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> It seems you are counting on that fact that "a[b[*]]" is less likely
> to appear in a comment or string than "a[b[x]]".

Not at all.  The probem is that "a[b[x]] = 3" is already a valid Lua
command! With the new syntax, how would the parser distinguish between
that and "a [b[ ... ]b]" ??

> Anyway, if it must be a single character, I vote for '-' over '*'.

Again we have an ambiguity. The sequence  "a[--[" already has a clear
meaning in Lua.

-- Roberto