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 Timed puzzle technique 
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Posted on: Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:45 pm




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Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:03 pm
Post Timed puzzle technique
I know this has come up previously, but I have been unable to find the previous discussion.

My times are much slower than the speedsters. In part, this is because I do the timed puzzles on an iPad, so I'm using the same hand (usually just one finger) to both enter numbers and to move to another cell. I've tried doing them on my PC using the number pad, but I'm not very practised at it and if anything, it slows me down.

I presume the really fast solvers are doing it on a laptop or PC and are using the keyboard number pad on their dominant hand and using the other hand to move around the puzzle. Is this correct and, if so, do you use a mouse or the arrow keys to move from one cell to another?

Any tips on how I might improve my times would be very gratefully received.


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Posted on: Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:04 pm




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: Timed puzzle technique
number keys left hand

arrow keys right hand

IBM Model M keyboard [thumbup]


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Posted on: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:03 pm




Posts: 229
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:15 pm
Post Re: Timed puzzle technique
Interestingly, the number _pad_ is harder to use because the arrow keys are immediately adjacent so you can't use them in tandem very comfortably.

As a result I think most people use the same technique Patrick laid out. left hand on numbers, starting with little finger through index finger on 1 through 4 above q, w, e and r. Even on bigger puzzles like the 6x6 and 8x8.

Right hand on the arrow keys.

Even though I don't use the number pad, I prefer a full keyboard over teh built in laptop keyboard just because the arrow keys are bigger.

As for enhancing your speed, I think you absolutely have to use both hands - even if you only use one finger on each hand, having one hand change cell focus and the other entering numbers must, with practice, be faster than just using one finger.


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Posted on: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:00 am




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Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 2:17 pm
Post Re: Timed puzzle technique
I use the top strip (with my left hand) because my computer doesn't have a number pad, and I've gotten so used to the number strip that I will probably use it to the end of eternity...

Anyway, I only use three fingers for the arrows (right hand - index for left, middle for up and down, ring for right). The up and down keys together are the same size as the left OR right, so it kind of necessitates one finger, but it works for me.


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Posted on: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:13 am




Posts: 317
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:03 pm
Post Re: Timed puzzle technique
Thanks for the replies folks. I decided I'd give it go for today's timed puzzles and got the following results:

4 × 4 5 × 5 6 × 6
23.272 (your #504) 2 m 11.630 (your #1079) 3 m 27.278 (your #846)

That was 3 attempts at the 4x4 and 1 at the 5x5 and 6x6. I'm going to do the remaining timed puzzles on my iPad, but I'll try to practice with the keyboard on a regular basis to see if I can become more proficient.


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Posted on: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:38 pm




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Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:19 am
Post Re: Timed puzzle technique
Hi all,

As mentioned I also mainly use the top strip with my left hand and the arrow keys with the right. I have new(-ish) laptop and the arrow keys are a bit too small, so my times have suffered (or I'm just getting slower and slower).

I use all fingers on the numbers except my thumb. When I'm at the office where I have a good full sized keyboard, I also tend to sometimes use my right hand and numpad to enter the numbers 6-8 when solving the 8x8 puzzles. This does cause quite a lot of errors though :-)

Few years ago I had some Android calcudoku/kenken/mathdoku game installed on my phone, and my fastest time for a 4x4 puzzle was somewhere around 6-7 seconds. Usually the times were much slower, but the fastest times were about twice as long as my personal records here at calcudoku.org.

-Ville


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Posted on: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:22 am




Posts: 317
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:03 pm
Post Re: Timed puzzle technique
I decided to do today's 8x8 using the keyboard. I didn't get stuck at any stage, but it took me 6:32 [scared]. I'm definitely way slower at present using the keyboard. I'll persevere, but it could be a long, hard slog.


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Posted on: Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:05 am




Posts: 544
Location: Ladysmith, BC, Canada
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 1:37 am
Post Re: Timed puzzle technique
5:04 for yesterday's.....I am a bit methodical (slow) when it comes to these timed puzzles as I have a Logitech Keyboard and the number and direction keys are both on the right hand side and almost side-by-side on board.....I cannot remember the positions, so I have to look at puzzle, decide on the inputs and then look down at the keyboard and input numbers and because of the anxiety level I will often hit the key beside the one I should have hit.....so, I will continue, as pnm pointed out, in the "slowcoach" [sad] (I remember in my youth I took piano lessons and for some reason, I could not memorize the position of the keys.....same when I took typing in High School....I just memorized each line of notes or print and then looked at the keys and hit the correct ones......because, I did this without making a mistake, both instructors failed me for not doing the proper techniques!!!


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Posted on: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:26 am




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: Timed puzzle technique
I'm beginning to suspect jpoos has three hands or something:

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Posted on: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:47 am




Posts: 317
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:03 pm
Post Re: Timed puzzle technique
You could well be right! That's an amazing time and, if I'm not mistaken, his first time completing an 8x8 in under a minute.


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