The Easy Magic Square Cheat

Be like Rain Man with the Magic Square!

This week, you'll look like a mad genius anytime, anywhere by *faking* a "magic square".

Step 1: pick a number To select a number, write out the digits 1-16 in a 4x4 square. Ask someone to circle any digit they want, and then cross out all the remaining digits in the same row and column. Then, have them pass the square over and ask the next person to do the same thing (using any remaining digits). Continue until four numbers are selected, and add them up to determine a "secret number" to be used for the experiment. (note: no matter which numbers are selected, the result will always be 34. this is critical, because the magic square you "spontaneously" figure out is actually a pre-determined configuration that works ONLY for the number 34!)

Step 2: make the square Once you've selected a number, act like you're pulling some major mental gymnastics and start filling in an empty 4x4 square just like so:

16 - 3 - 2 - 13 5 - 10 - 11 - 8 9 - 6 - 7 - 2 4 - 15 - 14 - 1> (watch the episode to see the easy pattern to create this result)

Step 3: explain your genius!

Show your friends that what you've created "on the fly" is actually a magic square... all 4 rows add up to 34. All 4 columns add up to 34. The four numbers in the middle add up to 34. The four corners add up to 34... even all 4 numbers in each quadrant add up to 34... you're a wizard!

Note: remember that to look like a badass here, you've got to act like what you're doing is hard, and take full credit for being a genius when you're done :-)