Edit: A commenter below found a real answer. I was really wrong this time. Sorry. I guess I should delete my embarassing remarks, but better to let them stand as a reminder to me.

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Further edit: My error now seems obvious. My initial approach assumed that the first step would be to combine two numbers (this was correct) leaving a new 24 puzzle with 3 numbers. Good. But then I tried all ways to combine 3 and 3, then 8 and 8, then 3 and 8. I was ok with 3 and 3 and 8 and 8, but when I looked at 3 and 8 I excluded 8/3. Why? I wasn't looking for a fraction on the way to a whole number answer. Sloppy.

Thanks to Eric C for correcting me (below)
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K, since I wrote Monday that in the game of 24 {3,3,8,8} has no solution, I have seen a surge (as much of a surge as you might see if you had a blog with 1 – 2 dozen search engine hits per day) in searches related to this puzzle.

There is a solution. It is illegal. It involves using a decimal, and a line over a decimal. .8 with a bar over the 8…

_
.8

Maybe that is what it looks like. Anyway, 3*[8 / (.8-bar)] – 3 = 24.
.8-bar = 8/9.
8 divided by 8/9 = 9
9*3 = 27
and 27 – 3 = 24

It's illegal. Can't be done legally. You can stop looking now.

12 Comments leave one →
1. Eric C. permalink
June 2, 2006 pm30 6:32 pm 6:32 pm

I found this solution posted on another site.

8 / (3 – 8/3)

July 8, 2008 pm31 1:16 pm 1:16 pm

your so cool and great!
i have a lot of time to this prob..

goodluck..

December 2, 2010 am31 12:51 am 12:51 am

This is the Answer 8 /3 = 2.666666666666667
2.666666666666667 – 3 = .3333333333333333
.3333333333333333 / 8 = 24

This is Sooooo Easy why do people have trouble with this
Tip* be careful what calculator
By Nylegend 516

December 2, 2010 am31 1:07 am 1:07 am

Switch the #s
This is the Answer 8 /3 = 2.666666666666667
3 – 2.666666666666667 = .3333333333333333
8 / .3333333333333333 = 24

This is Sooooo Easy why do people have trouble with this
Tip* be careful what calculator
By Nylegend 516

October 5, 2011 pm31 4:43 pm 4:43 pm

My young 11 year old nephew came up with the following solution.
24 = the square root of 8 times 8 multiplied by the square root of 3 times 3

December 2, 2010 am31 1:04 am 1:04 am

Switch the #s
This is the Answer 8 /3 = 2.666666666666667
3 – 2.666666666666667 = .3333333333333333
8 / .3333333333333333 = 24

This is Sooooo Easy why do people have trouble with this
Tip* be careful what calculator
By Nylegend 516

December 2, 2010 am31 1:06 am 1:06 am

Switch the #s
This is the Answer 8 /3 = 2.666666666666667
3 – 2.666666666666667 = .3333333333333333
8 / .3333333333333333 = 24

This is Sooooo Easy why do people have trouble with this
Tip* be careful what calculator
By Nylegend 516

that the Correct answer

December 13, 2011 am31 3:57 am 3:57 am

the solution is 8/3-(8/3) =24

6. February 10, 2012 am29 3:33 am 3:33 am

I have no idea what those mean but on the sheet of paper
It says that you are only allowed to use plus,multiply,divide and take away

7. R.Antony Joyston Fernando permalink
February 20, 2013 pm28 12:46 pm 12:46 pm

Squareroot of 8 *Squareroot of 8*Squareroot of 3*Squareroot of 3 = 24
By R.Antony Joyston Fernando