Natasha and Naomi are performing their favorite magic trick for some friends. In front of them is a
standard deck of 52 facedown cards. They invite a friend (who is not "in" on the trick) to shuffle the
deck and then select five cards to give to Naomi. Naomi looks at the five cards, chooses one (which she
puts facedown in front of her), then arranges the remaining four cards in any order she wants (all face
down) and hands them to Natasha. Natasha looks at the four cards and then correctly names Naomi's card.
Can you figure out how the two girls peformed the trick?
This is not a trick question. It wasn't a lucky guess, the cards are not marked, Naomi did not
communicate the card she selected verbally or through gestures, the card was not secretly switched with
some other card, there is no hidden camera in the surface Naomi places her card on, and Natasha never saw
Naomi's card. The "trick" has to do with how Naomi chooses which card to select and the
order of the four cards that are handed back to Natasha.
: There are five cards and only four suits, so at least two of the five cards given
to Naomi must be the same suit. Naomi chooses a card that shares a suit with one of the other cards and
puts another card of the same suit as the topmost of the four cards she hands to Natasha. The suit of the
top card indicates the suit of Naomi's card. Now try to find a creative way for the order of the bottom
three cards to indicate the rank of Naomi's card.
Do you have a suggestion
for this puzzle (e.g. something that should
be mentioned/clarified in the question or solution, bug, typo, etc.)?