would I know, I've been so spellbound here I haven't even looked. Here it is. The winner is Jim Shaughnessy from Troy, New York.

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