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 How are people so fast? 
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Posted on: Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:41 pm




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Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:03 pm
Post How are people so fast?
I've been on this site for about a month now and I can generally solve all the daily problems, unless I run out of time. I'm getting faster, but it can still take me quite a while.

What amazes me is the times submitted for the timed puzzles. I can generally do the 4 x 4 in about 30 seconds if I don't make a mistake, but I figure it would take me at least 10 seconds just to fill in the numbers if I had a solution in front of me.

I suppose part of the problem is that I'm using a tablet and therefore have to click on both the square and the number. If I used a PC or laptop with a keyboard, would I be able to move the cursor with one hand and click on the number pad with the other? And would this speed things up significantly? Or is there some other way of filling in the numbers more quickly?


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Posted on: Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:01 pm




Posts: 2215
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: How are people so fast?
Yes, using a (good) keyboard makes a huge difference.

There was a thread like this a while ago, I'll see if I can dig it up...

also check out the bottom video here: http://www.calcudoku.org/ops/videos

and search Youtube for "starling calcudoku" to see the full speed ones [scared]


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Posted on: Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:34 pm




Posts: 500
Location: Ladysmith, BC, Canada
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 1:37 am
Post Re: How are people so fast?
Even with a keyboard, I'm sure age has an influence on times!


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Posted on: Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:06 pm




Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:03 pm
Post Re: How are people so fast?
Thanks folks. Interesting video. He looks as if he takes a second or so to figure out where to start and then only pauses slightly once or twice. I'm sure his speed on the keyboard is a lot faster than I could ever achieve (not to mention his speed of thought).

I guess age could well be a factor. As someone who won't see 60 again, it's good to keep my brain active and at least I'm getting a bit better at finishing off the daily challenges. I've only missed one in the last two weeks and that's because I spent too much time on the 12 x 12 instead of focusing on the challenge that had to be completed that day.

I'll probably become a subscriber at some stage, but it's currently taking me too long to get through all the daily challenges and I'd never get anything done if I had to do another few challenges each day. Maybe when I get a bit faster?

In the meantime, hopefully I'm helping to keep Alzheimers at bay.


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Posted on: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:37 pm




Posts: 221
Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 2:17 pm
Post Re: How are people so fast?
It is amazing, right? It really doesn't make sense. I can usually solve 4x4s in 30 seconds - 20 on a good day, 15 on the best - but how do people do it in 3 SECONDS?! [blink] [confused] There is no logical reason why this should happen, other than using a super-fast solver and copying-pasting, and even then they'd have to plug in the board in the first place.


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Posted on: Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:42 pm




Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:03 pm
Post Re: How are people so fast?
30 seconds (or just under) is about my limit for the 4 x 4s. I haven't really become any faster over the last couple of months and I've now been doing them for around 3 months in total. On the other hand, I have become quicker at solving the regular puzzles and am very rarely stymied unless I just run out of time due to other commitments.

Maybe if I used a keyboard instead of a tablet, it would help to speed things up, but I still find it hard to understand how some people can do them so quickly.


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Posted on: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:59 am




Posts: 2215
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: How are people so fast?
marblevolcano wrote:
There is no logical reason why this should happen, other than using a super-fast solver and copying-pasting, and even then they'd have to plug in the board in the first place.

The 3-4 second solutions are rare, only done by the fastest people, and only
when they get a very easy puzzle (e.g. starting with a 3-cell "3:" in the top left corner,
then a 3-cell "16x" in the top right, etc.).

Also, using a keyboard is definitely faster: I can type the "3 - down - 1 - up - right - 1" for that 3: cell in a fraction of a second.

I never got below 5 seconds though [mellow]
(I often lose time on all the puzzles by not being able to keep my concentration 100% of the time)

Patrick


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Posted on: Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:35 pm




Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:15 pm
Post Re: How are people so fast?
pnm wrote:
The 3-4 second solutions are rare, only done by the fastest people, and only
when they get a very easy puzzle (e.g. starting with a 3-cell "3:" in the top left corner,
then a 3-cell "16x" in the top right, etc.).

Also, using a keyboard is definitely faster: I can type the "3 - down - 1 - up - right - 1" for that 3: cell in a fraction of a second.

I never got below 5 seconds though [mellow]
(I often lose time on all the puzzles by not being able to keep my concentration 100% of the time)

Patrick

I looked over the 'all time fastest' rankings and only 3 people have posted a time less than 4 seconds and only 7 have posted a time less than 5. Three of those solvers - sheldonlina, starling and sneaklyfox - were the regular top scorers the first time I remember there being a thread discussing the seemingly improbable times being posted and they are still on this list of known troublemakers. [tongue] (Starling posted a video that was pretty convincing, fwiw.)

When comparing the single best time rankings to the top 3 best time rankings, it looks like jpoos and jas33 have only ever broken the 4 second threshold once each. Maybe twice, but a presumed bell curve distribution suggests otherwise. Sheldolina, on the other hand, would appear to have posted below 4 seconds many times. The point being that it does seem true that while these three are ridiculously fast, they have also been lucky on occasion. There are so many timed puzzles completed each day that there must be those that are just right for the solver, that reveal themselves all at once or in quick quadrants. I know that I've solved puzzles remarkably quickly for me and then been shocked to see that it is only my 17th fastest time or something. And I think, "How have I been faster than this that many times?"

So I think it all comes down to practice, skill, luck and caffeine. Except sheldolina, who must be a cyborg. Occam's razor.


(Edit: I just jotted down the solution to today's easy 4x4. I then reloaded the puzzle and 'solved' it on a PC using a standard keyboard - 7.688 seconds. I then solved it again, using my phone and its touchscreen - 19.123 seconds. A _lot_ slower. No a scientific study, but still indicative.)


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Posted on: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:57 pm




Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:28 pm
Post Re: How are people so fast?
jaek wrote:
I looked over the 'all time fastest' rankings and only 3 people have posted a time less than 4 seconds and only 7 have posted a time less than 5. Three of those solvers - sheldonlina, starling and sneaklyfox - were the regular top scorers the first time I remember there being a thread discussing the seemingly improbable times being posted and they are still on this list of known troublemakers. [tongue] (Starling posted a video that was pretty convincing, fwiw.)

When comparing the single best time rankings to the top 3 best time rankings, it looks like jpoos and jas33 have only ever broken the 4 second threshold once each. Maybe twice, but a presumed bell curve distribution suggests otherwise. Sheldolina, on the other hand, would appear to have posted below 4 seconds many times. The point being that it does seem true that while these three are ridiculously fast, they have also been lucky on occasion. There are so many timed puzzles completed each day that there must be those that are just right for the solver, that reveal themselves all at once or in quick quadrants. I know that I've solved puzzles remarkably quickly for me and then been shocked to see that it is only my 17th fastest time or something. And I think, "How have I been faster than this that many times?"

So I think it all comes down to practice, skill, luck and caffeine. Except sheldolina, who must be a cyborg. Occam's razor.


(Edit: I just jotted down the solution to today's easy 4x4. I then reloaded the puzzle and 'solved' it on a PC using a standard keyboard - 7.688 seconds. I then solved it again, using my phone and its touchscreen - 19.123 seconds. A _lot_ slower. No a scientific study, but still indicative.)


Luck is definitely a big factor in getting great times; while I'm not anywhere near sheldolina's level (yet I hope), my only sub-4 happened to be an insanely good one (though I'm sure I'll get more in the future).
As to the second part, pretty much all of my best 8x8 times felt mediocre at the time, and the same goes for my 5x5 record; initially I thought that was not even sub-11...


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Posted on: Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:13 pm




Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:19 am
Post Re: How are people so fast?
It took me at least a year of puzzling to get a time under 7 seconds in the 4x4 puzzles. And now I've been doing these puzzles for over 3 years everyday (according to my history). So practice helps and of course luck plays a big part. Also I've noticed that if I do the puzzles using a keyboard I don't regularly use, my times are slower..

Like me and others have said before, the really fast times come from noticing a pattern you "know", so that you don't actually have to calculate anything. Still I can't understand how others (these days mostly jpoos) manage to get the super fast times in 5x5 and 6x6 puzzles..

And it's funny and weird how much I've celebrated when I got a new record in any of the puzzles [thumbsup]


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