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Topic: The Magic Square
Message: Posted by: BIlly James (Sep 14, 2003 05:59PM)
Hi gang,

I'm going through the motions of adding the magic square to my act and I have a question for those of you who do this - If the spectator picks a high number, then you have a few very high numbers in your square which stand in contrast to the other relatively low numbers. Have you found this to be a problem (it seems to me to look quite odd when this happens) and what do you do to overcome it?

Many thanks
Message: Posted by: Brent Allan (Sep 14, 2003 09:17PM)
How I do it is I have one spectator choose a single digit number, then another spec pick another. Let's say the first person says 7, the second says 4. I then ask the person if we should use 74 or 47. About half the time, they will choose the lower number. If they give a lower number first, then you don't give them a choice.

I know some people have the spectator give their age. This virtually guarantees a small range of numbers.

Regardless, I have never had anyone notice the large numbers in relation tot he small numbers.
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Sep 15, 2003 03:11AM)
Call me a newbie, go ahead, Im a big boy ...

But, I don't see this as such a grand effect, is it?Am I missing something?
Message: Posted by: Brent Allan (Sep 15, 2003 03:37AM)
Has nothing to do with being a newbie, Zodiac. Have you ever seen a magic square done? If you did, then there are two possibilities. Either it was done poorly, which would account for your dislike of them, or it just doesn't suit your tastes. The only thing I can say is that it gets a great audience reaction every single time I do it. And I have learned that it is not the effects that I like that count, it is what the audience likes that gets you your paycheck.

That being said, however, everyone is free to have their own opinion. It is not for me to say whether you should like a certain effect or not. I for one do not care much for blindfold Q&A routines. I have seen this done 3 times. The only one I enjoyed was Chris Carter's. I felt the other 2 were boring. (And these were done by some "big names" in mentalism)
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Sep 15, 2003 03:41AM)
Chris does have an awesome format. I do think he's one funny performer, and a credit to any of us who wish to follow in his foot steps. With that being said, what are you doing up so late, YIKES!

I thought I was the only one getting off of a gig this late. Never seen a magic square in performance, next time you hear of one, let me know.
Message: Posted by: ddyment (Sep 15, 2003 11:31AM)
Billy asked:[quote]If the spectator picks a high number, then you have a few very high numbers in your square which stand in contrast to the other relatively low numbers. Have you found this to be a problem...[/quote]
Some performers just ignore this. I agree that it's a problem: I think it makes the method a bit too obvious. One solution (already mentioned) is to force the choice of smaller numbers.

The simplistic method described in several magic books also has the drawback of not being repeatable, as the majority of numbers are identical; this makes it useless for walk-around, and a poor choice for trade show work.

The solution is to use a less simplistic methodology for the square itself. There are formulas for calculating magic squares "from scratch" that can be used. They're not as difficult as you might imagine. You can learn [b]lots[/b] about magic squares at [url=http://www.markfarrar.co.uk/msfmsq01.htm]Mark Farrar's excellent site[/url].

But still, concentrating on arithmetic leaves less energy for performance, so my approach [blatant plug follows] is to use the methodology described in [i]Mindsights[/i]: this is repeatable without duplication (even for the same number), deals with large numbers (one performer I know has people call out important years in their lives, and builds squares with those four-digit values), and is easily performed (with only a single, simple subtraction). You can find the book (along with lots of reviews) at [url=http://www.deceptionary.com/]The Deceptionary[/url].

... Doug
Message: Posted by: Greg Owen (Sep 15, 2003 01:16PM)

I use the Orville Meyer (did I spell his name correctly?) square and this issue is a non-issue. All of the numbers in the square are "scaled" up so nothing looks odd.

I would have this problem if I did a variation where I have started to write in numbers *before* they call out a total (!) but otherwise not an issue.

The Orville Meyer square seems so simple. Is there something I'm missing by not using a more advanced square?

- Greg Owen
Message: Posted by: Brent Allan (Sep 15, 2003 02:25PM)
I am not familiar with the Meyer version of the magic square. I use the version in Ted Lesley's Paramiracles book, which I believe is the same version Marc Salem uses. I do not feel the Lesley version is advanced or complicated. Plus, as I mentioned before, I have never had anyone comment on the disparity between the numbers. Which brings us to the old adage "Don't run if you aren't being chased."
Message: Posted by: BIlly James (Sep 16, 2003 08:13PM)
Thanks guys,

I really appreciate all of the opinions and advice you have offered. I will definitely be looking at your book a little closer Doug... I have been promising myself 'Sign Language' for a while now anyway.