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In a rut
one_odd_duck
Kwon-Tom Addict
Puzzles: 120
Best Total: 1h 38m 8s
Posted - 2007.01.12 10:04:52
Hi from a kwon-tom n00b...  I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts/advice about this.

Now obviously i haven't done many puzzles here (i'm not online much, and used to just do the occasional puzzle; i just started trying to do every puzzle and beat my times last week), but i'm not new to the puzzles... i've loved slither links for years and have even ordered whole books of them from Japan. But the whole being timed is pretty new to me.  I like it, but it's made me realize how slow i am.

Now, to the point:  I know all the strategies, so i'm not asking for help on anything but that, but do you think there's a way for me to improve my times?  Is lots of practice the best way?  Or do you think that some people just can't progress beyond a certain level?  Even if i never get faster, i'll always love the puzzles, but i think it would be fun to be able to get faster as well.

sorry for the rambling post!!
tilps
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 4320
Best Total: 20m 22s
Posted - 2007.01.12 10:21:19
I wrote software for solving slitherlink puzzles before I started kwon-tom, so obviously I knew a few things about solving them.  And back then getting a weekend puzzle done in under an hour was a great achievement for me.  Being able to solve them quickly comes with practice, not that I am all that good (although I still blame the mouse clicking speed, my mouse using speed and the browser showing me vline.gif or 1x1.gif at inopportune moments, to at least 10minutes of my time each week).

Being able to derive patterns is one thing, remembering and spotting any one of 20 or so in a fraction of a second anywhere on the board, is another.  And then there is 'knowing where to guess' which is somewhat of an art sometimes it seems.  I curse myself sometimes that I have anti-luck with knowing where to guess, I find the right place to guess and I always try the correct solution first, which means I have to go back and try the opposite so that I can go back and put the correct solution in, wastes a lot of time.
one_odd_duck
Kwon-Tom Addict
Puzzles: 120
Best Total: 1h 38m 8s
Posted - 2007.01.12 11:27:50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tilps
And then there is 'knowing where to guess' which is somewhat of an art sometimes it seems.  I curse myself sometimes that I have anti-luck with knowing where to guess, I find the right place to guess and I always try the correct solution first, which means I have to go back and try the opposite so that I can go back and put the correct solution in, wastes a lot of time.

Ah yes, I'm always doing that too! Definitely a time-waster..
Acorn
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 555
Best Total: 42m 58s
Posted - 2007.01.17 16:00:50
I think my time would improve if I could stop using the "x"s but I NEED them.  Are there any fast people that still use X's?  If not how do you stop using them.  I can't seem to visualize very well without them.  Maybe it's because I'm well past the magic age.
astrokath
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3093
Best Total: 13m 42s
Posted - 2007.01.17 16:21:50
Quote:
Originally Posted by acorn
I think my time would improve if I could stop using the "x"s but I NEED them.  Are there any fast people that still use X's?  If not how do you stop using them.  I can't seem to visualize very well without them.  Maybe it's because I'm well past the magic age.

I'm sad to say the answer's yes.  I can do it without them, but not as fast.

I'm trying to free myself of my crutches, slowly...
Helge
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3021
Best Total: 11m 26s
Posted - 2007.01.17 17:49:24
I use 'x's a lot, even on the small puzzles. Not on the easy ones though.
procrastinator
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1083
Best Total: 12m 56s
Posted - 2007.01.24 07:01:42
Quote:
Originally Posted by acorn
I think my time would improve if I could stop using the "x"s but I NEED them.  Are there any fast people that still use X's?

I often throw some in when I think I've missed something without them. Also there are some patterns where I know I tend to miss the invisible Xes, so I put them in if (or later when) I think it's going to be a hard puzzle. The hard part is going back into no-X mode when you've made the breakthrough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by acorn
If not how do you stop using them.  I can't seem to visualize very well without them.  Maybe it's because I'm well past the magic age.

Before I found Kwontom Loop, there just weren't enough hard puzzles around, so I stretched them out by doing them without Xes or (obviously) Fix Position. So I suppose the answer is I practised.

When I started trying to solve at speed I put them in for the first few months, but then I started experimented with doing archived Mondays without them. I found that I was quicker unless I missed something, in which case I was much slower. So I started doing it on live Mondays with some success, and slowly I missed less and less patterns without the Xes, so that now I try to do every day without them, at least initially.

But the funny thing is I feel like it's really helped improve my visualization - I suppose it just gives my brain less things to remember at once - and tzukanion reports a similar effect.
m2e
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 607
Best Total: 16m 43s
Posted - 2007.01.24 07:19:01
Quote:
Originally Posted by acorn
I think my time would improve if I could stop using the "x"s but I NEED them.  Are there any fast people that still use X's?
Im not ultra fast, but still reasonably quick, and i use Xs alot. I'm trying to cut down though...

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