Relax; I don’t actually have magical powers. But I was able to predict the symbol you would end up with
because I know how this system works. And the really great thing is that it works on several differentlevels, each more fascinating than the last. In order to uncover the truth about The Amazing Mind-Reader, you have to keep digging, right until you hit the gold.
In fact, it isn’t very hard to figure out the first level at which this magic trick works. Try the entire process
again, but this time start with a different number. Then do it again, with yet another number. A patternshould begin to emerge. You will probably notice that you end up with the same symbol every time.However, if you tried this with The Amazing Mind-Reader (meaning the actual program), you would endup with a different symbol each time- because the symbols in the given list would change- and theprogram would
know what you end up with.
It’s just that I can’t show you that here. So, no, the
solution to this problem does not lie in that direction.Instead, look closely at the values of the
you end up with (not the numbers you begin with).
They all have something in common: they’re all
multiples of 9
. Furthermore, notice that when you startwith a two-digit number, and subtract the sum of its individual digits from it,
you cannot end up with athree-digit number
. In fact, your final answer must be between 9 and 81 (since 10 is the smallest two-digit number and 99 is the largest). The final salient fact is that there are only 9 multiples of 9 between 9and 81. Assign the same symbol to each one of those nine multiples every time, and you
that anyunsuspecting victim of your magic trick will end up with
symbol.If you like, you can consider that to be the end of our quest to find the secret behind The Amazing Mind-Reader. Start with any two-digit number, and you must end up with a multiple of 9. So all you have to do
is assign the same symbol to every multiple of 9 in your list, and that’s the symbol that your victi
m (?)will have ended up with.You are now set to conquer the masses with your newfound magical prowess.However, the truth is that there are yet more revelations to be gleaned from this simple magic trick. Inorder to arrive at them, you must ask the right questions. Do not remain content with the insignificantstuff that lies immediately below the surface.
What’s up With the Number 9?
We’ve just seen that whenever you subtract the sum of the two digits of a two
-digit number from theoriginal number, you always end up with a multiple of the number 9. As a matter of fact, this rule appliesnot only to two-digit numbers, but to all numbers, regardless of how many digits they have. Forinstance, take the number 4,335,286. The sum of its digits is 31. Subtract 31 from 4,335,286 and you get4,335,255. And guess what, 4,335,255
a multiple of 9!
But it doesn’t end there. Those who regularly watched
in their childhood (I readilyconfess myself to be a member of that demographic) may be familiar with another magical property of the number 9: multiply any number by 9, and the product will eventually collapse to 9.
By “collapsing” to