Hello jwbuck -
Welcome to the fray! I doubt the mental complete-solution ability is very common in the world in general, if only because it takes natural talent and inclination plus years of practice. But this site draws a self-selected crowd, and you have come to the right place if you're looking for crypto-peers. There are a few people here who seem to have that mental-solution ability, and I believe the rest of us may yet develop the Amazing Kreskin approach after, oh, a few thousand more hours of practice.
For myself, it happens once in a great while -- if I'm in the zone, and only when the puzzle has easy patterns (he who, there is, etc.). But so far that's been the exception to my usual "Hmmm, any THE's or AND's here?" approach.
My dad, who at 88 has been solving cryptograms on paper for many decades, recently told me with amazement that lately he doesn't even need a pen to solve the newspaper cryptograms. I told him about this website and put the link on his computer desktop, but I don't think I've seen him here yet. (Unless . . . Dad? Is that you?)
In any case, happy solving! Don't forget to step outside now and then. This site is addictive.
Last edited by LLapp : 04-07-2016 at 02:07 PM.