Update 5:00 PM EDT: Google employee Vanessagene notes in the forum: “Update: We have a handle on the issue now. Edits made from this point forward should not experience the phone number problem. As for the people that have already been affected, we’re still working on a fix for those accounts. We’ll keep you guys posted.”
Update 4:00: Joy Hawkins has reported in the forums that if you remove the phone number from the phone number field and add it back in and save the record, the display of the phone number will return to normal. I had to do this two times (where is that rubber chicken when I need it) for it to work. But it did work!
APB (for those of you that don’t watch TV detective shows that means all points bulletin):
Any Places edit seems to cause the smooshed phone number bug in Google Places. I repeat, the Places Dashboard is armed and dangerous. Do not approach, do not interact, immediately report any sitings of the smooshing bug directly to the forum.
In an effort to ascertain the full nature of the problem, I once again threw my brother’s Place Page listing under the bus. I changed a few words in the description field and the newly identified smooshing bug appeared immediately on the listing’s Places page and in the 7-Pack results, Maps, Places and Mobile search results.
I would not touch your Places listing until this issue is resolved!