There are some clever people in the world – we think we read that the current percentage of clever people (under the applicable ISO standard definition) is 17 percent. We do not have actual data to support our belief that the percentage of similarly defined clever people in magic is much higher. We have made up some estimates as high as 27 percent.
Magicians, by their nature, are clever people. We marvel at ordinary things. Trips to the hardware, crafts or electronic stores become wonderful adventures in imagination and exploration. Anything written, said or shown can be analyzed by the naturally curious magician in an attempt to create magic.
So magicians are clever and constantly raise the bar on cleverness. It is a wonderful source of inspiration and poor self-esteem to be around creative-types.
It is in that sense that we read with great admiration and instant self-condemnation that we did not think of the brilliant innovation designed by magician David Kwong.
We read this morning of his brilliant coup and association with our favorite Puzzle-Master Will Shortz of The New York Times:
Today on stage at TED2014 magician and puzzler David Kwong blew minds when he pulled an audience member onstage, asked her to color in a few animals, and then revealed he was so sure he could predict her behavior that he had her choices written into the day’s New York Times crossword.
We loathe to give away secrets on Inside Magic and so we will only say that Mr. Kwong performed his miracle prediction through cooperation with Mr. Shortz and the crossword puzzle he edits for the Times. You can read more about the arrangement here.
Mr. Shortz and Mr. Kwong have worked together in the realm of crossword puzzle creation. Mr. Kwong is a master at designing the puzzles and has had several published by the Times. This was their first magic trick.
Mr. Shortz loves being mystified and, interestingly, does not try to puzzle out a solution to the mystery.
“I’m fascinated by it, but I’m always fooled. I watch, and I look, and I say, ‘I have no idea how that was done.’ That’s how it is with David. I am so easily fooled.”