Matchstick Angles Puzzler

Oct 06, 2012

RAY: This puzzler is from the matchstick series. Imagine, if you will, that you have four matchsticks of equal length. From those, you can easily make a square. 

At each of the vertices, there is a right angle, or a ninety-degree angle, so there are four right angles.

TOM: I'm with you!

RAY: Now, using those same four matchsticks, make 16 ninety-degree angles. 

You might say, "Can I use the third dimension?" You can use any dimension you want. 

I should mention, you are not allowed to fold, bend, break staple, or mutilate the matches in any other way.

TOM: Can you use mirrors?

RAY: No, but that shows you're on the right track.
RAY: Here's the answer. By design last week, I suggested that you could use the third dimension to solve the puzzler. That was a clear misrepresentation. You don't have to use any stinkin' third dimension, it's all done on a flat tabletop.

With the four matches, take the two on the sides, and move them toward the middle. Take the two on the top and the bottom and move them toward the middle. What are you left with?

TOM: A Tic-Tac-Toe grid. One, two, three, four, there's 16 right angles.

RAY: QED. Do we have a winner?

TOM: Yeah we have a winner. It's Michelle Sumner from Tallahassee, Florida. Congratulations, Michelle! 

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