On a table, you have several matchsticks as arranged below. Your objective is to move a single matchstick to create a three-letter word.


Which matchstick do you move, and how do you move it?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ rot13(Vs V zbir bar, fgevxr vg naq hfr vg gb frg gur bguref ba sver, V znxr N-F-U) or is that too lateral? :) $\endgroup$
    – SteveV
    Dec 4, 2023 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ @SteveV rot13: Abg gbb yngreny ng nyy. Gung jnf dhvpx :) $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2023 at 21:42

2 Answers 2


I can do it by

moving one, striking it and using it to set the others on fire


I make A-S-H

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I realize that these sort of puzzles usually rely on such tricks, but the instructions "to move a single matchstick to create a three-letter word" are a bit more than just misleading were this the answer. We've done more than "move" a single matchstick (requiring a striking strip to activate, then moving it back to the whole) and we haven't created a three-letter word, but instead a material, ash, destroying all matchsticks in the process. It's certainly possible to tweak the objective to specifically allow this result to match, currently the objective as written seems too restrictive. $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2023 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ This isn’t true. If you’ve ever burned a matchstick, you’ll know that they burn down to char but not to ash. You need a more confined and hotter fire for that. $\endgroup$
    – Sneftel
    Dec 10, 2023 at 16:09

I think one should move the

upper left matchstick into the bottom right position (rotating it by 90 degrees)

in order to get

Six equal squares. enter image description here

Six is a triangular number.

  • $\begingroup$ isn't that actually 7 squares though? $\endgroup$
    – Sconibulus
    Dec 4, 2023 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ that's correct, i fixed it, thanks. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2023 at 21:50

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