Mentalivity

Struggling with an effect? Any tips (without giving too much away!) you'd like to share?

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Mentalivity

Postby Sexton Blake » Tue Aug 15, 2006 2:43 pm



I will be delighted if you can point out that I'm being an innumerate dolt here and explain what boomingly obvious thing I'm missing. I really will.

This concerns Mentalivity. If the class will take out their RRTCMs and turn to page 186 they will see this trick. Or perhaps not, if they have a different edition to mine; it'll be in there somewhere, though. As it happens, it's also demonstrated on Paul Wilson's RRTCM DVD set (disc 4); a fact I'll refer to later. OK, now my problem is rather specific, so I'll have to go into some detail. I hope you won't think it's disclosure, however, due to the fact that - if you don't know the trick - my 'explanation' will be so dense as to be impenetrable. (Actually, it may well like that be even if you do know the trick.)

Right, jumping in at the middle, the two specs have chosen a number each (Spec One's between 1 and 10, and Spec Two's between 10 and 20), with Spec One using that number to select a card. You've done a little business, and the pack in now in your hand waiting to have cards dealt from it. Note the order here, it's important.
1) For the first time, you ask Spec One for his number. (RRTCM and Wilson both example '6'.)
2) You deal out that many cards (1 - 2- 3- 4 - 5 - 6) - pausing before turning the 6th (or whatever) card and asking Spec One what his card was.
3) Lawks! (Slightly.) His card isn't at that position.
4) For the first time, you ask Spec Two for his chosen number. (RRTCM examples '15', Wilson examples '16'.)
5) You continue dealing to this number (7 - 8 - 9 - etc.) , which everyone accepts you couldn't possibly have known before, and - Lawks#2! (Unarguably.) - Spec One's card is at the number chosen by Spec Two, even though neither knew the other's number and you didn't know either.
6) Men faint. Women cast themselves upon you.

The key to this trick, as both RRTCM and Wilson lay out, is that - after reaching Spec One's number - you ask Spec Two for theirs. Say these are 6 and 16: you '16 - 6 = 10' in your head, continue dealing to 10, perform the move, carry on until 16, and bada-bing bada-booms. Easy.

Except, what about if Spec One chose, say, '7', and Spec Two chose, say, '11'. Now, 11 - 7 = 4. Which means that, by the time you've dealt out Spec One's number, you've already gone too far to perform the move and are up a creek. This happens not only with 7 and 11, of course. It's likely to happen pretty frequently, because it'll occur whenever the equation STn - SOn = x produces a result where x < SOn.

There are ways to stumble around this - ask both Spec One and Spec Two for their numbers before you start dealing, for example. But that weakens the trick, and might still leave you having to perform the move at an awkward time. What really gets me is that both RRTCM and Wilson flatly state that you don't ask for Spec Two's number before you've dealt out Spec One's, and they never even mention the x < SOn problem. Moreoever, Wilson says that Mentalivity was one of the first tricks he ever learned - so surely he must have run into this situation in the past? This urges me to believe that there must be something I'm missing here. But, for the life of me, I can't see what it is. Just do the trick, exactly as laid out in RRTCM, but change Spec Two's number to 11 and you'll hit a wall, as far as I can see.

Please explain how I'm being a dolt.

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Postby Rdw1971 » Tue Aug 15, 2006 2:50 pm

:shock: thats a bit of a heavy one for a dark windy Tuesday in work.

When I get home, I'll read RRTCM and see if it makes sense to moi.

I got to admit, the English used in RRTCM is a bit 'old fashioned' to say the least (and some of the diagrams are a bit dodgy)

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Postby Sexton Blake » Tue Aug 15, 2006 3:13 pm

Rdw1971 wrote:I got to admit, the English used in RRTCM is a bit 'old fashioned' to say the least (and some of the diagrams are a bit dodgy)


You're far from wrong there. Sometimes the instructions read like one of those Korean VCR manuals. In the book, there's a lack of clarity with the explanation of Mentalivity too. On first reading, you'd think that it meant that you should - after dealing out Spec One's number of cards - deal out Spec Two's number starting again at 1 rather than carrying on from where you left off. That this isn't the case, however, is soon apparent even if you don't have the good fortune to have Wilson's DVD so you can watch the performance/explanation: it's apparent because, if you did it that way, it would never work.

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Postby Rdw1971 » Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:05 am

Dont talk to me abaout Korean VCR manuals. I used to work for LG as a programmer, and had to amend Korean programs! Now that was fun - NOT!

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Postby Sexton Blake » Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:05 pm

Rdw1971 wrote:I used to work for LG as a programmer,


Golly, that takes me back. Part of a former job of mine was to buy video equipment for a university. LG always featured heavily. Well, I figured, 'Hey - it's cheap, and the corporate logo is a one-eyed man. How could this not be a good idea?'

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Postby Renato » Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:14 pm

Hmm...maybe a PM would be the best way to go about this to save exposure :?.

But yes, same problem for me. The only way I can think of to get around it is to use eleven as an example and effectively rule it out of the selection procedure.

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Postby Mitchum » Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:43 pm

Why not ask Spec One to think of a number less than 8 and ask Spec Two to think of a number between 15 and 20?

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Postby Misanthropy » Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:09 pm

I'm following the royal road to card magic with the book and dvd and find it a bit vague in the book's description and Paul Wilson seems to rush through the moves without enough explanation.
My main complaint is that when he performed the retaining the top card he used a different colour backed card maybe to make it more clear but anyone could easily see if when it was shuffled to the front and also in the one after retaining the bottom card he turns the card face up and then shuffles and again he probably did this for clarity but it would be more impressive if he showed you how to do it with the card face down.
I've just started the royal road to card magic so these are just my first impressions and I hope my opinion doesn't offend.

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Postby Sexton Blake » Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:51 pm

Mitchum wrote:Why not ask Spec One to think of a number less than 8 and ask Spec Two to think of a number between 15 and 20?


That's mathematically sound, Mitchum, but bangs its knee painfully on a couple of things. One is that it still leaves Mentalivity, as presented in RRTCM, as a trick that often WILL NOT WORK. That's merely an observation - it means you tacitly confirm that I'm not being dense or missing something, it's the trick itself (rather than - in this specific instance - me) that's fatally flawed. The other thing, however, is that wise and accepted question one should ask oneself when thinking about an effect: 'How would this look if it were actually magic?' From that point of view, asking Spec 1 for a number between 1 and 10 and Spec 2 for one between 10 and 20 doesn't set off any loud bells - you're just giving a bit of structure to make it simple for everyone. Asking for a number between 1 and 8, though, is a signallingly peculiar thing to do, and 'a number between 15 and 20' adds to that by being suspiciously restrictive. It sort of howls, 'Maths trick!' We all know that anything that specs can see is 'merely' maths is dismissed as pretty much as unmagical as you can get. I think the 8 and 15-20 method would get them thinking Mentalivity is just a maths thing (even if they couldn't figure out the precise method, and even though Mentalivity isn't just maths, as it happens) and it'd therefore have them greeting the climax with a shrug.

Oh, and I'm not dissing you here, Mitchum - I'm glad you rubbed your chin and figured out a workaround - it's Mentalivity's fault. I've rather settled, now, on Cardza's conclusion in our PMs. Which was that (I paraphrase him) 'it's simply a bit poo'.[/i]

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Postby Squonky » Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:35 pm

I just tried this trick using the book, (which I've just bought) and I don't see any problem. You just need to put the cards back on top after you show that the card isn't in the chosen position.

In your example, using 7 and 11:

You deal 6 and show the seventh - it's not the spec's.

Put the 6 back on top. Ask for 2nd spec's number. Deal 4 off top, do the move, continue dealing and there's the card.

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Postby Marvell » Sun Feb 11, 2007 6:04 pm

This trick has more than one method:

S2 - S1 > S1 : as stated
S2 - S1 < S1 : as suggested above
S2 - S1 = S1 (or S2 = 2 x S1) : nicest of them all

S1 = 10 and S2 = 11 is annoying,

but not as annoying as S1 = 1, though that opens other avenues.

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Postby Sexton Blake » Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:30 pm

I still don't feel that the RRTCM says that, Squonky - it simply doesn't, anywhere in the detailing of the method, have your vital words, 'You need to put the cards back on top after you show that the card isn't in the chosen position'; and Wilson certainly doesn't do it that way on the DVD. Maybe, to go back to my original question, I didn't miss something, it's that the descriptions did. In any case, I think you give by far the simplest (and thus the best) solution to the 'flaw'. Many thanks to you for that.

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Re: Mentalivity

Postby ATXTimeLord » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:29 pm

I'm going to resurrect this thread because I was just reading about this trick...

From my copy of RRTCM on my kindle, it says to have Spectator A think of a number from 1-10 as you count out 10 cards. When you've dealt the # of cards equal to the number spectator A is thinking of, they should remember that card. Once you've counted out 10 cards, you replace them on the top of the deck.

My interpretation is that you always deal 10 cards.. I tested this by dealing out 10 cards, looking at the one I dealt 7th and then using 11 as the second number and it works perfectly.

Hope this helps.

mG

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Re: Mentalivity

Postby ATXTimeLord » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:37 pm

I'm late to this thread, but I was just reading about this effect last night. From what I read, step 2 is to always deal 10 cards, and have Spectator A make a note of what card is at the position that matches the number they think of, and then put all 10 cards back on the top of the deck. You don't deal out # of cards equal to the number the spectator is thinking of. I reran the effect using 7 and 11 and it works as written.

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Re: Mentalivity

Postby Sexton Blake » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:41 pm

Oh c*** (not the best), ATXTimeLord. But I'll come to that in a moment.

Interesting that you say that the RRTCM (now) does explicitly state you return the cards to the deck (is this the Riverside, 2016 edition?). Which means someone must have changed it, and if it was changed it must have been for a reason, and the reason was almost certainly to clarify/correct it, which means, I wasn't missing something, and I *wasn't* a dolt back in 2006. (Though I've doubtless become one since.) As I said, however, in Wilson's RRTCM DVD series the cards are definitely not returned to the deck. In fact, I've put the performance up here:
https://youtu.be/gXWqqWeBN3E" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

I hope that uploading this will be considered 'fair use' – I have not put up the explanation, so there's no exposure – it's perfectly akin to showing a video of a section of a game one is reviewing online, say. I've also made the video unlisted, of course. Also, I should absolutely stress that – this irk aside – I think Wilson's RRTCM DVDs are an excellent set (available from Alakazam – http://www.alakazam.co.uk/product-Royal ... --DVD.html" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank), and also contains (which the actual RRTCM doesn't) Ray Walton's dizzyingly fabulous 'Pass At Red'.

But anyway. c*** (not the best). Kindle. I'm getting myself a Kindle for Christmas, and I hadn't even considered magic books on it. So, thanks to you, ATX, I'm probably going to end up re-buying a shedload of things (here's a word: 'Scarne'). They will be better on the Kindle, I'm sure – easier to search, and the bookmarks/notes, etc., will be a vast improvement over the dozens of Post-It slips my paper versions have. But, still, you know... ergh.

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