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> However, the Lua parser takes the preceding "-" and does not
> pass it to the numeric conversion routine.
> Instead, it passes everything AFTER the "-" and then does the
> unary minus as defined for the default arithmetic type.

Most languages do this. If you include the "-" as part of the number
you will need some trick to parse "x-1", as it would read as a variable
("x") followed by a constant ("-1"), with no operation.

-- Roberto