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>  Well, (ab)* isn't so complex, both to implement (I think) or 
> conceptually (that's not (?<=\w{5})...).

Go on then :)

(i.e. let's see an implementation and see how much bigger it gets. The
difference quoted in the Lua docs between the Lua regexps and PCRE seems
quite large, and there's presumably a reason for that)

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