Glad you like the site, and hope it's helpful! To be honest I only direct solve part of the time. Since writing that page I have come to redefine Xcross as any of the following:That's a great resource, Chris, thanks!
I'm intrigued by this notion of direct-solving. There was a time when I couldn't track all 4 cross pieces, and now I can. It should be possible to work my way up to six...are you having success with this?
So, to me, Xcross is only direct solved in 1 out of 6 different scenarios. I would say that considering Xcross to be any of the 6 scenarios above, that I start my solve with an Xcross about 40% of the time solving using the best of either white or yellow as my cross color.I consider Xcross to be either:
1) seeing the direct solve to the Xcross during inspection
2) seeing the solve for the 2x2x2 and one other cross edge during inspection, with intention to locate and place the 4th cross edge during the solving phase.
3) seeing the solve for the 2x2x2 during inspection while making sure that the solution for the 2x2x2 puts the other 2 cross edges in a "good" position. A good position means easy to solve in relatively few moves.
4) Seeing the solve for the cross during inspection that either builds or preserves a c/e pair. For these solves you usually know how to place the pair during inspection as well.
5) Seeing the solve for the cross and one corner during inspection, with intention to locate and place the F2L edge during the solving phase using keyhole.
6) Seeing the solve for the cross and one F2L edge during inspection, with intention to locate and place the corresponding corner during the solving phase using keyhole.
Direct solve is not always possible for Xcross, but those solves tend to be the fastest Xcross solves.
Also, don't expect to solve with cross on every solve. I've done TONS of practice on how to spot an Xcross solve, and even then I don't always do them. Sometimes, even though I see an Xcross solve, I won't do it because the turns are too slow/awkward. It all depends on whether you feel it will speed up your solve or not.