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> What is "Lua idiom" -- using the regular string library, not lpeg or any
> of the RE add-ons -- when doing string matching with alternative
> strings in it. For example, something like this:
>  "eat (green|yellow)? (bananas|apples) daily"
   Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure this
isn't possible with the standard string library. The ?, *, and -
operators work for individual characters or character classes, but not
sequences of characters.

You could run over a list of patterns with the individual keywords
filled in (using format or gsub), though that would involve a test for
each permutation of keywords. I'd just use LPEG, but that may not be
an option in your case.