Puzzle #125: Test Your Creativity

Here is a wonderful small teaser I got from the site brilliant.org. I have seen at least two solutions to this puzzle, so try your creativity, there might be more.

Look at the equation

1     4      9   =   16

Add any mathematical operators in the above equation to balance the two sides, with the following exceptions:

  1. Cannot use “not equal to” sign
  2. Cannot use any operator that requires you to use a digit

As always, please send your answers as comments within the blog (preferred), or send an e-mail to alokgoyal_2001@yahoo.com. Please do share the puzzle with others if you like, and please also send puzzles that you have come across that you think I can share in this blog.

Happy New Year!


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20 Responses to Puzzle #125: Test Your Creativity

  1. Anant Aggarwal says:

    Couldn’t resist when I saw this on LinkedIn and instantly thought of a possible answer!
    4! + 1 – 9 = 16
    Happy New Year!

  2. aditya813 says:


  3. aditya813 says:

    Here’s another one

  4. Alok Goyal says:

    Very creative though technically not allowed

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  5. Prakhar says:

    Alok – I looked at 16 as 8*2 and 4*4 and thus came up with two ways of representing the LHS as these. Solution one will be (9-1)*(4)^0.5 solution 2 will be 4*(1+(9)^0.5).

  6. Prakhar says:

    Alok – two solutions which I thought of were (9-1)*4^0.5 and 4*(1+9^0.5)

  7. Prakhar says:

    Alok – another solution might be

    4 – ((9)^0.5 – 1 ) = 16^0.25

  8. Arunabh says:

    -1 – 4^3 + 9^2 = 16

  9. alok goyal says:

    (1+4)squ-9=16 alok goyal………..aloknmh@gmail.com

  10. alok goyal says:


  11. alok goyal says:

    -1-4+9=root 16

  12. Gautam Kumar says:

    This works if you consider << as an operator.

    1<<4%9 = 16

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