Q: What is this
A: It's to answer the questions we've been asked regarding the "Proving
the Impossible" challenges. Also, it's to clarify a few things
as regards to the rules which are now in place regarding those challenges
and entering your solutions (the really important things are shown
Q: How current
A: It is current as of 1st July 2005.
Q: I've got several
great solutions to a challenge! Can I submit more than one?
you can. Just include them in separate emails and indicate they are
Q: Pictures or
video would really help explain my solution. Are those allowed?
A: Yes, they are. Send pictures as separate JPEG attachments (not as
embedded graphics) to your entry. If there is more than one image, make
sure they are referenced correctly in your solution. Send video only
after checking with us first; huge video files cause lots of problems
for servers and web pages alike and we'd prefer to avoid all of that
if we can. Preferably, the video should be in WMV or MPEG format and
smaller than 10MB.
Q: I've got a
better solution than the one that was picked for an old challenge! Can
I send it in?
A: You can send it in, and it may be posted as a separate effect, but
it is not eligible for the challenge prize unless it is received before
Q: My timezone
is different from yours! How does the deadline work in that case?
A: Simple enough: the date/time stamp placed on the email upon receipt
is solely used to figure if an entry beat the deadline or not.
Q: My mail program/server
messed up so you didn't get the entry in time even though I wrote it
before the deadline! Does it still count?
A: No. Problems do happen to emails -- servers can be down, email clients
not working properly, etc -- but in all cases the receipt date/time
stamp is the final arbiter as to if an entry is valid for a given challenge.
Q: I like the
basic effect of the challenge, but I've got an idea and a solution which
would make it even more incredible! How does that affect the judging?
A: It depends on the changes you make. Truly great changes will help;
mediocre changes (possibly to allow your solution to work) will hinder
you; changes which worsen the effect will hurt.
Q: Exactly how
is the judging done?
A: Simply, all entries are judged on very few criteria: first is the
workability of the solution, second is whether or not the effect was
maintained (literally or "in spirit"), third is how many of
the conditions (if any) were met. All judging is conducted by Visions
staff unless otherwise noted under the solution announcement. All decisions
Q: What do you
do when more than one person sends in the same solution to a challenge?
A: We go back to the date/time stamp again. Whoever sent the solution
in to us first wins. Thankfully this is a rarity, but it does happen.
Q: I saw a solution
which sucked, but it won anyway! What's up with that?
A: First, your favorite solution may not be anyone else's. Second, the
solution was chosen as the best from the ones received. If you had a
better solution, why didn't you send it in?
Q: I sent in
my solution. If you don't like it, will you let me know so I can re-do
A: No. That simply wouldn't be fair. You're on your own.
Q: I sent in
my solution. If you can't figure out what I mean, will you let me know
so I can explain it to you?
A: No. There's not enough time to go back and forth trying to get clarifications
on what you intended to convey in your solution. Write it as well as
you can, as clearly as you can.
Q: Why don't
you do a truly impossible problem, like <fill-in-the-blank>?
A: We've done several challenges were some have sworn they truly were
impossible, but there were solutions available. Usually, this question
is framed around something like the Berglas problem (which we did) or
some prediction which only pure psychological forcing or multiple outs
would apply -- while sometimes impractical, they are solutions, and
they've been addressed in magazines and books for ages. In such cases,
we opt for a challenge which looks completely impossible to the audience,
if not to ourselves, rather than rehashing existing solutions.
Q: I've got a
perfect challenge for you! What do I do with it?
A: Send it in! Believe it or not, the challenges we receive are fun
to read and challenging in their own right to think about. And who knows?
It may be used in a future challenge!
I see well-known magicians taking part in the contest, and even Visions
staffers! I'm an amateur; do I really have to compete with them? I'll
A: Have some faith! Though anyone connected with Visions -- including
Visions staff members, advertisers, etc -- can submit a solution, those
are for informational purposes only; they are not eligible for the prize.
And the more well-known magicians (Ben Harris, Banachek, and others)
are great guys who disqualify themselves long before we have a chance
to disqualify them! Besides, "amateur" and "pro"
mean nothing here: many times the pros don't even make it as far as
the "Honorable Mentions" (Let's keep that our little secret,
okay?). It all comes down to the best solution submitted!
Q: I notice you
almost always have "No stooges" as a condition -- some of
the best in the world use them though! How come you've got a thing about
A: As with the other conditions, this one is designed to produce the
best, most workable solution to a problem. The "no stooges"
thing actually came about when the challenges first began: thirty-six
solutions to a card prediction all specified the use of a stooge! That's
not creativity; that's a crutch. So the condition came about. Since
then, it's become basically an inside/running joke and has been included
on all but a very few challenges. Remember, though, that any condition
is there to make the solutions more creative, to force some thinking
outside the box. Luckily, that's usually what happens.
Q: Do I have
to be a certain age to participate in the challenges?
A: Not as far as we're concerned: age doesn't matter, creativity does.
However, you may have a local law which prohibits you from doing so;
if you're in doubt, you'll need to check with local authorities before
Q: How will I
know I've won?
A: When you win, you're notified by email, which is sent to the address
used to send in the solution. That email will contain all the details
you need to go about claiming your prize.
Q: How come you
didn't use my full name? Signed: George the Utterly Magnificent Masterful
Mysterious Wonderful Wizard of All Time, Junior.
A: You've got to be kidding. If that's on your birth certificate, great
-- send us a copy for verification and a good chuckle. But as far as
we're concerned, we put a moratorium on such things as being "names".
If you're expecting us to call you all of those self-flattering names,
you'll be disappointed to know you'll only be listed as "George".
And no, we don't care if all those syllables make up your handle on
The Magic Cafe or anywhere else.
Q: Can I use
an alias then?
A: Sorry, but no. Real names from real people with real email addresses
Q: Can I submit
a solution to a problem I sent in?
A: Yes, you can. But don't get complacent -- someone else might have
a better solution than the one you came up with!
Q: Where can I ask another question?
A: As always, just drop me