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re:  What about users who
    have implemented their own complex DEFINE-SETF-METHODs?  Will they need
    to change these if they wish their generalized variables to be
    consistent with the language-defined ones?  Or does this not affect the
    return values from a SETF method?

Well, I won't say that a programmer who uses DEFINE-SETF-METHOD can't
shaft himself this way [by definition, DEFINE-SETF-METHOD is for the
"not easy" case].  However, this proposal seems more directed towards
stopping the premature optimization where "evaluating a subform" and 
"doing the access" are falsly combined into one step.  [The original
temptation to do so was when the sub-form was a symbol(?)]  I rather
hope, as you suggest, that this proposal affects the return value
of a SETF method only to the degree that the related accessing and 
storing forms don't make the premature optimization.

-- JonL --