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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magical equations » » Magic Square and failed math (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Ellen Kotzin
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How good at math do you have to be to understand the Magic Square? I am NOT good in Math at all. Smile

Alessandro Scotti
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I think everyone can understand and appreciate a simple magic square:

2 7 6
9 5 1
4 3 8

The sum of the numbers in any single row, column, or diagonal is always 15. Pretty isn't it?
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Bill Cushman
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To create and perform a magic square, ala Dyment for example, you just need to be able to subtract twenty from a two-digit number and then add one to the result. If you can do this you are in like Flynn.
Scott Cram
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In the August 1997 issue of MAGIC, Bob Farmer, in his Flim-Flam column, writes up a great scam called, "Face-up Blackjack".

The game seems to be a version of blackjack played with just a few cards. The scam is highly unusual because the SECRET involves a magic square (instead of the effect, like we've been discussing).

You're far ahead of the audience, because they think they're playing blackjack. What they don't realize is that they're actually playing tic-tac-toe.
Bill Hallahan
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I think the idea of using a magic square to play a game where you win by having 3 numbers total a certain amount was first published in the book, “Aha! Insight”, by Martin Gardner. I am not sure who invented it.

I really like the idea of using cards to play this game.

I was very into magic squares when I was a child. I played tic-tac-toe this way with my siblings and friends using paper and pencils.
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I love the idea of presenting this in a 'blackjack' context. Is August 97 Magic magazine available as a reprint, or is there somewhere else I can find details of the routine?
Sid Mayer
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I would have some concern about doing this effect. There are those who might accuse you of having weapons of math deduction.

All the world's a stage ... and everybody on it is overacting.
Scott Cram
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Good news, Ellen! I've run across a magic square that you don't have to be good in math to do!

The easiest source to find it in is Bill Tarr's, "101 Easy-To-Do Magic Tricks". You can find it in almost any magic shop or bookstore. Instead of doing a requested total, you ask them for an odd number (tell them to keep it small, otherwise, you'll be there a loooong time). Let's say they say 3. You then draw a 3x3 magic square that totals the same thing in several different directions.

You can just as easily do this with a 5x5 square, a 7x7 square and so on. As long as you can count from 1 on up, you can do this square.

Sure, the classic 4x4 square with a specific requested total is amazing (and if you don't mind doing a single subtraction, you could do Doug Dyment's "Flash Squared" from his book "Mindsights" - click for link), but the one Bill Tarr teaches is amazing, as well.
Dave V
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On 2003-07-21 19:27, Scott Cram wrote:
Good news, Ellen! I've run across a magic square that you don't have to be good in math to do!

There's another one that's simple to do and just requires memorization of a few numbers (no more than a phone number's worth). (Or, present it on a chalkboard and lightly pencil in a "cheat sheet" that only you can see).

It was published last year in IBM's Linking Ring, but I forget the credits. I'll look it up later tonight.

Basically, they choose a number between 1 and 5, and you start writing it and a few other numbers in a 4x4 grid. This only takes a few seconds and then you can reveal the totals match across, down, corners, etc...and should qualify nicely for a simple routine for "exercising" your mind.

The pattern is always the same, but you can repeat it by rotating the pattern 90 degrees, backwards, upsidedown, etc.... Smile


I found it! It was in the July 2002 Linking Ring in the Mick Ayres "One-Man Parade." He credited it to Arthur Carter. I forgot part of the presentation. It required a *two* digit number, not one. The first is between 1-5 and the second between 5-9, resulting in a two-digit number. When you're done filling in the square (which should take just a few seconds) all the rows and columns add up to the chosen number. Also the diagonals, the four corners, the four in the center, actually *any* group of four in the entire square!

He presents it almost like a running gag throughout the rest of his show as they find more and more combinations that add up to their number.
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Chuck Hickok presents a wonderful and energetic routine for demonstrating the Magic Square.
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