Can you solve it? The man who changed the course of magic | Mathematics

David Copperfield’s Historical past of Magic is a stupendous new ebook by the eponymous magician, which tells the story of magic via objects in his personal museum, the largest and most spectacular assortment of magic memorabilia in the world.

The Worldwide Museum of the Conjuring Arts is housed in a huge constructing on the outskirts of Las Vegas, the metropolis the place Copperfield, aged 65, nonetheless performs 15 reveals every week. (His industriousness has helped make him the highest grossing solo entertainer of all time.)

Prof. Hoffman
Prof. Hoffman {Photograph}: Homer Liwag

Copperfield’s new ebook has a chapter on Angelo Lewis, a Victorian barrister who wrote magic books below the pen-name Professor Hoffman. Hoffman’s Fashionable Magic, which was printed in 1876, “performed a necessary function in elevating the artwork of conjuring and should have acted as a catalyst for the complete golden age of magic,” Copperfield writes. The museum’s assortment contains Hoffman’s private copy of Fashionable Magic in addition to his letters and pocket book.

Hoffmann was additionally a puzzle lover and in 1893 printed Puzzles Previous & New, one of the definitive puzzle books of the Victorian period. At the moment’s ten puzzles are taken verbatim from that textual content. Oldies, however goodies.

The questions principally contain lateral pondering; like a magic trick they current one thing seemingly unattainable, simply solved as soon as you have a look at it in the appropriate approach.

1. Required, to take one from nineteen and go away twenty. How is it to be achieved?

2. Place three sixes collectively in order to make seven.

3. How would you write in figures twelve thousand twelve hundred and twelve?

4. Out of six chalk or pencil strokes—thus, | | | | | | to make three, with out placing out or rubbing out any.

5. You undertake to point out one other particular person one thing which you by no means noticed earlier than, which he by no means noticed earlier than, and which, after you each have seen it, nobody else will ever see once more. How is it to be achieved?

6. You undertake to place one thing into an individual’s left hand which he can’t presumably soak up his proper. How is it to be achieved?

7. You undertake to position a lighted candle in such a place that it shall be seen to each particular person save one; such particular person to not be blindfolded, or prevented from turning about in any method he pleases. How is it to be achieved?

8. A window in a sure home has lately been made twice its authentic measurement, however with out rising both its peak or width. How can that be?

9. A draper, dividing a chunk of fabric into yard lengths, discovered that he lower off one yard per second. The piece of fabric was 60 yards in size. How lengthy did it take him to chop up the complete?

10. What number of hard-boiled eggs can a hungry man eat on an empty abdomen?

I’ll be again at 5pm UK with the options.

PLEASE NO SPOILERS. Please focus on the your favorite magicians, magic books and the hyperlinks between puzzles and magic.

David Copperfield’s History of Magic, by David Copperfield, Richard Wiseman and David Britland is out in the UK and the US. You should purchase it at the Guardian Bookshop.

Due to Richard Wiseman for serving to me with at present’s column.


I set a puzzle right here each two weeks on a Monday. I’m additionally the writer of a number of books of well-liked science, most lately The Language Lover’s Puzzle Book, out in paperback in the UK, and simply out in the US.

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