When using front: to search for particular cards, some words do not show up

first, searching normally I can see afternoon and again both show up.

however, searching with front: only again shows up.

interestingly, adding the asterisks allows afternoon to show up again. but then so does good afternoon, which is not desirable.

truly the most suspicious is that there are no characters around “afternoon,” meaning it should show up with front: without asterisks.

I have updated to 2.1.54 and disabled all addons. the issue persists…

what could be the cause?

I think your intuition about there being characters around afternoon is correct, except that Anki’s editor makes some rendering so you probably just can’t see them. Could you open the HTML editor (</> button) and post the content of that field as HTML? Put it in triple backquotes or it’s going to be interpreted as Markdown, like so

[the content of the field]
<b><span style="font-weight: 400;">afternoon</span></b>

this is quite different from again, who’s html is just again

Well, here you are, there are characters around afternoon. To be clear, what the HTML editor shows you is what is actually stored, and what Anki matches against when you make a query. You may wonder why wouldn’t Anki “just search for the text”, but there are technical difficulties, although I would agree this behavior is a bit counter-intuitive.

Thanks for the explanation