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> 	It's unfortunate that 'return' has to be the last statement in a
> function, [...]

It doesn't have to. For syntactical reasons, 'return' must be the last 
statement in a block, not in a function. The reason for this is that, as 
Lua does not use semicolons to separate statements, a fragment like 


would be interpreted as

  return print("ok")

It is right to use a 'return' just before an 'end', 'else' or 'until'.
Usually these are the places where you want to use a return. Otherwise,
you can create a block just for this:

  do return end

-- Roberto