Leren wrote:an exact Hodoku score for a hard puzzle is a bit of a lottery (or maybe I don't know enough about Hodoku to keep the scores consistent)

I wouldn't worry about the Hodoku scores because they're cumulative and thus depend on the full solve path. It makes them quite arbitrary when there are multiple possibilities for the same technique with varying degrees of effectiveness. The only part we can control is the hierarchy of different techniques, but Hodoku decides the order of applying instances of the same technique. If it happens to pick an effective instance early, the score is obviously lower than if it first uses all the irrelevant ones. I don't know the exact algorithm it uses for that, but I think we should consider it random for all practical purposes, making the cumulative scores nondeterministic.

SER is not perfect but I think it's much better for these kinds of comparisons than any cumulative scores. For your latest pair of puzzles the SER scores are 4.6 and 8.3.