David Kwong creates illusions for films and TV, and makes verbal magic as a crossword puzzle maker for the New York Times.

Why you should listen

As a magician and crossword puzzle constructor, David Kwong mixes puzzles and prestidigitation. With a background in film (and a Harvard degree in the history of magic), he's the founder of the Misdirectors Guild, an elite group of magicians that specialize in illusion for film, television and theater (they're working right now on Marvel's upcoming Ant-Man). Kwong created the illusions for the 2013 hit film Now You See Me, about a gang of street magicians caught up in a crime caper.
He is a frequent crossword writer for the New York Times, often collaborating with his friend Kevan Choset. His puzzles are marked by clever, outside-the-grid thinking -- and sometimes a dash of magic. He also produces Deception on ABC, a crime drama about a magician who joins the FBI. Check out his talk on the science of illusion.

David Kwong’s TED talk

More news and ideas from David Kwong


Flipside futures: The talks of TED@BCG 2023

November 16, 2023

Today is good, but tomorrow can always be better. There are new possibilities for our future if we use our uniquely human creativity. In a day of talks and performances, 16 leading minds gathered to flip expected thinking on its head and map out how we might build a brighter future. The event: TED@BCG: Flipside […]

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Live from TED2019

Short talks, big ideas: The talks of TED Unplugged at TED2019

April 17, 2019

In a fast-paced session of talks curated by TED arts and design curator Chee Pearlman and hosted with improv leader Anthony Veneziale, 12 members of the TED community shared ideas in a special format: each had to keep their talks under six minutes, with auto-advancing, timed slides. And yes, the mic does cut after six minutes!

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