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Messages posted by ddsol
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I was in the top 50 5 times in one day last week. Today I was in there 3 times. The top 50 page is broken, you can't appear more than twice it seems. It just erases old scores. I guess that prevents cheaters from putting their name all over the page.

In any case, I just got my fastest of 1:45 in extreme. I have a new technique which allows me to get below 3 minutes quite often. Note that shoving 10 seconds off of 5 minutes is a lot easier than shaving 10 seconds off of 2 minutes.

To get these super times, you have to be able to do a number of things:

  • use both thumbs to enter numbers. use a small-screen device, not a tablet. You can't reach around those things. You'll learn finger agility with practice. You'll need a lot of practice.
  • make only fast decisions, if not fast, move on to the next number
  • start with the easy ones (the ones where there's already a lot of numbers)
  • pencil in your head to find impossibilities. This requires a lot of practice. It starts by knowing how Sudoku works.
  • fill in the ones you can find quickly in pen mode, then switch to pencil mode
  • hidden pairs take a lot of time to find. If you see them, use them immediately and remember them so as not to pencil in anything else. If you have to search for hidden pairs, you'll likely not make the top 100 already.
  • A MAJOR help is this: If you have penciled everything in, then when you find a digit, you should always evaluate only the digits that were penciled into that cell. Check the grid to see if any of those have changed possibilities (last one left, or it's a row/col in cell blocking the others in that row/col). Those are the only digits that changed state when you put the number in the cell. Often you find one or more of those digits can now be filled in. Simply add the numbers penciled into the new cell to your set of digits to check.
  • practice
  • practice
  • practice

If your best time is 5 minutes you're mediocre at best. Some people treat this game as a sport and they practice until they drop and they take pride in their achievements. I myself play because I'm addicted .

All my top 10 are under 2:34 now and all in the last 5 days.

I wanted to say that cheating at these speeds must be very hard indeed. I stare intently at the screen as I do these speed solves. Having to look away to see what the answers are and them back, focusing each time on the other board must just be really hard. I can't imagine making good time using that technique. Even an easy would probably take over a minute to fill out, looking back and forth, finding your bearings with each switch.

Having made the 1:45 honestly, and knowing thousands of players play at the same time, I find it quite plausible that people get sub-1-minute times. But I can't imagine that this is possible by cheating, unless some software fills it out for you.

I want to finish by saying that I sometimes can't find a solution to a puzzle even after 20 minutes. I usually find I missed something, so it wasn't the puzzle being hard after all. Sometimes I can't find the answer at all and use a hint. "At all" can mean after 7 minutes or so for me before I give up. Going for times below 3 minutes makes a 7 minute game feel like a waste of time. It's not like you win anything at that point.

I've also played games for 25 minutes and then found the solution. But that's a forever and I had better be watching TV while I do that or it's just too tedious. It requires a lot of concentration and extended periods of searching with no payoff is hard.
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