Well, I made the attempt yesterday, and I only succeeded at scratching the paint.Before I go the torch route, I'll try working it cold.
Now, I'm thinking about sourcing another frame. Jwnovaman offered one back in the spring. Even if it's still available, shipping will likely be a deal-buster. I'll get the swingarm off and weight the frame to calculate the actual cost.
Before finding a replacement, I really should resolve the rear suspension question. Extended shocks for a CX frame would probably be cheaper and easier to source than the appropriate mono-shock.
If I can rent a torch kit, maybe "I'll give it a shot that way before I abandon the frame I have. If that doesn't work, I'll use it for experimenting before it gets recycled.
P.S. My 1-1/2 year old is sitting on my lap. She points at my Red Stig avatar and says "Dada!"