After seeing a performance of Richard Wiseman's Grid, which shares some commonalities with Chris Wasshuber's The Ultimate Magic Square, Werner Miller was inspired to come up with his take on 'magic squares made from cards' ...
The spectator decides on a number, and you produce instantly a magic square that has the spectator's number as its constant – simply by dealing out 16 or 25 ordinary playing cards.
As an example here is the detailed effect for variation 2: Take out a deck of cards, give it a quick shuffle and then offer the spectator the deck for a cut. The spectator cuts off a portion of the deck and counts the amount of cards he cut off. Meanwhile the performer uses the sixteen cards from the top of the remaining packet to lay out a 4 x 4 grid of cards. When the spectator has finished counting he can turn over all the cards to realize that the grid is a perfect magic square with the sum identical to the number of cards he cut off! (The cool part is that there is no math for you, no sleights, no cutting at special places. Everything happens automatically.)
Each number of the square is represented by a single card's value. There are more cells to be filled than different values in a deck, so it is impossible to use each value only once; but because all duplicates differ in suits, they hardly catch one's eye. Noncard players are sometimes not familiar with the values usually assigned to the court cards. To avoid any confusion, only spot cards are used; their values are quite obvious (number of spots), and the resulting constant of the square is small enough to do all the summing up fast and without electronic aids.
The fact that Miller's methods only require regular playing cards means you are ready to perform anywhere a deck of cards is available. You will find three variations and a bonus item from one of his earlier ebooks.
1st edition 2013; 18 pages. word count: 2555 which is equivalent to 10 standard pages of text
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