Hi, I used to solve rubik's cubes when I was 10 years old.... had a lot of fun. Learned how to do it from a book. My average time was about 40 seconds or so.
I've noticed that in speedcubing competitions these days, the contestants have time to "examine" the cube before starting the round. May I submit that this is bogus? When I solved a cube in 37 or 40 or 42, etc., seconds, as a kid, that meant from the time someone passed a cube to me to the time it was solved was exactly that number of seconds.
Clearly, time spend examining the cube and figuring out what approach you're going to take in solving it should count towards the total solution time. To not count it is as though this time didn't matter. If it doesnt matter, then why do they need to "examine" the cube first?
The cubes should be scrambled and placed under a cover or sheet of some kind. At the start signal, the solvers should remove the covers and being "examining" and then solving.