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As my AM search showed that all the old, error generating pages were gone, I pulled the meta, in the hopes that the next googlebot sweep would get the new pages.
However, since Alltheweb/FAST has them too, I guess maybe I'm chasing a monster that I don't wanna catch (lotsa hoops to deindex one page at a time), and will have to rely on a dynamic meta solution like you propose.
I shoulda considered these crawlers more ahead of time, I guess... hindsite is 20/20, they say.