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> seems like most if not all calls for core changes in
> this area just want the parser to add yet more sugar.

Along this line, I've been working on a simple add-on core module that
introduces token filters, which give you the opportunity to see the raw
tokens coming from the lexer before they go to the parser and you can
alter them. Perfect for adding sugar. The filters are written in Lua, of
course, and I've found that coroutines are a good tool for that.

This module is not ready yet but will probably be by the time 5.1 alpha is
out (don't ask when that'll be :-).