Who can play Mathler? What level is right for me (or my child)?

For Mathematical Minds

Who can play Mathler? What level is right for me (or my child)?

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Adults or children with basic arithmetic skills can enjoy Mathler puzzles. One key (especially for kids) is picking a puzzle at the right level which the tips below will help you do.

As you work Mathler puzzles, you learn and practice some skills that are specific to Mathler — using the green/yellow Wordle-style feedback to find your next guess and constructing guesses to help you find information you need. Even people who are great at arithmetic can find it useful to work the easier levels to develop those skills.

Caution:  Puzzles with negative or fractional target numbers might raise questions for students who haven’t encountered such numbers yet.  Only a few such target numbers have been sighted, and may have been unintentional.  If you are not comfortable with them, just take the day off!


EasyMathler puzzles have addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of positive whole numbers, including numbers with a few digits.   There are five spaces in an EasyMathler expression; one for the operator and the remaining four for two numbers, so expressions can have:

One operator, two numbers each with two digits: 

Examples:        31+65              87-48               37*14             72/24

One operator, one number with three digits and a second number with one digit:

Examples:        6+999             102-7               882*7              117/9

Elementary School students who are comfortable with these operations are ready to start working Easy Mathler puzzles.   

If you want to use these expressions to see if your potential solver can handle them, the values of the expressions (in order) are: 96, 39, 518, 3, 1005, 95, 6174, 13

EasyMathler is a good place to learn how to use the feedback Mathler gives you by marking characters of a guess Green or Yellow. Practice finding a next guess that is consistent with all the information from feedback so far. This is very important in solving the higher level puzzles. Paper and pencil can be helpful when you need to keep track of possibilities.

Mathler (the middle level)

Mathler puzzles have six spaces and allow one or two operators. The arithmetic is similar to that of EasyMathler except that when there are two operators there will be three numbers and they will have 2, 1, and 1 digits; with one operator the numbers will be 4 digits and 1 digit, or 3 digits and 2 digits. Because there can be two operators, the solver must also be familiar with the order of operations See the post “The order of operations and why 3 – 2 + 1 isn’t equal to 0.”. Here are some examples of possible target expressions for Mather:

5 + 17 * 3 9999-6. 333+22

Their values are 56, 9993, 355


HardMathler puzzles have eight spaces; can have up to 3 operations, and can include one set of parentheses (in 8 spaces, there isn’t room for more!) With the extra spaces and operators, HardMathler are (of course) harder to solve and require more patience, perseverance, logic, and strategy in picking guesses! If HardMathler proves frustrating, consider doing Mathler for more practice. Here are some examples of HardMathler expressions:

6 / 3 + 15 * 2 (7 + 11) / 6 15 * (3 + 2) 2 * 4 * 8 * 16 9999 – 123

Their values: 32, 3, 75, 1024, 9876

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