Matchstick Math II

Mar 01, 2014

RAY: Go and get a bunch of matchsticks. We’re going to make a fraction. The numerator of this fraction is going to be Roman numerals. And the Roman numeral is 23, which is two Xs...
RAY: Then you’re going to take a bunch of matchsticks, and make your line. And then the denominator is going to be 7 in Roman numerals, which is V-I-I. And then an equals sign -- it's a little equation -- equals 2, which is represented by two vertical matchsticks, I-I. OK? Roman numeral 23 over Roman numeral 7 equals 2. 
Obviously, this equation is wrong. Your challenge is to move one matchstick and make the equation correct. Now, you cannot take one matchstick, for example, and make the equation 22 over 7 does not equal 3. Inequalities are not allowed.
TOM: Also, by the way, if I take one of the matchsticks away from the X, I will be left with a sort of diagonal-facing line, and that means ...
RAY: Nothing.
TOM: You can't do that?
RAY: No, you can’t. So again, here's your challenge: how can you move one matchstick and make this into a correct equation?
RAY: So, how can you move one matchstick to make the equation correct? Now, we're going to get a bunch of people to go, "Aw, man, this is bogus!" But...tough!

TOM: Well, that's what Puzzlers are all about! If the answer was simple and straight forward, it wouldn't be a puzzlement, now would it?

RAY: Exactly! And I think the solution is elegant. You are going to take one away from the numerator.

TOM: Yeah, so, instead of saying 23, it's going to be 22.

RAY: And now you have 22 over 7, and with that one matchstick that you removed, a number should jump into your head.

TOM: Yes!

RAY: Because 22 over 7 equals pi, and you're going to put that matchstick that you've removed from the numerator atop the 2 on the right side of the equation, and --

TOM: Oh, man!

RAY: Although it isn't quite accurate, you're going to make the symbol for pi, thus making the equation correct. So who's our winner this week?

TOM: The winner is Laura Leonard from Charleston, South Carolina. Congratulations!

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