In my continuing lesson on how an advanced engineering degree enables the recipient to understand nothing, I think I have finally stumbled upon several truths.
One (and please tell me if this or any of these are correct) is that late timing will vastly reduce my Trac Clipper's power, unto bogging down on my test hill and in addition will cause carbon to form on the spark plug.
Two: The point gap is important not because it determines something strange and electrical about the ignition points, which are just a simple (but very sturdy) switch, but because it is a switch that is operated by a cam. The gap in the points is, in fact, a simple means of properly positioning the 'cam follower,' which is that bit of brown fiber stuff that drags against the cam. Thus positioned, the points will open at approximately the desired position of the flywheel at such time as the lump on the cam contacts the follower. Further adjustments can then be made by adjusting the position of the plate upon which the points assembly is mounted.
Three: my point gap is probably too small, which is why, according to the Sears timing light I've just discovered in the garage, my timing is way, way too late. I'm getting a reading of maybe 2 degrees before top dead center at the maximum advance available from the slots in the magneto mounting plate. Myron's Mopeds specifies 14-16 thousandths of an inch, and I think this sort of engine likes a 13-17 degree advance.
Four: the holes in my flywheel are carefully positioned such that neither the point gap nor the flywheel position when they open can be observed without x-ray vision. I regard this as some sort of divine revenge.
Further enlightenment and/or correction would be greatly appreciated.