Thank you for your quick reply. had to go out of town for a few days and just got home and voila my MD is working! I don't know why - except perhaps it was taking a very long time to get itself together. I can still post config info if you like, but it's pretty vanilla from a couple of years ago - nvidia, etc, and I suspect it won't be of much help.
Also, thank you for the /etc/pluto.conf hint. I hit it with nano and I assumed that the setting to fix was changing DesktopActivated =1 to = 0. I did that and rebooted, but it didn't seem to have any effect. The core still booted into the KDE login and then went to the KDE desktop. I have tried searching the forums and wiki, but I haven't been able to choose the correct search terms to narrow the results.
Pointers welcome and thanks again,