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(b) is an interesting point - I suppose Arabic numerals are more common place than the Latin alphabet, but ultimately they are still a choice of symbol which some people will not use as their first choice. Would you object to 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 on the same grounds - and if so why not?
Any set of symbols will have some cultural baggage. In my opinion the digits 1-9 have less baggage than the letters A-Z and come from a smaller set of elements (implying less likelihood of confusion for contestants and markers). I don't think there is any other relatively small set of symbols that is broadly used - Greek letters, astrology symbols, chemical elements or Egyptian hieroglyphics would be problematic for me (despite some awareness in another context of Eye of Horus and Horned Viper). Even with digits, there is the challenge of serifs for 1s and English/continental 7s, but it feels like the least worst option for a neutral set of symbols. I wouldn't seriously object to a single novelty alphabetic puzzle (eg related to the venue) ... provided the venue was, say CAMBRIDGE rather than LLANDUDNO ... and I would certainly prefer that to photographs of Budapest landmarks Occasional ambiguous domino or LED patterns are OK by me too ... in moderation, without repetition. Colour introduces potential colour-blindness issues and logistical pen challenges. Overall, I think the digits 1-9 are a pragmatic - albeit imperfect - lingua franca.