I think that basically what is happening is that people have found a way to retrieve the clues and other information about their next puzzle without actually loading the puzzle. The puzzle you will play next is determined when you click "New Game," but the timer doesn't start until you click "Start Game," (I assume) so it's possible (I won't go into much detail here) that once you know the URL of the next puzzle you can use it to retrieve all of the information about the puzzle without starting the timer. You can then solve the puzzle at your leisure and once you have the solution you can allow the page to load. Then all you have to do is put in the answers which should take around the amount of time that most of these suspicious solves are taking.
The fundamental problem here is that the puzzles are pre-loaded. This is done as a convenience for the players so we can see information about the puzzle and so that when we're ready to start solving we don't have to wait as long. The pre-loading could be done away with, clicking "New Game" could throw us straight into a random puzzle, but the timer has to start when the page is loaded to avoid foil another much simpler method of cheating, and then we would have to wait for the entire puzzle to load while the timer was running which would probably add between 10-20 seconds to everyone's solve times.
Here's my solution to cheating: Do way with pre-loading the puzzles, just throw the player into a random puzzle as soon as they click "New Game." Start the timer as soon as they click "New Game" too. Now, to make up for the added time of waiting for the puzzle to load, have a second timer that starts when you click "New Game" and stops when the puzzle has fully loaded. When the player is done, subtract the value of the second timer from the total value of the first timer to get an accurate time.
At this point though I don't think that the cheating is bad enough that it's necessary to go this far.
Last edited by bgates87; 07-03-2009 at 01:59 PM.