View Full Version : How do some people solve these cryptograms so fast? Is Bansais a robot?

11-28-2016, 07:08 PM
These two questions come up so often that I am posting this forum thread to answer them. Other players, feel free to add wisdom. Here goes . . .

Dear New Crypto-Solver:

Welcome! You've found a great puzzle site, and a supportive group of players.

To answer the top question: No, Bansaisequoia is not a robot, and neither is Nanrich or any of the other super-fast players. They are real people who have practiced for many hours and who have a few key talents: they are good at seeing word patterns, they remember quotes they've solved before, and they type fast. Also, they have fast internet connections that don't add slow seconds while the screen loads.

It can be daunting, when you first start at this site, to take whole minutes to solve a single puzzle, only to discover that somebody else solved the same puzzle in under 12 seconds -- or even under 6 seconds in a few cases. Ridiculous, right? Well, yes, it is ridiculous. But not impossible.

Okay look, for now, just focus on challenging yourself and pay no mind to the super-solvers. No one here, not even Bansais or Nanrich, was able to solve cryptograms in under 12 seconds from the start. It took them tons of practice to get that fast.

"But is it even physically possible to type a long quote in under 20 seconds?"

Yes, it is -- in fact, it's easy if you are a touch typist. Remember: each letter of the alphabet autofills in each space where it appears as soon as you type that letter once -- which means you never have to type more than 26 letters (usually under 20) to solve a whole cryptogram. So if it were just a matter of typing speed, you could solve even the long quotes as fast as you could type about 20 letters.

What takes time and practice is knowing which letters to type. Here is an excellent tutorial that can help you practice: http://www.cryptograms.org/tutorial.php

Also, for encouragement, check this other forum thread: http://www.cryptograms.org/forum/showthread.php?t=669 In that thread, a few players have posted YouTube videos that show their screen as they solve puzzles in real time. To see their real-life crypto-solving screen videos, just scroll through the entries and look for the YouTube links.

To summarize:
- Bansais is not a robot.
- The key to speed is practice.
- You never have to type more than 26 letters to solve any cryptogram.
- Study the tutorial: http://www.cryptograms.org/tutorial.php
- Watch YouTube videos of players solving on-screen: http://www.cryptograms.org/forum/showthread.php?t=669

With steady practice you, too, may eventually solve an occasional puzzle in under 30 seconds. And then one day you may hit an especially easy puzzle and surprise yourself with a personal record, maybe even under 20 seconds. This is how it happens.

11-29-2016, 04:15 AM
I just want to add, LLapp, that your times are quite respectable as well. Don't forget to give yourself some credit!

11-30-2016, 02:20 PM
24 letters? Are you doing these in Greek? Wow, you are good!

11-30-2016, 06:59 PM
OMG. I was very tired . . .

I'll fix it. Thank you!!!

11-30-2016, 07:07 PM
I just want to add, LLapp, that your times are quite respectable as well. Don't forget to give yourself some credit!

Thanks Damsel!

12-01-2016, 10:49 PM
bansai is not a robot . possibly an android, but not a robot. dna testing will be necessary to know for sure.

12-04-2016, 06:01 PM
The slow connection LLapp mentions, along with the fact that I'm a poor typist, is the reason I don't bother to play in competition mode. It's frustrating to wait for a letter to fill in, or to have to fix a typo, but it's still worth solving, and easier than doing the paper-and-pencil cryptograms I used to do for decades. By signing in, I get to add comments, but by remaining in non-competitive mode I also get to ask for a hint (or 3) if I really, really get stumped, since my lack of typing skill precludes competition in any case.

12-05-2016, 11:41 AM
I'll pitch in for that DNA test. Who's collecting?

12-07-2016, 05:11 PM
I'll pitch in for that DNA test. Who's collecting?

I guess I will collect the money. Cash is preferred, but checks will be accepted, just make them out to mike hall, and this might be expensive, so keep it coming.

07-22-2017, 10:17 AM
I admit, my pace is tectonic. It took me 6hrs to solve my first cryptoquote. I slowwly worked my way up. It is all about letter patterns. There only so many 4 letter words that begin and end with the same letter. Bansai and most others type way faster than I do :D

07-22-2017, 11:12 AM
Well, I've had a lot of top 20 months for times lately. I credit it to a faster server. And although I've only set one record this year, I've had more than 200 sub 20 second times. Even about a dozen sub 10s, but no records on any of them. So I know it can be done. The "robots" are actually incredibly fast solvers with speedy servers. Bansai, nanrich, and seven or eight others still impress me every time I solve a quote in what I think is very fast only to see their speed about a third of mine. The woman from Finland boggles my mind since English isn't even her native language.

07-22-2017, 11:35 AM
There only so many 4 letter words that begin and end with the same letter.

Hi andyd. And guess what -- there's a thread for that!

07-23-2017, 03:22 PM
Lol, LLapp, I was going to post that!

07-23-2017, 04:09 PM
i was also going to post that. here's another string of them by bansai:

10-21-2018, 07:37 AM
Not to dismiss the abilities of the lightning-fast solvers, but recently many new entries have been posted and it seems that none of the prominent fastest-timers hold records. To me this suggests that having solved a given puzzle before, keeping a copy of it, and waiting until it pops up again may be very important in setting records.

10-21-2018, 10:16 AM
No, you might recognize a puzzle that you'd seen half a dozen times before and it might help you solve it more quickly. But to actually make a copy of a quote and then pull it up from reference? That would make your time SLOWER, not faster.

BTW, I just broke one of Bansai's record a few weeks ago. By ONE SECOND! First time I'd beaten one of his. There's a reason he's so fast. Like Tony's Frosted Flakes, he's GREAT!!!