The bolded in the last para about the fewer v less dispute confuses me:
The Cambridge Guide to English Usage notes that the "pressure to substitute fewer for less seems to have developed out of all proportion to the ambiguity it may
providein noun phrases like[:] less promising results". It describes conformance with this pressure as a shibboleth and the choice "between the more formal fewer and the more spontaneous less" as a stylistic choice.
What's the meaning of out of all proportion [ie: wholly disproportionate] to the ambiguity? What ambiguity is there? Why substitute one for the other if it still