A puzzlement has come up in a recent daily crossword puzzle. What is the reason for the — mark, and what is its meaning, and what is the reason for its use?

' Evelyn M., Rogue River





Perhaps we might say that you?re seeing things, Evelyn, because we'd rather not admit an error. But admitting fault is part of what we do, so here goes.

We buy the crossword from a syndicate, and the people who build it use a font (typestyle) in their computer program that we don't have or is slightly different from the version we have, and that means sometimes our computers don't recognize every single character used in the crossword clues.

The examples you provided happened with some apostrophes ' and only apostrophes. Why it happens with some apostrophes and not others, we haven't the foggiest. Some days there are none, others one or two pop up.

Regardless, fixing them is one of the numerous big and tiny tasks we must do in putting out a newspaper. Unfortunately, sometimes those ?'s give us the slip.

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to Since You Asked: Misprinted crossword clue leaves her puzzled"youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.