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6 replies to this topic

#1 bonanova

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 11:52 PM

There's an old parlor trick where one person tosses some old magazines on the floor in a Tic-Tac-toe arrangement like this.

+-----+-----+-----+
 |	 |	 |	 |
 |  A  |  B  |  C  |
 |	 |	 |	 |
 +-----+-----+-----+
 |	 |	 |	 |
 |  D  |  E  |  F  |
 |	 |	 |	 |
 +-----+-----+-----+
 |	 |	 |	 |
 |  G  |  H  |  I  |
 |	 |	 |	 |
 +-----+-----+-----+
Another person [an accomplice] is then asked to leave the room, while the others choose one of the magazines. Say it's magazine F. The accomplice is then summoned back into the room.

The first person takes a yard stick and points to magazine G and asks Is it this one? The accomplice answers No. He then points to say magazine B and asks Is it this one? The accomplice answers No. Several others, say H, A and E are suggested, and the accomplice in each case answers No. Finally he points to magazine F and asks Is it this one? The accomplice answers Yes.

How is this done?

There is a variation of this trick: when the chosen magazine is suggested, the person asks Is it this one? in a high-pitched tone of voice. Immediately someone thinks they've solved it and volunteers to leave the room while another magazine is chosen. But this time, a high voice is used when suggesting the wrong magazine, and the wrong answer is given.

Other phony "tells" can be used for the chosen magazine, such as pausing, or emphasizing: Is it .... THIS one? One by one someone thinks they've solved the puzzle. But in each case they can be shown to be wrong.

Only the accomplice knows the trick.
What is it?

Hint: The chosen magazine can be the first one that is suggested. There doesn't have to be a wrong suggestion that precedes the correct one.
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The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
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#2 EventHorizon

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 01:51 AM

Spoiler for answer

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#3 Duh Puck

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 03:35 AM

It seems like there are many tells that could be used other than voice, but here are a few that pop to mind ...

Spoiler for possible solution

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#4 storm

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 05:31 AM

Spoiler for Is it that simple...

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#5 bonanova

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 05:56 AM

Spoiler for Is it that simple...

It's independent of the number of false suggestions.

Hint: The chosen magazine can be the first one that is suggested. There doesn't have to be a wrong suggestion that precedes the correct one.


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The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
- Bertrand Russell

#6 niner

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 08:25 PM

Spoiler for my answer

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#7 Aunt Minta

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 09:54 PM

I've always played this as a bar trick with 9 coins set in a square. The "psychic" turns their back while the "accomplice" tells the person being tricked to pick a coin without touching it. The psychic then turns back around and puts on a big fuss about "reading" the coins. While they're misdirecting the audience the accomplice takes a drink and sets their drink back down on the napkin indicating the position of the coin.
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