I do not want to hijackthis thread but...
I think the reason you don't hear cut numbers being used is because there seems to be more and more people using CW just like it was just another one of the digital modes (and lets not start into that debate either!) using their computer for sending and receiving.
I don't think it's really hijacking. I think it's an interesting discussion.
I also feel that cut number usage has declined in recent years.
Note that in really exchange-critical contests... e.g. NA Sprint, CW Sweepstakes ... the exchanges were never sent with cut numbers. Cut numbers are real disasters in complex exchanges like these, and anyone who tries to use them quickly learned that TN and 09 are both important parts of the exchange and cutting 09 to TN aka Tenesee is a big mistake. Leading zeroes are also strongly disfavored in these exchanges, because they contribute NOTHING to copyability.
I feel that cut number usage has declined because folks are now focusing on a correctly copied exchange, rather than pure rate rate rate at all costs. Many are finding that getting the exchange across correctly the first time, sure beats sending multiple fills using cut numbers in marginal conditions.
There are still "rate rate rate" holdouts who insist on using cut numbers all the time. e.g. Euro contest stations who send "ENN AE" instead of "5NN 15". (Not mentioned previously in the thread... the most extreme cut number users, replace 5 with E).
I also find that most stations are ID'ing better in contests too, the past couple years, and the insane CW speed changeups that the worst were using, well now only the worst stations use them. Most stations use more moderate rate changeups or none at all. And CW signal quality is better too - there's only a couple Euro megastations left that I can identify purely by their keying defects :-)
Working contesting newbies becomes more and more important as QSO numbers for a weekend get above 2000, where "working deep" to poorly equipped or poorly experienced stations especially late in the contest, becomes an increasing fraction of Q's made in the test. Remember, you and me were newbies once too :-)