Well, it's fixed. $110 for the part at Ford (after pleading for, and receiving a discount!) - not available in the aftermarket that I could find. Part# is YF1Z-7E395-BA.
Can't believe I was able to reach in under the dash with my big clumsy hands, but somehow I managed it, and I hope the following can help others so afficted - I mean, if I can do it without any expert help............
If you want to give it a shot, it isn't really hard at all. Disconnect the battery. You only need to remove the lower panel below the steering wheel and you'll see the setup above the steering column.
The cable un-snaps from the under-dash, column shift lever with hand pressure. The cable housing retaining clip is tough to see and release with a screw driver, but it eventually pops right off. If you break it, no sweat - the new cable has the new one built-in.
On the engine side, unbolt the cable attachment/adjustment nut (12mm socket) on the trans shift lever, unclip the cable housing retainer - similar to the inside retainer clip. This retainer, unlike the inside one, has to be carefully preserved, removed and retained - it will re-install on the new cable. It's colored white, while everything else is black. The whole cable assembly easily slides out through the inside, under the dash. Route the new cable in and re-attach the housing clips. The cable end snaps back on to the column shifter by hand and the other end re-attaches with the nut - I found it best to adjust with the trans in neutral and have a helper hold the shifter at the neutral position. Adjusting it in Park wasn't so good because there's some slop in the column linkage and it just wouldn't line up right.
I'm back in business!