Okay, I played a little bit of "Secret of the Old Clock"! Just a little, because Rosie woke up and needed me to play with her.
I found out that it's possible to go through the opening scenes without talking to Emily about Jim Archer. This is not a timesaver, as you HAVE to do that, in order to proceed. I found out that you don't have to play minigolf in this game. WHAT. NO WAY.
Yeah, the only reason you play minigolf is so you can beat the carriage lock puzzle. There are four things for that puzzle: bard bounce, the poetry book in Emily's room, mini-golf and Gloria's middle name. The first three are entirely skippable. If you know the answers to those questions ahead of time—"keen", "omar" and "pony"—you can put them, and the game accepts it.
The game does force you to learn Gloria's middle name. In order to get that, you need to read Josiah's book of clues and talk to Emily. So, yeah! You can skip the other stuff involved with the carriage lock puzzle. Timesavers!