shhhhh...trying to contain my excitement!
i don't want to say it very loudly, but it appears i have success, thanks to you, stephen! (yes, i'm thinking that speaking too loudly might wake up the beast that might still be hiding somewhere--it's just the way things often go--so one hates to get overly excited prematurely!)
i've solved several puzzles, and see no signs of the dreaded blue-colored, double-underlined words.
i disabled all plug-ins/add-ons, as you suggested, so it seems you were correct--one of them is the culprit. no one else thought to suggest that--i'm highly appreciative.
a few more questions:
1. as i add them back, one at a time, do i need to restart my computer each time?
2. how does malware get attached to an add-on? is it there when i add it, or does it 'magically' attach itself to an existing add-on? is it attached to that add-on forever?
3. why were the links so prevalent on this particular site?