I am interested in the use of say within what you describe as a Perl 4th errata construct. From recent discussions on perlmonks Unexpected behavior of function 'say' we have seen that early say was implemented as a method in IO::File through IO::Handle. These modules were introduced to core in Perl5.3.7.
I am fairly sure I have not seen say used within the Perl4 text I have read. Which text is your example extracted from? And, could the use of say, and/or the implementation of $& be having any affect, aside from backtracking optimisations, on the output?
oh, errata as in edition, not version
apologies, please reap...