# Yet another matchstick puzzle: 14 = 5 [closed]

Is the expression below correct? No. But I never take no for an answer.

Your task is to make the expression true by moving exactly two matchsticks.

As usual, inequalities are not allowed. So is removing, burning, breaking, eating, etc. matches.

Hint:

I never take no for an answer.

• spits out match Sorry, I just read the last line. Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 13:12
• The intended answer is out. Someone voted to close the post. I agree that the number of valid solution is too high to make this a good question for this site. I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 19:05

as you said

I never take no for an answer.

take this YES :)

• This can also be read as "4 (is an element of) 5", which is true in many set-theoretic constructions of the natural numbers, such as the von Neumann ordinals: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 21:42

this is how iranian people write numbers :

so

Could it be

where the left-hand side is not to be viewed as hundred eleven but instead three in roman numerals.

• I first thought of making the 14 a "VI" and moving the bottom of the 5 to make it a weird 6, but this one's better
– oAlt
Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 13:25
– Bass
Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 8:01

We all have our preferences for how numbers in writing look, right? :)

9 = 9

• Very clever approach :)
– Avi
Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 4:14
• Yes, this is the same solution I saw within seconds.
– user78752
Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 10:57

This is my sixth attempt, but I think this one might actually be the intended solution:

Interpret as 11 base 4 = 5.

A little far-fetched:

Interpret as 1-1=0.

Even more far-fetched:

Interpret as 7-1=6.

More fair, but actually not:

Take a mirror and look at the image:
Now an obvious and completely legal solution is:

Just... something:

Flip the image upside down:
And here goes the 'something':
hi = hi :)

Okay here's a little better one:

Interpret as 10 = 10.

• Your best solution would by your #4 upside down. Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 14:02

We can move matches making up the 1 to get

i.e. 4 ∈ 5. The standard definition of five (von Neumann ordinals) is 5 = {0, 1, 2, 3, 4}, so this is in fact true.

This could be very simple if you know Chinese numbers

so

4 = Si Move the 2 matches from 1 to make SI or Si on the right side

And Si also means YES in Spanish.

• The combination of Chinese and Spanish made the answer interesting! Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 15:14
• The best answer! Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 21:18
• Can you add a picture ? It is not obvious to me how you plan to place the matchsticks on the right hand side... Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 9:50
• The idea is to write "SI", not the chinese character. Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 6:30

take the leftmost pair and place them at far right a la "- |"

so it reads "4 = 5 - 1"

• Could you include an image? You can download the image from the OP and edit it. Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 11:07

Sorry about the bad quality of my image, I was using MS Paint...

We're converting decimal to hex so 14 = E (I know we had to move two matches so I moved one of the = ones down a bit... It's still = !

• I like your second move :D Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 15:19

Now that the hint is there,

"Never take no for an answer" is a 1951 movie.

And therefore the answer might be:

If we

Interpret true as a programmer might

We get

This is valid because

14 + 5 evaluates to 19, which is non-zero, and so it is truthy

I know you already have the answer, but I really wanted to solve this, so here is my solution :P

• Unfortunately, though, 'inequalities are not allowed'. Top marks for enthusiasm, but do make sure you read the question in full :)
– Stiv
Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 14:14
• Oh noos! I missed that :P I was so happy with it too ;) Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 15:56