If my over-use of str2num has in any way caused offense, I hereby beg leave to apologize.
My hat's off to you for such a solution. I'm baffled as to how to decode it (pun intended). I know that there has been a lot of furor over the use of regexp and other string-based functions, conversions, etc. to lower solution sizes for problems in general, but this problem is string-based, so I see no problem in solving it via arcane string methods.
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