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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Alphabetical stack to force a word 'merely thought of'. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Andy Moss
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If using cards with alphabetical letters on the front might we perhaps devise a means of range forcing down to just a few words using a partial stack? With an appropriate presentation the spectator might appear to have freely chosen their letters and likewise have freely thought of their word.

The bottom half of the deck might perhaps consist of random alphabetical letters.The top half perhaps could be stacked with specially selected letters devised so that the options for word creation becomes limited.

The deck would first be false shuffled to appear to thoroughly mix the cards and false cuts would be made. The top half of the deck might then be fanned widely face down for the selection of the letter cards. The idea being that say five+- cards are freely selected and then the spectator asked to create any word out of the resulting letters. Once the cards are selected the deck is then shuffled by the spectator and all evidence of the stack is thus lost. One would be left with an ordinary looking mixed alphabet deck.

I am sure that such a deck or presentation already exists and that this approach is not new.Would someone be kind enough to offer me some advice on the feasibility of the idea? Please forgive me for my ignorance of the literature that is sure to already be out there.

Many thanks.Andy.
Doug McKenzie
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Ted Lesley has some great work with this effect
pixsmith
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This was explored pretty heavily in the Jinx. If memory serves, there is a set of letters, and I think a cyclic stack. I believe the forced word was "fox" after having the spectator take six or seven letters.

I welcome a correction -- It's a clever idea as presented, wherever that might be.
Doug McKenzie
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I think the word in paramiracles is "quickly"
Andy Moss
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Thanks to you both for your input.I wasn't aware that Ted Lesley had experimented in this area.This is useful to know.Thanks for the reference.I have run with the word QUICKLY just out of interest to see where my own thinking would lead me.

"Quickly" would seem to work well with the presentation approach that I have in mind.I am currently working out a set of thirteen letters that would lead invariably to this word if the spectator starts of by taking FIVE random cards from the mix and then adds additional cards one by one until they come up with the word seemingly by themselves Smile

I had considered stripping cards out to create the stack on the fly but have decided that creating such a deck would prove too time consuming although doable.The backs of the cards would clearly need to be blank to avoid any suspicion of them being marked.The following stack might work well.There is no need for the stack to be strictly cyclical.

From top down face down.

Firstly the 13 force letters as follows=Z,Q,G,U,B,I,X,C,J,K,V,L,Y,
Then the other 13 letters of the alphabet,
Then the 13 force letter Z,Q,G,U,B,I,X,C,J,K,V,L,Y,
Finally the other 13 letters of the alphabet,

52 cards in total.

If the deck is cut directly in the middle the two equal halves could then be ribbon spread out into two columns and mixed together bringing all the force letter together. This would seem like a very fair mix up of the cards and would be visual and reassuring.After a false 'up the ladder' "cut or two" the first twenty or so cards might simply be taken off the deck as a batch and used.

The only thing is that I am hopeless at scrabble like spelling games.If I look at my 13 force letters and the combinations possible I can see the following words.I suspect there may be a few more that I cannot spot.
JIB, JIG, CUB, ZIG, LUCK, YUCK, KICK, IGGY, GLUG, QUICK, QUICKLY,

If I can get the range force down to just a few words (each of them importantly being of a differing length) then that would work well since I would know what the word was that the spectator was thinking of by the amount of cards in their hand.Another approach might be to ask the spectator to simply eliminate "any excess letters".

Perhaps if the spectator is asked to think of a word of "at least five letters" this would eliminate the problem completely? I can not see any words of this length apart from QUICK and QUICKLY.But again I could be wrong.

With respect to the reveal I might incorporate the use of a dictionary or perhaps have sealed envelopes in my pockets each with a batch of alphabetical cards spelling the thought of word? As soon as I know what the word is I simply place the relevant envelope out on the table. With a little skilful time misdirection and patter it will appear that the envelope was on the table from the oft.The envelope could even be signed and dated over the flap to add a further layer of deception.
pixsmith
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I had to leave the "z" out in the tool I was using, but this is the list that you can make with your force letters. Adding the z and dropping the q didn't change the list in any meaningful way.

"QUICKLY, CLIQUY, BIGLY, BILGY, BULGY, BULKY, CYLIX, JUICY, KYLIX, LUCKY, QUICK, BILK, BUCK, BULK, CLUB, GLIB, GUCK, ICKY, IGLU, LICK, LUCK, UGLY, YUCK, BIG, BUG, BUY, CUB, GIB, GUL, GUV, GUY, ICK, ICY, ILK, IVY, JIB, JIG, JUG, LIB, LUG, LUV, LUX, VIG, VUG, YUK, BI, BY, KI, LI, QI, XI, XU "



That's 52 possibilities. Limit the number of letters to four or more and you have 23, limit it to 5 or more and there are still 11.

Granted, a lot of them are obscure, but there are several that might show up just from random use and because they are formed with familiar patterns.

That's one of the things discussed in the Jinx trick I was talking about, and it's something you might want to consider. Also, if you stay-stack your letters, you can shuffle them and still wind up with the same set in your first set of thirteen, regardless.

Just a couple of thoughts. I am not familiar with Ted Lesley's effect, but I would think that the management makes you pretty sure of getting the result you want. It seems like hoping for something that looks "more real" is going to open a giant can of worms, and it kind of feels like "improving" something that might not need it.

Just some thoughts.

edited to get rid of the ridiculously long line -- sorry about that.
Doug McKenzie
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Ted Lesley doesn't give you 13 letters. I think it's moors like 7 or 8
Andy Moss
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Many thanks for your ideas.They helped a lot.You have got my poor brain working on this.I can not of course hope to improve upon any effect by Ted Lesley.He may well have covered all avenues.In a way not being familiar with Ted's ideas gives me a certain freedom to think and to approach the core idea for myself.That can do no harm.I will however look up his work out of respect and because I suspect I will learn from the great man.

With respect to the challenge that presents us I might say to the spectator "Choose a word of at least five letters long. Don't make it too easy for me!" Since the spectator at first has exactly five letters in his hand after their initial completely unforced (or so they think!) choices this will seem natural enough a request.

I might then further reduce the range through asking the spectator to "Make sure your word is a fairly commonly known word please". This request is reasonable and innocent enough. Thus we limit down to the following words from pixsmith's list:-

QUICKLY,QUICK,BULGY,BULKY,JUICY,LUCKY,

This is better but there is still some way to go.Whilst it will of course be obvious if "QUICKLY" has been thought off there needs to be a means of distinguishing between the remaining 5 words.Using the time honoured ploy of getting the spectator to use a dictionary to find their word would enable me to distinguish between the B and the J and the Q but not between the two words beginning with B and not easily between the words beginning with J and L.

I can reduce the number of force letters downwards from 13 as Doug hints that Ted did in his approach.If I was to do this I would naturally choose to eliminate the letters B and J. We still have as many as 11 force numbers and therefore a substantial batch of 22 cards to present to the spectator for their free choices.The dictionary ploy would now be viable as the L (LUCKY) would be clearly sited in the first half of the book and the Q (QUICK) towards the end when they open the book up to search for their word.The relevant envelope could be produced from the pocket and placed on the table (or even be in a humber wallet sited on the table from the oft?).

The greater the number of force cards in our 'set' the more limited the chance will be of the spectator picking both of the same letter as they 'create' their 'unique' word.However having said this if they hold two of a letter in their hand this will not seem overly unusual since it can be shown afterwards that there were more than one of each letter in the deck.

The options of using a 'cyclical' and particularly the 'stay' stack would also work very well and deserve further thought.

Anyway thanks again for your advices.
Doug McKenzie
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Another tactic is to have repeat letters in the force bank
Andy Moss
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Thanks Doug. Yes we could do that.We could look to limit the whole deck to the multiple duplicates of the 11 force set letters but unfortunately that would not leave us clean should someone ask to see the deck suspecting that the deck is suspect (after all what other alternative explanation could there be for what has just happened?).What I want at the end of the effect is a balanced and random looking deck containing two of each and every letter of the alphabet.Thus there is no way that anyone could then back engineer the methodology.

This would be possible if the 22 letters in the force bank (the revised 11 force letter set Z,Q,G,U,I,X,C,K,V,L,Y containing two of each force letter=22) were brought together via a Stay stack/riffle shuffle or the simple layered stack/ribbon shuffle I detailed earlier on.The selections might be made with this top half of the deck being fanned out in the hand or alternatively a batch of about 20 or so cards could be taken off from the top of the deck.I am preferring the former idea at the moment as it deceives the spectators into believing that the whole deck was used when they remember back.

After the spectator has the cards they need (and it could be as many as nine cards before they can form one of our three target words LUCKY,QUICK or QUICKLY) they would be asked to first return their "excess cards".Thus I know whether the word is QUICKLY or one of the two five lettered words is being thought of.The spectator would then be asked to "bury" the remainder of the cards they are holding in their hand into the main deck and to shuffle the cards.We would thus be left completely clean with a completely natural looking deck.

The use of the dictionary and the relevant envelope could then come into play. A humber wallet would cover for the two five lettered words.For the seven lettered word I might have the third envelope kept stuck to the back inside cover of the dictionary.I could of course simply ring the three words in the dictionary but I don't want to go down that road as it means the dictionary is not then examinable.I also don't want to use doubled ended envelopes.

I shall have to give the nature of the reveal some further thought.
Doug McKenzie
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If there are 2 of each letter in the deck, it would be probable after a shuffle that there would be duplicates in the selected bank. You still end just as clean.
Doug McKenzie
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Also ... Since order doesn't matter and there are duplicates, consider the gilbreath principle and have the spectator shuffle. The top bank will still contain all of the cards that you need to force Im a random order.
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