in reply to (Ovid) RE: From one beginner to others . . .
in thread From one beginner to others . . .

Looks as if those forced line-breaks at 80 chars in the original post weren't such a good idea after all. Sorry.:(

The question about caching is a good one. I can't say for certain that caching didn't play a part in the performance boost (or in that case I guess I should say a perceived performance boost).

I later re-created the business end of the routine on another computer and timed both approaches. The results were similar. Haven't yet benchmarked it. I'm still, argh, a bit hazy on exactly how to use Benchmark. But never mind "hazy"--I will get make my way through the haze and try it. (To date the two approaches have been timed using only the 4nt command processor's own timer function--far from exact, to be sure.)

One noticeable difference between the regular expression I used and the one you used in your example here: I had only one set of parens in it. I don't know if this is likely to make a big difference in performance.

Thanks for the feedback, folks.