Mathew, My guess is that you are seeing server response lags. I get this behavior with a remote web service, geonames.org, in the late afternoon and evening heavy load times on the internet. I don't have this behavior with that data source in the morning and late at night. Are you pulling data from an internet data source, or pulling it from your co-located server? My response time on other data from a co-located server is nearly instantaneous.
ctafield and amfriedman, Don't know why. Are you using the Autocomplete UI widget or some plug-in? I have not seen this behavior on several Autocomplete widgets that I have built.
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