I'll admit it. When I first came across regular expressions, they seemed a bit intimidating. But, after spending about three or four minutes reading about them I felt a lot more comfortable. Apparently, Scott Elkin's colleague didn't feel like investing those three or four minutes learning regular expressions. Or looping through the individual characters on the string. Well ... at least this way it's all on one line.
Scott also mentions this is only part of the replacement -- his colleague uses this technique to replace every symbol. Heh.