Some people complained it were too much work for such a short period of time, but we think we’ve shown that using a sufficiently powerful programming language allows to be done with the mechanics part in time, leaving plenty of opportunity to care about the challenge itself.
Personally, I hadn’t heard anything about Dylan as a language before today however the above quote seems quite telling. Haskell was the other language to have a high level of success at the competition taking out the win, with second and the judges prize going to the Dylan team.
Entries were submitted in a range of languages, and over the years, it has consistently been the languages with high abstraction that allow programmers to focus on the problem at hand that have done the best.
I remember back when I was at uni that our Mercury team had done well at this competition for a similar reason. Mercury being a nice language which is to Prolog what Haskell is to Lisp, it provides a high level abstraction of a computing model while still being fast enough for daily use.