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## Question

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  |
|	 |	 |	 |
+-----+-----+-----+[/code]
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 [color=#8B0000]Is it this one?[/color]  The accomplice answers No.  He then points to say magazine B and asks [color=#8B0000]Is it this one?[/color] 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 [color=#8B0000]Is it this one?[/color] The accomplice answers Yes.

How is this done?

There is a variation of this trick: when the chosen magazine is suggested, the person asks [color=#8B0000]Is it this one?[/color] 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: [color=#8B0000]Is it .... THIS one?[/color]  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.```

## 6 answers to this question

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Though it's always possible that this is not the solution you are thinking of, this is one way I've seen it done.

The position pointed to on the first magazine suggested is indicative of the right one.

If it is pointed to in the center, then the center one is right. If pointing to the bottom center of the magazine, then the bottom center one is correct. If pointed to in the top right corner, then the magazine in the top right is the one. etc.

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

1. The yardstick has two sides. He turns the agreed upon side face up when pointing at the correct magazine.

2. He points to a specific spot on the correct magazine (e.g., upper left corner)

3. He uses a certain motion (e.g., left-to-right sweep) to point to the correct one.

4. He has an agreed upon speed change (start fast, then come to rest more slowly on the correct one)

5. Many visible body signals could be used (out-turned elbow, weight resting on left leg, etc.).

A skilled con would no doubt incorporate a number of false clues to throw off the observers.

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The previously agreed that the accomplice will say yes only to the sixth indication (in this case). They can agree upon any number . Say for example, they decided that the correct magazine will be indicated only at the seventh. So, the man with yardstick will indicate six others first, then the correct one....

It is very simple.

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The previously agreed that the accomplice will say yes only to the sixth indication (in this case). They can agree upon any number . Say for example, they decided that the correct magazine will be indicated only at the seventh. So, the man with yardstick will indicate six others first, then the correct one....

It is very 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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Imagine each magazine face representing the whole arrangement. If the person points to the right handside halfway up the G magazine (3:00 position) it will indicate the F magazine. This will work for all others. If the person points to the middle of each magazine, E would be the answer, etc. 9:00 would be D, 4:00 would be I etc. etc.

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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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