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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Puzzle me this... » » Carny game...HELP!? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Stevethomas
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Okay, I've owned and played with this "Cover The Spot" game for a couple years now, and I'm obviously either not starting the correct way, or I'm in need of serious mental help. Now, I'm a decently intelligent guy (IQ 168), but I'm not getting it. You have five flat discs that you have to drop correctly to cover the big red spot. No gaff with this one (like stretching canvas), it's all-metal. Who can help me out with this?

Steve Thomas
0pus
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Is this the carny con game or is it some kind of trick?

If I recall, the idea is that the mark has to drop all five disks so that no red shows at all. This is nearly impossible to do (and, in some cases, it IS impossible).

This is called by carnies an "alibi" game, because the runner of the game can always show the customer why he lost (i.e. can always show a smidgen of red showing through).

What, exactly, is it that you have difficulty with?
truthteller
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Find the Walstead books on carny games, I believe they teach the right method. The first two or three disks must be dropped with amazing precision, I believe it is something to the effect of 1/256th of an inch accuracy. It takes practice but can be done.
thimblerig
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Yes, it can be done. As I recall, you drop three disks in a curvilinear row, covering more than 50% of, say, the left side of the circle. The next two are dropped in a parallel line centered on the middle disk of the first three dropped. I know that isn't too helpful, but if you arrange them that way you should be able to see what I'm talking about. The margin for error is virtually nil.

I have an old setup that consists of a small manilla envelope to hold the disks with the red dot on the outside. Anybody know where these might be obtained nowadays? My envelope has gotten tattered.

Thanks,
tr
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landmark
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If I remember correctly, one of the Martin Gardner's Scientific American collections covered the game in depth. Maybe someone can provide a more specific citation?

Jack Shalom
Stevethomas
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Thanks for the help...I'd like to find somewhere on the net for the Martin Garner articles...

By the way, my "Cover The Spot" is very nicely made in heavy metal, enameled. Bought it a few years ago on ebay, of all places. Thought I'd put it out while doing balloon work at festivals to keep some of the crowd busy. Need to learn how to do it correctly myself first.

Steve Thomas
JasonEngland
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Uh Steve,

I would just like to point out that an IQ of 168 puts you well above Genius category (~140) on the Stanford-Binet IQ test. Although various IQ test have slightly different scoring systems, a 160+ on any of them would put you in about the top 0.001 percent of the world population.

Jason
Eternal damnation awaits anyone who questions God's unconditional love. --Bill Hicks
Stevethomas
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Oops, thank you for the clarification, Jason, old friend. The examination to which I was subjected was actually the Sandwich-Bidet test, in which the proctor of the test asks you but ONE question, "Do you know the difference between a sandwich and a bidet?" (sorry for the obscure scatological reference). If you say "Yes", then the examiner promises to never visit your house for lunch. If you say, "No", then you pass, with an immediate score which is determined by cubing the radius of your cranial area. Hope that clears things up...I apologize for any misunderstanding that I could be smart. By the way, I believe the Stanford-Binet genius range actually begins at 145.

Steve Thomas
Mushu
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Quote:
On 2004-02-14 06:31, Stevethomas wrote:
"Do you know the difference between a sandwich and a bidet?" ... If you say "Yes", then the examiner promises to never visit your house for lunch. If you say, "No", then you pass ...

You mean the other way around ... I hope.
landmark
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Okay, here's the citation:

Martin Gardner's 2nd Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions, pages 141-144.

Here's what I gleaned from the book:

It's complicated, but basically the gimmick is that you mustn't put the five disks symmetrically, so that their circumferences all go through the center of the spot on the floor. Instead the first disk must be put so it's circumference touches a particular point below the center.

Where is this special point? If the spot has a radius of 1 foot, then the special point is a distance of slightly more than .0285 feet below the center. The radii of the disks are constucted so that they have a radius somewhere between .609 feet and .618 feet. If the radius were smaller than .609 then no method would cover the spot. Larger than .618, however, and the public would be able to cover the spot using the obvious symmetric arrangement. By keeping the radius between those two figures, the only way to win is the off center method.

Jack Shalom
IanKendall
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It can be done, and it's not nearly that difficult.

I got my sets from a dealer at an IBM in Southport many years ago. There were no instructions for either, just a diagram of the final layout. From that it's easy to see what to do.

The margin of error is small, but not so small as to be unworkable. A few years ago I held three discs in my left hand and two in my right, and then threw them down one at a time quite rapidly. These days I have to take more time...

I don't think this is the place to detail the technique. Did you get any instructions with the set you bought?

Take care, Ian
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