Here's the conversation I had with the system:
$ grep -c make gnuchess-5.06.tar
$ grep -c ma?ke gnuchess-5.06.tar
$ grep -c m(a|)ke gnuchess-5.06.tar
bash: syntax error near unexpected token `('
In English: the system found 175 instances of the string 'make', but a couple of wildcard searches, which should have returned a value of 175 or higher, returned 0 and a syntax error. I searched through man grep to see if there were any details on what metacharacters it supports, but found nothing.
Perl is the tool I want for powerful string searches. I need to install the perl documentation package on my system. I have never installed a package before. So, I'll be learning a little something about that.
I am through the looking glass.