## Cryptomania

Another mathematical presentation that David has often used involves a special Code Board in which the letters of the alphabet are arranged below the numbers 0 to 9. It's a simple and well-known cryptography aid enabling him, for instance, to translate a name, letter by letter, into a number.

On the board illustrated the name of a volunteer, Carol for instance, can be translated into the number 20,741, which happens to be ideal for the Today's Date. The effect therefore is that the volunteer's name predicts the total of the audience's randomly selected numbers.

When used in conjunction with Today's Date the first letter of the name needs to be listed under the number 2. This is easily arranged if the name is known beforehand by shifting the top row of numbers. David has compiled Code Boards for many special presentations in which particular names, including those of products, were required. However, if the name is not known in advance, and he wants to perform Today's Date, he openly constructs the board by writing the numbers and letters onto a pad or flip chart, being sure to arrange the top line

accordingly.

This device is just one of many ways that he has devised to make numbers meaningful to his audience. Predicting a random number is not as interesting as arriving at something that is specific to the occasion or of personal significance to someone in the audience. It is a constant theme in David's work and can be found not only in Today's Date but also in his Press Club Prediction and Magic Square presentations. It should not be imagined that mathematical routines need be without humour. During the summer of 1981 David devised a special presentation of Today's Date which he thought would appeal to the audiences he was working to in England. As usual numbers were called, noted down and totalled to produce a figure. In this case it was 29,781. "How can I prove to you that I knew this number before we started," said David. "Perhaps it would look more familiar to you like this." He rewrote it on the board he was holding as 29 - 7 - 81. There was a murmur in the audience as they recognised this date, a date that had been headline news for many months. It was the day on which the Prince of Wales would marry Lady Diana Spencer. Suddenly the board opened up to reveal the famous portrait of the engaged duo and the music that had been playing softly in the background blared out into an upbeat rendition of "The Wedding March." It was a guaranteed crowd pleaser and the audience applauded with enthusiasm. Just as the applause reached its height the board unfolded once more to reveal a Union Jack! Everyone applauds their flag and, just to make sure, the hearty strains of "Rule Britannia" now filled the theatre. The applause was deafening. And if David could have found something to top that, believe me, he would!

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