I didn't even know there was a hint system, I left it at default and didn't really get any hints at all... I think once Guybrush said something about the wind compass thing, but I was in the process of using the item when he started to say something about it...
The game was kind of on the short side. I don't see how you could've goten 9 hours out of it. I think I barely got 3 hours out of it. Maybe 4, tops.