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Ahh, that's how they do it!

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  • Ahh, that's how they do it!

    Over the years I've become proficient at WordTwist. Not great - proficient. It took a long time just to get to that level - winning a few. But I always wondered how players get to the truly high scores. Literally they have to type hundreds of words per minute, pulling them out of a "twisted" puzzle as they do. At times, cheats show up and occasionally somebody plays who gets every word in a puzzle. But they don't last.

    Now, some of these WT players are near savant level performers - getting 80% of a puzzle's words, and they've been doing it for years. How is that possible when mere mortals like me struggle to get 40% after years of playing?

    Well this morning I was watching an old YouTube of the Dick Cavett Show. He asked his guest - Bobby Fisher - if he was good at word games, in particular anagrams. He admitted he would compulsively anagram any word. Give him any word and his mind would instantly rearrange the letters into new words. He used "Plates" to exemplify: pastel, staple, pleats.

    Ah, a light went on in a dark room in my head. It's one of those things related to dyslexia, a natural condition. Some folks can look at a WT puzzle board and their minds instantly rearrange all the letters into words. Where I've got to memorize odd words, recognize repeating patterns, guess, practice, and tediously work my way through the confused lettering on the board, to others it just comes naturally. Ah...

  • #2
    Aha! I did always wonder, too. I guess most people are on a spectrum in matters dyslexia or autism, and depending on where one might be able to do WT so well and fast... I am somewhere in the middle I think now... :-)


    • #3
      That's an interesting point of view. I had always wondered how some people can find not only a 14 or 16 letter word as well as 100 words with a high value scores. I just struggle to find a 6-7 letter word & then if I spend too much time, I'm not able to get a large number of words @ the same time.


      • #4
        I definitely use anagrams in my play. E.g. the letters e o r s can make rose/sore/roes/eros/ores and once I spot one I can type them all quickly without actually 'reading' them on the board.

        I also look for patterns and word stems e.g. if I find 'ing' I stick at -ing words in that portion of the board until I've exhausted all the possibilities I can see.

        Sometimes this will lead me to longer words that I couldn't see initially. E.g. 'ting' leads me to 'citing' leads me to 'exciting' which might lead me to 'unexciting'.

        Then I will branch off that same word stem e.g. tinge, tinged, tinges etc.

        I think it's about reducing the mental load and 'batching' words to get them out quickly, rather than scattering attention all over the board searching for individual words.


        • #5
          (ooh, also 'reos'!)


          • #6
            Hey folks, there's another piece of this picture. Those of us who get long words are getting the same long words over and over and over again. There are the same prefixes and same suffixes again and again, so we're just looking for what goes in between. There are only 8 or 9 24-letter words that anyone has found in these games, and it's not a huge long list of 23, 22, 21, 20-letter words either. I was super happy to see a bunch of new boards. Now I'm hoping for some new long words too.