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Old 01-26-2014, 07:09 PM
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Default question for really fast solvers

sense some of you can solve cryptograms faster than I can read them, I was wondering if you can actually read them without solving any letters? I ask this because I just solved one that I was able to read the moment I saw the puzzle. Some word patterns jump out at me such as he who, or there is , and I am getting better at recognizing word patterns, but still have a long way to go.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:29 PM
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I'm NOT a really fast solver, as you know, because I'm always chasing after you. But I can see some words, never a whole quote. I suppose I do recognize more words the longer I hang out here.

This is an interesting question, I'll be watching to see the answers.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:55 PM
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On really good days, seeing the whole quote without actually solving it does happen. I'm really not sure if that is just practice or that my "spatial relationship" neurons are working better than usual. However, I've been here a long time and many quotes are familiar now.

SInce I'm not a "really fast" solver, I'm curious if Bansai or Nanrich will contribute to this dialogue. While they are both incredibly fast, Nanrich also has a 100% solve rate....a truly amazing feat. It took me several years to even care about solving them all.

And, to be absolutely honest, there are times when my brain cells feel like they're slogging through mud trying to solve ANY cryptogram!
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:22 PM
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I shouldn't have said "really fast" since everyone is so modest. Can anyone read the cryptos without solving any letters first? I am getting better at recognizing words and phrases, but I don't have near the experience some of you have. I find having the letter frequency to be invaluable in recognizing most words, and have also noticed previous puzzles being played again.
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:36 AM
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I can read "There is" or "There are" and "It is not" or "He who" when they start a quote. By the time those get typed out by instinct, the general flow of grammar and common phrases in the quotes fill in the rest. I've yet to decrypt an entire quote without having to type a single letter. That sounds like a real talent!

PS: even after all this time, I can't see the word "nothing" without at least highlighting the Ns!
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:25 AM
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For the longer quotes, I think my eye subconsciously registers the words with 'th,' - the, they, their, those, other etc., and within a second or two I know where to start.

But wouldn't it be interesting to use cryptograms to teach foreign language? It wouldn't take long for your eye to recognize phases like "yo soy," "el es," "il etait," even "ego sum" - (imagine learning Latin conjugations and declensions this way!) The pattern recognition would become automatic, just as it is for the fast solvers on this site.
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:35 PM
zenith zenith is offline
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Thanks for your question Mikehallbackhoe - I've been wondering the same thing and would also dearly love to hear from Bansai on this question. Personally, I've found it really exciting to watch my times speed up. Actually yelled out loud the first time i broke 30 seconds. I seem to have also oriented toward the "th-" words, and now a few combinations: "it is" "who are" for example. And for some reason i always seem to notice the word "people" at first glance. will be watching this thread for other's strategies. thanks
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:42 PM
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you can call me mike. I look for " the"that "it is" no one" we are" he who" people" success" without" always"nothing" and quite often the second word in a puzzle, "is". I find that quite often, after finding the first few letters, the puzzle begins to read itself. I don't know how to type, so I spend most of my time hunting and pecking. I just recently discovered that I can hit enter on my keyboard instead of hitting solve. that helped speed my times up.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:58 PM
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Mike, that Enter key is a lifesaver! Cuts off 2 or 3 seconds right there. Also useful is the = key, which centers the puzzle and puts the cursor on the first letter.

After that, I'm afraid it's up to brain power and fast fingers. I do about 40 wpm, but Bansai's a lot faster. He could make extra money transcribing. There are several online games that can help you practice your typing. Good luck.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:42 AM
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The answer for a shorter quote sometimes just comes without even thinking and then it's just a question of typing and hitting enter as fast as my fingers will go. Being able to touch type is a huge benefit in this game.

I might have to look a bit longer at the longer quotes (yes, the ones that are rated easy). More letters hide the patterns on me unless there's something really easy like "it is" or "everything".

If something doesn't jump out, then I'll look for "the" using the letter frequency or try the common starters like "What you" or "If you" or if it's a long word, I'll try "tion" at the end. When I first started playing, someone shared that for single letters, "I" appears before "a" more often than the other way around, and I've found that to prove out. Sometimes you need to trust your instincts even when at first the letter sequence seems improbable -- how often have you started over when something looked wrong only to find out that it's because the quote includes a name or an unusual word and you were right the first time?

And there's no question that the more you play, the more familiar some of the quotes become. For example, I got the "busyness" quote yesterday and recognized right away what I needed to fix without having to resort to my list of hard quotes.

The three things that slow me up most commonly are having to move the cursor to a new spot, hitting send too soon without having filled in all the letters, and words having a number of letters only appearing once in the quote.

I was a lot slower when I first started, but at some point things just started to click and I started seeing the Baron more often. I think it might be a bit frustrating for the newer players: there was a lot more opportunity to set a record in the early days. Then you could make a mistake, hit enter, go back and correct it and still set a record. Now, one little hesitation can make the difference. I usually wait to actually read the quote and take in what it says until after I've solved it (unless I need to find a mistake).

One brand new tip (if you're playing cryptos on a Friday or Saturday evening that is): I find I go faster (or maybe it just seems that way to me) if I've had a glass of wine. For some reason, the patterns just appear more easily then
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