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Old 06-29-2016, 11:39 AM
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pmfc44 pmfc44 is offline
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Default Am I missing something???

I've been working these puzzles for years and I hardly ever get above the 'average' speed. Yet some people get the answer so fast I don't think I could click on them that fast if I knew the answer before I saw the puzzle. I don't THINK I'm that dumb, but I'm beginning to wonder.
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Old 06-29-2016, 12:16 PM
bubbafoley bubbafoley is offline
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I often wonder the same thing. Reading all of the clues takes longer than the fastest times on some of these puzzles.
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Old 06-29-2016, 02:18 PM
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uigrad uigrad is offline
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I've set a fair number of record times, and am almost always in the "very fast" section of the chart. There are definitely some who are faster than me, but I think that all the records I have seen are possible without cheating.

I've been doing the puzzles for a bit more than a year now, and I've seen my times get much better. I'm getting times now that I would have felt were nearly impossible a year ago.

A few things have really helped. One is to learn to scan through the clues quickly, and find the best clues early. Do them first, and click on the clue in the clue list to make it leave the list (not everyone knows you can do this). Obviously the clues that say "xxx = yyy" or something like that are the best. I also like the ones that say one item is 3 (or 4 or 5) lines greater (or less) than a different item. Lastly, any "not clues" that says xxx is not yyy are good to do first if they are in the top section. If they are middle or bottom section, sometimes I'll just memorize that clue (or remember as much about it as I can), but not mark it yet in the grid. It probably won't be necessary until right before the end, and putting too many marks in the grid early can actually slow you down (at least it can for me).

Sometimes, it only takes me about 2 seconds to read a "not clue", and half a second to find it in the chart and mark it. Other times it takes 2 seconds to read, and 3 seconds to mark (which is very bad). Locating the intersection in the grid quickly is a huge variable in my overall speed! So, I've been really focusing on doing all I can to locate intersections faster.

If an intersection is in the middle or bottom section, and I decide to mark it, I will often find the intersection by only looking at the headers along the top of the chart. The headers on the left side of the chart are too far away from the clues, so if I move my eyes all the way over there and come back, it wastes a lot of time. If I see Quimby is the second city in a section by looking at the headers on the top, then I know it will be the second line. So, if I want to mark that the Television is not going to Quimby, I just find the Television column, and go down two lines into the city section and mark it. The less my eyes need to move, the better!

Another reason to move your eyes as little as possible is to remember which clue was where in the list. If I saw a "not clue" about Robert, but didn't mark it, I want to remember where that clue was in the list. If I figure out Robert is 10:30 (intersection in the top section), then I want to find that other Robert "not clue" again, since I can now mark it in the top section. By keeping my eyes always in the vicinity of the clue list, I stand a better chance of remember where to find that clue.

For some of the record times that I've set, I know I just got lucky. I processed the clues in exactly the right order, and never even had to use anything below the top section. There is some skill in processing the clues in the correct order, but there's a fair amount of luck also. Just because I got 52s on that 4x5 once doesn't mean I can do it every time. The next time, it may be 117s.

Quote:
and I hardly ever get above the 'average' speed...
I imagine that this is true for most people. Imagine that a given puzzle has been played 100 times by 36 different people. It's possible that the 6 fastest people played that puzzle 60 times (about 10 times each), the remainder of the times it has been played (40 times) have been from 30 people. All 30 of those people feel like they are below average, because the chart shows their times as below the median. But really only 18 are below average and 12 are above average.

This type of statistical bias is very common for a system like this. The people who practice the most tend to be the fastest. The number of puzzles they play is easily 100 times the amount of puzzles that the average user plays. They throw off the stats, and there's not really much that can be done about it.

Last edited by uigrad; 06-29-2016 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:53 AM
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pmfc44 pmfc44 is offline
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Thanks for the info.........I'll sure try it.
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Old 07-05-2016, 04:35 AM
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soonerbrat soonerbrat is offline
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what UIgrad said...do the most obvious clues first...and then I usually go bottom to top, because one of the bottom clues sometimes makes an earlier clue obvious. I don't set that many records, but I'm usually in the very fast category.

also, i've started trying not marking off the clues unless they put an X or an O in the top section then going back and filling it in after I have more O's

that probably only made sense to me, but I try not to fill in the lower sections as much as I can, as filling in all the boxes takes up extra time...my scores have improved a lot.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:37 AM
chimaera chimaera is offline
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One thing that helps with speed is to avoid using the lower grids as much as possible. My fastest times have been on puzzles where I've been able to avoid using the lower grid almost entirely. Leaving aside any delays in mentally processing the clues, the act of clicking on the lower grid will absorb a bunch of time.
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Old 08-02-2016, 08:29 AM
jeffnn jeffnn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbafoley View Post
I often wonder the same thing. Reading all of the clues takes longer than the fastest times on some of these puzzles.
Can't read back story or whole clues. Look for key words like greater, less, fewer, more, same, different, not same, or, and, either, neither, etc. Also categories and column/row names.
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Old 08-02-2016, 07:17 PM
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A little bit of puzzle theory that won't do you much practical good until you've practiced the puzzles enough to have the basics down to habit and the categories at least partially memorized:

In a 4x5 puzzle (four categories, 5 items per category), at least 4 out of the 5 items in each category must be referenced in a clue in order for the puzzle to be solvable. In addition, either each category needs to be solvable in relation to its own items, or there must be a relation to another category to anchor it in place. I personally anchor items in terms of the one category that contains ordered information, since that gives you the most benefit from greater than/lesser than clues.

How this helps you: Clues with fewer relations in them are easier to solve and should be processed first. The easiest ones are in relation to the ordered category, you can usually solve these immediately and ignore them. Second easiest are direct relations (X = 1) since these can be used to substitute in more complex clues, if those items are referenced multiple times in the clues. As you process the simpler clues, you can then use them to mentally simplify the more complex clues until you have it solved. You can also look at what's been filled in and rule out some solutions as unsolvable if there aren't any more clues relating to those items.
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Old 08-19-2016, 04:23 AM
amikothari amikothari is offline
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Thanks.... boosted my morale... :-)
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