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how do people get solution so fast?

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  • how do people get solution so fast?

    I have been correctly finishing about 60% of the acrostic puzzles but my time have been 2-3 times the average time. I just did a 15 clue puzzle in 40 minutes with a 15 minute average and a 4 minute best time. It would seem that to get 4 clues correct per minute that one would have to just go down the list and put in the correct answers. I don't understand how this can be done with some clues related to obscure song titles or film roles. For people that usually meet the average time - what portion of the clues can you just write down at once?

  • #2
    I am not a particularly fast solver (and indeed I am mystified by the speed of some of the record times). But I have gotten to the point where I can usually beat the average time. There are two things that help with this:
    (1) Certain clues are repeated across different puzzles, so eventually one comes to recognize some of these. I focus on longer puzzles and can generally get maybe five to seven clues straight off the bat, which is usually between 20 and 40%. So I fill those in. Now, puzzles which only spell out the quote don't offer much further help, and they usually take me longer.
    (2) But, often, even with only six to eight clues, one can figure out the author (or their last name), and then maybe even the name of the work -- because the first letters of the earlier clues one has must spell the author's (last) name. So, for instance, it might be Hardy. That would allow me to see if the works by Thomas Hardy that I know are consistent with the first letters of the later clues. So now, if I know it's HARDY FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, then it can become easy to fill in clues on first sight, or make an intelligent guess. Because knowing the first letter of a clue is enormously helpful. Then, one may recognize that certain combinations of authors and works feature quite often -- for instance -- GERALD DURRELL THE AYE AYE AND I. So if the final clue begins with an 'i', this will make me think of Durrell's book. If the final clue began with a 'u', I might think of PICO IYER VIDEO NIGHT IN KATHMANDU. Because, in English, words tend not to end in these two vowels, so it the final clue has either of them as its starting letter, that is actually a major piece of information.
    So the auxiliary information that the first letters of the clues spell out something is actually very useful in solving more quickly.
    That said, I'm still never going to solve a 25 letter puzzle in 300 seconds, as some people appear to do all the time.


    • #3
      duhmel, When I first stumbled across this site, was in the same boat and your OP could have been written by me years ago. I am still not speed solver (and likely never will be), but I strive for 100% solving rate and just let the speed improve on its own. I have made a few "New Record" times before, but they are all on new puzzles that I suspect the good solvers haven't gotten around to, yet. I doubt my records stand very long.

      I try to average two to three puzzles a day. Aside from computer issues that prevent me from finishing a puzzle, I have managed to complete every puzzle I have started in the past several months. I think that helps, as this exposes me to some of the more unusual word-games used in the clues. The more you solve, the faster you get.

      The suggestions that have been given help. I found a alternate take on this one in particular:
      Originally posted by sionnach57 View Post
      ...(1) Certain clues are repeated across different puzzles, so eventually one comes to recognize some of these...
      That is, it is not only the clues that can be repeated, but the answers are repeated much more often. For example, the answer "Cheryl" may have the clue "Actress Ladd" in one puzzle, "Alan's Daugher-in-law" in another, or maybe even "Angel Kris Portrayer" in a third. All of the clues indicate the answer is a woman's first name. Knowing that the answer "Cheryl" is used in these puzzles helps out a lot, particularly if you have a letter or two, even if you aren't a big Charlie's Angels fan.

      As far as how many clues I can get on my first "run through", it's usually 40%-60%. Sometimes it's very low, like only one or two. That is when I rely on the hints and start guessing at the small words in the quote.


      • #4
        I do not believe any of these that are solved in less than 50 seconds are genuine.


        • #5
          Originally posted by UltraVenia View Post
          I do not believe any of these that are solved in less than 50 seconds are genuine.
          ... and you won't, until it happens to you. Good luck!


          • #6
            Some of my fastest times (including one I got a 'record' time on) have come when a few longer clue answers filled in a lot of letters, and the quote itself was either familiar to me or sort of fell into place, to the point I was just filling in the quote. When it is familiar to me, I might even know the author and source which gives the first letter of the clue answers.

            I am also a speed typist (80+ wpm), so both filling in answers and the quote is done without many errors or hunting for letters.

            EDIT: As for how many clues I just know the answer to, it varies a lot. I'm much better with fancy vocabulary (clues that have word answers, even if more obscure) but pretty terrible at clues calling for names of things (songs, movies) or people. Some puzzles take me 10 times as long as others, just because the clues want lots of that and/or the puzzle has multiple proper nouns that aren't common words.
            Last edited by MicahFFX; 07-26-2021, 04:49 PM.


            • #7
              Pretty sure that after solving a puzzle in a normal time, these players refresh the site so they get the same puzzle again and they've already figured out all the clues. So it only takes 50 seconds or so to recreate the quote and get these "winning" times.


              • #8
                I haven't solved puzzles in less than 50 seconds, but I've done a few of the shorter ones in around 70, and quite a few in around 100. None of those were "recreations", just luck in getting some easy clues right off. Working a lot of puzzles helps, so that you can spot familiar clues that get used a lot. Once in a while, on a longer puzzle, I'll recognize the author quickly, or even the quote, and for those I'll usually be pretty fast. Since the new update in April I've been setting records several times a day without too much problem, since there are a lot pf puzzles where the record score hasn't gotten crazy low yet. But there are still puzzles where my score comes in "below average".