the programmer seems to think there should be a more efficient way to detect matches.
Most likely, this is true.
Most likely, this does not matter at all.
Unless there are cases which the code does not handle correctly, or if the code's efficiency is a real (measurable) problem, notions like "it can be done better" should be filed away for the sequel. Your goal is to finish and ship the game, not to rewrite pieces of code until the end of time.
As is often the case, perfect is the enemy of good [enough].
EDIT: If there are real problems (measurable or use cases where it fails), posting details on those specific areas would be required for further feedback.
EDIT 2: Ninja skills are definitely improving today.