Firstly, I am using the identical settings file each time. I am installing 1.09.05 on top of 1.13.01, then 1.13.01 on top of 1.09.05, then back again, etc., and I'm making no configuration changes at any point.
Secondly, I am doing REPEATED opens and closes (I'm actually using Ctrl-space). I'm not waiting and doing other stuff. I ctrl-space, then ctrl-space to close it, then a second later I try again with ctrl-space to open it, etc. So there is no period of disuse at all in my test. And the slowness I'm reporting is ignoring the time it takes to launch the very first time, but rather I'm only talking about the time it takes for subsequent launches.
I'll say more about my observation:
With 1.09.05, when I hit ctrl-space, the top portion of the FaRR window comes up almost immediately - the part with the title bar, and the text field. Then, about a second later, the area below that appears, and is filled in with my 9 most recently launched applications.
With 1.13.01, when I hit ctrl-space, nothing appears immediately. About a second later, the entire window (title bar, text field, and recent applications) appears all at the same instant.
I hope that observation helps point things in the right direction.
Regarding the options lanux posted about...aha, I hadn't understood that those are options now present in 1.13.01. I will reinstall 1.13.01 and see if that helps!