entertainers | May 10, 2015

Wired to Solve: New Speaker David Kwong Performs Crossword Magic

When new Lavin speaker David Kwong was planning his 2014 TED Talk, he knew he wanted to do something big—but to accomplish what he had in mind, he needed a little help.

Kwong, an illusionist and veteran puzzle-maker, is a firm believer in the connection between puzzles and magic—a link that many of us don’t always make. “We are all wired to solve,” he says, and it’s our desire to create order out of chaos that leads to some of our best moments. For his TED talk on the subject, Kwong enlisted Will Shortz, the famed New York Times crossword puzzle editor, to help him coordinate a trick on an impressively grand scale. If you haven’t seen the talk yet, you need to watch it now (it's also embedded above).

We won’t spoil the trick—but suffice to say, Kwong coordinates his talk with a secret message hidden in that day’s New York Times crossword. (You can view that day’s crossword—and print it out for yourself!—here.) In an interview on the TED blog, Shortz explains why he decided to help Kwong pull off this large-scale trick:

I love to do new things, new twists, and this is a great one. Plus I would do anything to help David. […] Crossword makers and magicians both want to trick people. We both want to deceive people. The difference is, I want people to figure it out in the end. The solver gets to say, “Aha, how smart I am,” and has the great feeling of figuring it out. Whereas with David, he doesn’t want you to understand how the trick is done. You’re left in awe, and that’s also an interesting, nice feeling.

David Kwong speaks on magic, puzzles and the unexpected connections between the two. To book David Kwong as the keynote speaker for your next event, contact the Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau.

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authors | May 07, 2015