Answer to the Saturday Puzzle

On Saturday, I gave the following puzzle:

Can you make the following equation correct by moving just one number?:

45 – 46 = 1

Answer below the jump.

Short answer: no, you can’t.

Longer answer: none of the following equations are true:

  • 54 – 46 = 1
  • 54 = 46 = 1
  • 5 – 446 = 1
  • 5 – 446 = 1
  • 5 – 44×6 = 1
  • 5 – 464 = 1
  • 5 – 464 = 1
  • 5 – 46 = 41
  • 5 – 46 = 14
  • 5 – 46 = 14
  • 4 – 546 = 1
  • 4 – 456 = 1
  • 4 – 45×6 = 1
  • 4 – 465 = 1
  • 4 – 465 = 1
  • 4 – 46 = 51
  • 4 – 46 = 15
  • 4 – 46 = 15
  • 445 – 6 = 1
  • 445 – 6 = 1
  • 44×5 = 6 = 1
  • 454 – 6 = 1
  • 454 – 6 = 1
  • 45 – 64 = 1
  • 45 – 64 = 1
  • 45 – 6 = 41
  • 45 – 6 = 14
  • 45 – 6 = 14
  • 645 – 4 = 1
  • 465 – 4 = 1
  • 46×5 – 4 = 1
  • 456 – 4 = 1
  • 456 – 4 = 1
  • 45 – 64 = 1
  • 45 – 4 = 61
  • 45 – 4 = 16
  • 45 – 4 = 16

2 thoughts on “Answer to the Saturday Puzzle”

    1. Good point. Though depending how broadly the judges are willing to interpret “move”, you could, in one fluid movement, both rotate the 6 into a 9 and turn it into an exponentiation superscript. I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty sure that raising anything to the ninth power makes it large enough that the equation still won’t hold.

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