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Eventually there will be documentation here about the several attempts to get Opera, Gecko and WebKit to all calculate the baseline at the right place. Most of them were much more elegant than what I ended up with, in particular not requiring an extra
appended to the
Unfortunately the only one that worked in all browsers is what I ended up with, and some of simplest solutions didn't work in any of the browsers.
After finding the solution that worked in all 3 browsers, it turned out I got IE8 support for free, but of course it didn't work in IE7, not to mention IE6. I plan on trying
expression() to correct that, which I will also document here.
Note: one of the things that should work according to spec is
overflow: hidden (or any value other than
visible) on the numerator, which works in every browser except Safari/Webkit (starting in 2013, it even works in Chrome), due to this long-standing Webkit bug: https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=36084