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Burko
Kwon-Tom Fan
Puzzles: 89
Posted - 2006.02.23 19:06:24
How the hell can todays puzzle be solved in a matter of minutes (ref: leaderboard)? Is there some kind of software used to complete it? I cannot see any conceivable way of being able to do it so quick. Not knocking anyone just curious, if it is possible then fair play!
Last edited by Burko - 2006.02.23 19:06:39
procrastinator
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1083
Best Total: 12m 56s
Posted - 2006.02.23 20:28:31
Yeah, it's really that easy with a bit of practise. If you look through the old forum posts, you'll get an idea of how we do it.

There are a bunch of patterns of numbers that turn up over and over again, and once you recognise them, you can put in the right lines for that section by reflex, rather than having to reason it out from scratch. Then there are a few situations that are never allowed to happen: for instance you can't create a small loop that doesn't take in the entire board, and you can't have an odd number of loose ends going into any sealed-off section. So if you can see something that would force an odd number of entries, or a small loop, you can rule it out.

That's usually all you need to solve Monday through Thursday. Sometimes on the other days, you have to be able to visualise the implications of a move a long way ahead, but judicious use of Fix Position can help with that.
astrokath
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3093
Best Total: 13m 42s
Posted - 2006.02.23 21:49:27
I'm tempted to say that the top scorers are actually just computers... but we're not.  Keep practising, and look out for the patterns - you'll get up to speed if you keep at it.  It does take a while though.  If you look at the times for last autumn, we're typically completing puzzles of similar difficulty in about half the time these days.
foilman
Kwon-Tom Admin
Puzzles: 1720
Best Total: 24m 8s
Posted - 2006.02.23 23:30:08
Practise definitely helps. And I often do a daily puzzle a couple of times, just to see if there are places I could have used patterns that I didn't spot first time round. Today's took me nearly 8 minutes this morning (would have been quicker if it wasn't for that annoying phone call!) but trying it again this evening I took less than 3 minutes. You do of course need a brain the size of a planet to keep track of all the more complex patterns, hence why my time at the top of the leaderboard last year was quite short lived!
prj
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 2356
Best Total: 18m 20s
Posted - 2006.02.24 00:48:23
I suspect hardware matters too.  I've been using a trackpoint on my laptop, but I think I could be significantly faster with a real mouse - I know that's true for me with Minesweeper.
bhestertx
Kwon-Tom Addict
Puzzles: 495
Best Total: 44m 53s
Posted - 2006.02.24 16:13:35
I was thinking the same thing for a while Burko.  But as I've played more and more of them, I see the patterns quicker.  Still don't have those stellar times like all those guys who obviously have too much spare time to spend on learning all the patterns (just kidding guys, I'm just jealous!).  What helped for me (probably just because I'm weird) is a couple of sheets of graph paper and writing down the more obscure patterns.  I actually look at them every once in a while to remind myself.
Keep plugging away and I'll look for you on the leaderboard when I make it there! 

So can one of you "uber-solvers" tell me if you "see" patterns both ways?  In other words, if you see this:
You know you have to X the north and east sides.

But if you see:

Do you automatically fill in the line off the SW corner?  Maybe that's obvious to others, but I just started seeing those.  Kind of "Duh!" once I realized it though.  lol
astrokath
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3093
Best Total: 13m 42s
Posted - 2006.02.24 16:22:19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhestertx

So can one of you "uber-solvers" tell me if you "see" patterns both ways? 

Assuming I'm an uber-solver (ooh, I do like the sound of that!)... yes.
Last edited by astrokath - 2006.02.24 16:22:49
bhestertx
Kwon-Tom Addict
Puzzles: 495
Best Total: 44m 53s
Posted - 2006.02.24 17:12:43
Hey, your name shows up on the leaderboard (and several times at that) so you're an uber-solver in my eyes. 

Like I said, it was one of those "Duh!" moments when I saw that the other day.  For some reason it just clicked.  Guess I needed to "open my mind" a little and see it in a different light!  lol
procrastinator
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1083
Best Total: 12m 56s
Posted - 2006.02.24 18:43:45
Quote:
Originally Posted by foilman
You do of course need a brain the size of a planet to keep track of all the more complex patterns.

I guess it depends on your definition, but I wouldn't call any of the patterns I know "complex". I know the implications of the edges coming into and out of one corner of a given number, and a few rules for adjacent (usually diagonal) pairs of numbers, plus  I'm slowly learning to spot a few of new ones mentioned on the forum: drnull's 131 pattern, and foilman's 222 pattern, and my own one with blanks next to a 2.

I'm miles away from spotting (or even remembering) patterns with 5 numbers adding to 12, or anything approaching that complexity. If I see that many numbers in close proximity I'll know it's a good place to look, but if I discover anything it will be from scratch.

Anything complex enough (i.e. involving three numbers) sees me stringing together sequences of simpler patterns until I find a contradiction. This can entail visualising a large number of lines - I can't really "see" Xes - without putting them in (or remembering to use Fix Position), but this is a skill that seems to develop as you solve more of the problems.

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