### Brain Teasers

# Menacing Matchsticks X

You will need twenty-seven matchsticks for this puzzle.

Take sixteen matchsticks and arrange them into the number 188. Next, take another matchstick and place it horizontally after the 188 to form a minus sign. Finally, take the last ten matchsticks and form the number 33. Make sure each digit is at least the width of a matchstick apart.

You should have "1 8 8 - 3 3", which is equal to 155.

The goal of this puzzle is to move two matchsticks from the first term (188), and move them to the second term (33), such that the value of all of the matchsticks is as close to zero as possible.

Notice that if the two central matchsticks from the two 8s in the first term were moved to the two 3s in the second term, you would get "100 - 99", which is equal to 1. While this solution seems strong enough to be the best possible solution, there is yet another solution that is superior to this one.

Can you figure it out? How can you move two matchsticks from the 188 to the 33 such that the value of all of the matchsticks is as close to zero as possible?

There are some rules to this puzzle. You may not break, bend, remove, or stack the matchsticks. You may also not tamper with the matchstick that functions as the minus sign.

Take sixteen matchsticks and arrange them into the number 188. Next, take another matchstick and place it horizontally after the 188 to form a minus sign. Finally, take the last ten matchsticks and form the number 33. Make sure each digit is at least the width of a matchstick apart.

You should have "1 8 8 - 3 3", which is equal to 155.

The goal of this puzzle is to move two matchsticks from the first term (188), and move them to the second term (33), such that the value of all of the matchsticks is as close to zero as possible.

Notice that if the two central matchsticks from the two 8s in the first term were moved to the two 3s in the second term, you would get "100 - 99", which is equal to 1. While this solution seems strong enough to be the best possible solution, there is yet another solution that is superior to this one.

Can you figure it out? How can you move two matchsticks from the 188 to the 33 such that the value of all of the matchsticks is as close to zero as possible?

There are some rules to this puzzle. You may not break, bend, remove, or stack the matchsticks. You may also not tamper with the matchstick that functions as the minus sign.

### Hint

The solution involves the use of a mathematical constant, as well as a caret that represents the process of exponentiation.### Answer

Take the central matchstick from the first 8 and the bottom-right matchstick from the second 8, and form a caret with them between the two 3s.You should now have "1 0 e - 3^3". The symbol e is a mathematical constant equal to approximately 2.71828. 10e is thus 10 times e, which is equal to about 27.1828. 3^3 is 3 to the power of 3, which is equal to 27. Therefore "10e - 3^3" is approximately equivalent to "27.1828 - 27", which is equal to 0.1828, an improvement over the previous solution of 1.

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