View Full Version : Slowpoke here

nature nut
07-19-2012, 06:56 PM
I struggle. I pass on about 15 per cent of the puzzles and wind up slow and very slow on many of the rest. But when a puzzle is a cinch, with lots of As and THEs and THATs and commas and apostrophes and so on, how is it that often 30 percent are unsuccessful? Who are they?

07-20-2012, 04:41 AM
I can only speak to my own experience, Nature Nut. Just this week I had an incredibly easy one where I took over 100 minutes, Just as it finished loading, the power went out. Sometimes I get called away from thte computer for one reason or another or to run an errand. Then of course there is the infamous brain stall where I can't see a pattern to save my life. I'm certain others may have different reasons.

07-20-2012, 05:08 AM
I concur with Montyb. There are times when I can see patterns and guess the next word from context, or from knowing what the person being quoted usually talks/talked about, and other times when I couldn't see the pattern to save my life. I've been solving cryptograms for over 30 years, and I still get stuck much more often than I'd like. Hang in there and try to pass on fewer and fewer puzzles. There are many people on this site who help when they can if you really can't get one. I will usually stay with a puzzle until I solve it, no matter how long it takes (sometimes 30 - 45 minutes).

07-20-2012, 05:31 AM
Dear Nature Nut and Monty, I was wondering about the exact things just yesterday: SO many puzzles are solved by only 30% of those to whom it is given! (We should congratulate ourselves on how many we DO complete. At the same time, I realized that while we are still learning the probabilities of certain letter combinations being preceded or followed by other certain letters, every second we ponder over the initial "hint" letters, counts against us. And yes, we sometimes get interrupted. One time I had to go to the door and forgot I was working on a puzzle. When I finally completed it, the message was "Congratulations! You took 146,000 seconds to complete this puzzle." You may already know this, but - - - - i o -. is usually - - - tion; and - - - ei - -, is most likely - - cei - -, but may be - - eigh --.

07-20-2012, 05:52 AM
You would have to ask Admin, but I have a couple of theories.

1. The statistical establishing period includes Guests, who don't care if they solve a quote, and just pass on it if it takes more than their patience can tolerate.

2. Not all of the registered users are the competitive sort. In that case, see theory 1.

07-20-2012, 07:30 PM
I would like to add my theory...
The speedier players who are not too concerned with
keeping a hundred percent solve rate will see a long,
easy-rated puzzle come up and I suspect just pass on it.
Hence some of the easiest ones to solve are also the longest
time wise due to the increase in keystrokes.
And since you only get a max of about hundred and some points
they really arent going to move you up point-wise either.
Hope that helped explain it.

07-20-2012, 08:12 PM
I am also rather curious about why not many finish the puzzles but the times are often either really short (even for hard puzzles) or rather long.

What I am more curious about is the fact that some of the puzzles are finished, if you look at the record time, in 10 seconds or less. Some of them, I can understand because some of them are not super difficult. I did, however see a cryptogram that had probably around 15-20 words and it was a difficult one. That one was solved in 5 seconds I think. I just want to know how.... I don't even think I could type in the letters for all of the words in that amount of time even if I already knew the answer.


07-20-2012, 10:16 PM
Sometimes the puzzle comes up, and your brain kicks in and your fingers just go along without thinking about it. It's fun when that happens. I bet my mom never foresaw the benefits for cryptogram solving that would come of her insisting that I take typing in high school.

Of course, it doesn't always work. I've had some puzzles take me a long time to solve, only to hit the check button and find out that at some point I solved it in record time. It's a bit alarming when I don't even remember ever seeing the quote before.

As for the solving rates, my theory is that there are a lot more people playing than just those on the high scores board, and there are likely many who just skip on to the next one when the pattern doesn't come to them immediately.

07-21-2012, 06:26 AM
There is one very long puzzle by Douglas Adams that I have the record for at some ridiculously quick time. It's because it's my favorite sentence in the book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". While sometimes puzzles do "click", and you just get them, it also helps if you know the passage by heart and recognize it quickly. Eventually, you will see something here that you know from another source. You will solve that much faster than you would have if you had never seen it before.

As for solves under 10 seconds, some of us just type really fast. I actually have to type slower than I'm able because the program sometimes skips letters if I type more than about 70 wpm. Maybe it's my browser, because Bansai hasn't had that problem and he can type faster than I can.

07-21-2012, 04:39 PM
That wouldn't happen to be the one that starts with "Space is big."?

07-21-2012, 06:01 PM
That's my second favorite part of the book. No, it's the first part of Chapter 15, "In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men...." I think I put the rest of the paragraph in the comments section.

Nerd alert!

07-21-2012, 07:50 PM
"...and small, furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were REAL small, furry creatures from Alpha Centauri." I use that in my classes occasionally.


07-25-2012, 08:45 PM
In some cases with the long puzzles, they really don't use a lot of letters. If it's a perfect storm where the first couple of words are instantly recognizable, and the letters from those fill out most of the rest of the puzzle, BOOM! Under 10 seconds easily.