Get Out Your Matchsticks

Mar 15, 2014

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 equals 1.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: OK. Now, as was the case with the other Puzzler like this, you must move one matchstick and make this...

TOM: An equation.

RAY: Right, a valid equation. And you cannot make the equals sign, again, an unequals sign. So, you can't say, 6, for example, does not equal 1.

TOM: Nor can you touch the equals sign. All you can touch are the matchsticks making up the number 7, V-I-I, and the matchstick making up 1.

RAY: Exactly. 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.

TOM: Wow! What did he come up with?

RAY: 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 elegant.

TOM: Oh, yeah! It is, I admit it is.

RAY: 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. So who's our winner?

TOM: Our winner this week is Richard Kimball of Phoenix, Arizona. Congratulations!

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