Get Out Those Matchsticks!

May 25, 2019

RAY: Get out your matchsticks and make the following Roman numeral: 7, which is V-I-I. Then an equals sign, that’s two more matchsticks. Equals one matchstick. So, the equation reads: 7 = 1.

Now, as was the case with the other Puzzler in this series, you must move one matchstick and make this a valid equation. And you cannot make the equals sign an unequals sign. So, you can't say, 6, for example, does not equal 1.

All you can touch are the matchsticks making up the number 7, V-I-I, and the matchstick making up 1.

Now, I'll admit there are two possible solutions. One, our Producer Dougie Berman came up with a few weeks ago, and that one we all considered bogus. And then there is the creative one, which is the one that we'll accept.


RAY: Now, I mentioned that there are two possible solutions, and one of them Dougie came up with right away, and we decided that was one of the moron solutions.

He said take the second I of the V-I-I, and put it below and to the left so it's 1 to the V-I power, or 1 to the sixth power, equals 1. My answer, however, I think is more elegant.

You take that same 1 that Dougie used, and you place it touching the right upper portion of the V, and you extend it in a horizontal direction across the remaining I, making a square-root sign, so it says the square root of 1 equals 1.


Get the Car Talk Newsletter