I also suggested that in this case it might be possible to write the
application without using recursion at the top level.

I did want to mention that Michael's suggestion (made off-list) that we use
"for-each" rather than recursion has worked very well.  I was able to
eliminate the recursion and make the overall stylesheet even simpler.

And no more saxon:assign instructions, which means that we are
ready to embrace the future with serenity.  (especially saxon 8.5!)

Thanks, Michael