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> I've already learned something new from reading through Roberto's - in the
> middle of a pairs()/next() loop, it is no problem to change the *current*
> key in the table (previously I had believed that tables should not be
> modified at all when traversing them). Setting a different key may cause the
> loop to terminate early if you are setting the value to nil, or trigger a
> rehash if it is not. But setting the current key to something else,
> including nil, should always be fine. Is that right?

The explanation for next mentions this:

  The behavior of next is undefined if, during the traversal, you assign
  any value to a non-existent field in the table. You may however modify
  existing fields. In particular, you may clear existing fields.