Davorg is right above!, but i should have explained my intentions with the data set.
In @d, I want to pad items that are too short with spaces and crudely truncate items that are too long, and end up with a fixed width record.
the lc(format) was the only way i could think of to turn all the A's to a's to preserve the spacing
I just felt there must be a clearer way, looking into sprintf at the moment
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