jay.tell, sorry, I never did find a solution, so just chose to leave as is. Very frustrating.
Completely off topic, but I’ve just come across another bug that I don’t quite fully understand too – where a repeater field ends up populating other similar repeater fields on the page with the same value, and cannot be deleted. I mention only to say that ACF “just works” 99% of the time, but damn it’s frustrating as heck when it doesn’t.
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