Part of the answer here is that the symbol in question is not the letter x, but rather the multiplication symbol × - as Jane McGary pointed out to us when this topic came up last year. In some fonts these two characters are sufficiently distinct to tell apart; for instance, here's my letter x, and here's my multiplication sign ×, both in Courier New (and sorry to those of you whose email program does not support these symbols). Note that the letter sits on the line whereas the multiplication symbol is suspended (at least in this font). As for the confusion which might arise, none of us is born knowing the meaning of these names: the etymology of all of them has to be learned. Jim McKenney email@example.com Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where we don't subscribe to the New York ×.