Since I’ve breathed a bit life back into this blog, I was playing around with using Google Fonts, deciding to use the Ubuntu font as an example. It turns out that this was a singularly unfortunate choice for testing!
There is a known issue (without an apparent resolution) which under certain circumstances can cause problems with rendering the apostrophe character. In my case I was seeing small superscript 9 characters instead of apostrophes.
There is an example of the issue appearing in a different context on the Xojo forums.
The easiest solution in my case was simply to use a different font. I wasn’t a big fan of how Ubuntu renders minuscule w anyway.