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It isn't Cave of Trials but Festia in general that 'bamboozled' you; all attractions and mini-games are on maintenance during those hours (the Festia wiki page has this information). It would've indeed been nice if this were specifically mentioned though.
I don't remember if this was even made clear in the introduction quest to Festia but when talking to Fez and Tia (and other staff) now, only Tia mentions those hours, but in a confusing/misinformative way:
If your mini-game or attraction ends abnormally, or if you forfeit and leave the game, the results won't be reflected in your rank. The same rule applies when games end on a Wednesday between midnight and 7:00 AM. Avoid those times if you're looking to rank high. Don't worry, though! You'll still be able to receive a reward box!
I believe the quality (or range thereof) increases at higher Dan ranks. I've made signed Oak Wands while training for Dan 2 and 3 which never happened before.
Edit: On second thought, the quality increase I've experienced could just as well have been the result of using the master title amplified by the Dan title. I don't have a proper comparison between r1 with amplified Master title and Dan1+ with the same titles (or both ranks without using the titles), so consider the above pure speculation.