I agree but that was the best I could muddle through to. It's been six months or so since I did that. I was trying to have the fewest rules I could manage. It was a trial and error process with a httpd restart each time I made a change.
As I recall the only way I got figure out how to make it work was to have those intermediate targets like the fake view "a".
Have you got any links to better documentation about how the rewrite works or how the wildcards work? Perhaps you could describe how you did it on e-conomics site.