The Final Piece Of The Puzzle
In today's post, we use a forgotten forcing method to create an impossible puzzle piece prediction. The spectator chooses a puzzle piece and it's the final piece of a puzzle you made earlier.
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I like the puzzle prediction effect.
I have some notes.
Often, the performer presents a framed prediction covered in a cloth on a stand. Then, they take something like a bag full of puzzle pieces and get the spectator to choose a puzzle piece at random. The cloth gets removed to display a completed matching puzzle with one missing piece. The missing piece of the puzzle is the one the spectator chose randomly.
My first note is more of a question. I don't have the answer, but does the selection process need to be random? Why is our instinct with a trick like this to make the selection process as random as possible? Doing so turns the trick into a coincidence effect. Should an effect like this be a coincidence trick?
Often, a coincidence-matching effect is a coincidence at both ends. That's what makes it feel like a coincidence. Two spectators randomly select face-down cards, and they both match. Voila. A coincidence.
Sometimes, a coincidence-matching effect is a coincidence at the performer’s end only. That's what makes it feel like a coincidence. The magician hits a pool ball around a table covered in face-down cards. The spectator freely names a card, and they match. Miracle. Coincidence.
What I find odd about the puzzle trick is that it's only random on the spectator's end. The magician was incredibly purposeful with their prediction. They spent several hours doing a puzzle, glueing it into a nice frame and leaving out one puzzle piece. Their end of this trick is far from coincidental.
This unravels the effect for me.
To counter it, I feel like the selection of the puzzle piece needs to involve zero choices from the spectator or one very intentional choice. Either that or you really sell the fact that you genuinely lost one piece of a puzzle at random.
A missing final piece of a puzzle is a great story. It's relatable, and it's impossible. Perhaps a better trick would be for an audience member to find the missing piece hidden under one audience member's seat. When I think about a relatable lost puzzle piece story, my brain doesn't imagine a plastic bag full of puzzle pieces.
I also find it weird that many performers use a matching puzzle-piece set. Like, that spoils the impossibility a bit. There's just something off about the idea. Why do you have a second puzzle that's the same as the first? That’s not normal, and I get a weird sense that if I chose any piece from this plastic bag, it could, in theory, be the missing piece of the central puzzle. It’s not like only one piece from this bag is from the central puzzle.
Are you confused?
Surely the bag should be full of pieces from other pieces.
Also, why is it a bag?
Puzzles are not stored in bags?
I don't have the answers.
But I'm full of complaints.
The good news is that some complaints get resolved if you take the trick away from the stage. The better news is that this becomes a much better trick too. Imagine a friend comes over, and you have a puzzle close to completion on the table. You finish it together, but one piece is missing. How frustrating.
Maybe the missing piece is in one of my other puzzle boxes? Your friend chooses one of the puzzle boxes randomly, and they reach in and grab a handful of pieces. They dump these onto the table, and we eliminate them randomly until just one puzzle piece remains. The final piece is the last piece of the puzzle.
Here's the secret method.
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