Thanks to Henry H. I finally figured out how to do "view by workplane", but the ctrl-shift-W control also does a "zoom extents", which is a pain with a large drawing when all you want to do is get a close-up plan view of a workplane on a facet of a 3-D object (examples 1 and 2 attached).
(There is also an obscure camera UCS plan view control in the Toolbars|Commands|View|Camera section, which does the same as ctrl-shift-W)
Then after diggin through the manual, I found that if you name a workplane, and control it's properties through the Design Director, it has a "view by workplane" column you can check that DOESN'T do a "zoom extents", but leaves the zoom level alone.
But it sure honks up the camera position (example 3) - bug or is there some setting I'm missing??