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By Gardner, Martin | Word Ways, May 2013 | Go to article overview

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Gardner, Martin, Word Ways


21 Apr 98

Dear Ross :

I can't recall if I ever mentioned this curiosity to you before. I came across it recently in checking for something in my files.

About ten years ago I discovered the following:

Starting with the ace, write down the values of the cards in a sequence with a difference of 3 between adjacent values. As usual, jack is 11, queen 12, and king 13. Below each number put the number of letters in the name of the cards.

1-4-7-10-K-3-6-9-Q-2-5-8-J

3 4 5 3 4 5 3 4 5 3 4 5 4

Amazingly, the numbers in the second sequence repeat 345 345 345 345. Unfortunately Jack has 4 letters and Knave has 5, so it doesn't fit.

There are probably some card tricks that would exploit this curiosity. The best I could think of was to take 13 cards of one suit and on the back of each, with a felt tip pen, write in a large numeral the digit that counts the letters in that card's name. …

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