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Cryptograms: How do I improve my solve times?

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  • Cryptograms: How do I improve my solve times?

    Hey guys, I'm doing cryptograms for a competition. (and maybe also because I'm addicted to them-)

    Do you have any tips for me? I can solve ciphers around 10-15s here normally or 30-50s if I'm doing an annoying one, but I can't seem to break through to the 5-9s times some people get here. What am I missing? Any help would be much appreciated!

  • #2
    Be patient. The more you play, the more you will improve. I'm not that far away from having solved 100 thousand cryptos. Puzzles keep recurring and sub-20 times become more common. My goal on every puzzle is to get a "very fast". Doesn't happen on all, of course. But I have solved seven or eight puzzles in a row "very fast". I end up on the top 20 times for puzzles every day. As my times have gone down, the sub-10 second times have come and (I think) my career best is six seconds. I've set record times and seen the Baron on a few hundred puzzles. But interestingly enough, never with a sub-10 time. Those times will come, and just let it happen naturally and you won't have to feel so frustrated waiting for them. Have fun and welcome to the forums!


    • #3
      Thank you so much! Yeah, I've been here for a year or so doing cryptos nonstop :,) I've only solved 3400 puzzles.. I'll keep practicing, really appreciate the advice


      • #4
        you got it! I think if you're at 10-15s, breaking 10s will come, and eventually will become normal if you keep going!

        For the tips, I guess it depends but I think using a trackpad helps me a lot because you can type while moving the cursor with your thumb (for mouse u gotta take your hand off the keyboard, and arrow keys are slow for long distances, but they can be good for going to just the next letter).
        Hit enter to finish the puzzle..
        When you get something wrong and you know the right answer, it can be faster to hit clear, then type the solution, instead of fixing various letters
        And of course knowing lots of word patterns is important

        I hope it helps!


        • #5
          N-j-b, those are great tips for the mechanical part of solving. I don't think I've ever seen anyone sum them up so well.

          Turnip_Head (what a name!), would those tips also help you in the competition you're entering? What kind of a platform do they use -- is it similar to this site?


          • #6
            Hi, there!
            Just thought I'd mention 'slow website loading'- since you're talking about differences of a few seconds (from 10-15 to 5-9) - as a possible factor. On account of the ads, for example.

            Last edited by Descifrador; 09-24-2022, 03:42 AM.


            • #7
              thanks LLapp!
              Descifrador, I totally agree. I think this is one of the most important for sure.
              Btw Llapp, I think they are refering to codebusters, an event in science olympiad. It's normally on paper, but during pandemic they've used online platforms. no autofill though. So the tips are mostly for this website


              • #8
                Descifrador is absolutely spot on about the ads. I removed those this month because it seemed that the loading times (and subsequent lags) were getting much worse and, let me tell you, it has made all the difference in the world! Puzzles show immediately and there is no problem with typing not showing up right away. Another thing that made a big difference for me was using a touch screen laptop. It's much faster to just touch the letter you want to solve than it is to mess with a mouse or trackpad. It's the little things that make a difference when it comes to just a matter of seconds...


                • #9
                  Hello, thank you so much for all the advice everyone!!!
                  I'm new to forums and don't know how to reply without quoting everything so :
                  Yep, it's Science Olympiad! I didn't even consider that ads might be an issue... Thanks! Also, are you a fellow Science Olympian too? ^-^
                  The platform used to be Toebes, but that'd glitch a lot and you'd manually type in all of the words. Unfortunately, I got used to that platform and I'm now terrible at paper tests :,) So yeah, I'm asking mostly for advice on puzzlebaron.
                  Ohhh I didn't even think of that! thanks!
                  Yeah I use a trackpad and it's torture :-( I think part of the issue is that I type slower than I think... Was just wondering, are there any major concepts that I'm missing? I know common word patterns(like x--x and xy-x-y, etc) and word frequency, but is there anything else out there that might help cut my solve time down? (asking for ciphers on paper and just in general)
                  P.S. LLapp, Turnip_head is a ghibli reference! haha


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by turnip_head View Post
                    P.S. LLapp, Turnip_head is a ghibli reference! haha
                    OH!! My son has been a huge anime fan for decades, so you'd think I would have recognized the name, but no.