Nick Coghlan added the comment:

The sentinel form of next() is nice when there's a natural sentinel value, but 
needing to *create* a sentinel is generally a sign that the out-of-band 
exception is a better fit.

The function could likely do with some refactoring (e.g. breaking out some 
helper functions to make the logic easier to follow), but shifting from 
idiomatic code to non-idiomatic code isn't a good way of tackling that.


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