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problems with _apt user privileges in upgrading from Jessie to Stretch [solved?]

Posting here in case this might  help others who may be encountering the same problem. 

I  really appreciate the enhanced security provided for apt  in the new release. But  one of the changes caused me a small headache in upgrading.
Following the upgrade,  running `apt get update'    resulted in this warning:

Reading package lists... Done
W: Download is performed unsandboxed as root as file '/var/lib/apt/lists/partial/deb.debian.org_debian_dists_stretch_InRelease' couldn't be accessed by user '_apt'. - pkgAcquire::Run (13: Permission denied)

which meant,  I suppose, that I wasn't  getting all the benefits of the new regime.  After a bit of reading and a lot of trial and error I was able, I think, to resolve the issue by manually changing the owner attribute of  the directory /var/lib/apt/lists/:

     chown -R _apt.root   lists

(executed in /var/lib/apt/ )

It doesn't seem to be enough to have /var/lib/apt/lists  set to rwxr_xr_x  if it's owned by root.

If anyone has a different or better solution, I'd be curious to hear about it,