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Here are some numeric character references outside MathJax (entered as ♯ + ♭ = ♮):

♯ + ♭ = ♮

and inside MathJax ($♯ + ♭ = ♮$):

$♯ + ♭ = ♮$

The latter renders properly in the preview, but is broken once I save. This makes my suggestion for using curly quotes not work.

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    $\begingroup$ You should probably specify that your (bug) is to request that character references work, period. Right now a not-very-helpful fix to your not-quite-completely stated bug could potentially be fixing the preview so that it breaks there too... :) $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Feb 24 '12 at 8:40
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    $\begingroup$ Well, the fact that that the preview and the saved version are inconsistent is the bug. Making character references work everywhere would be a feature-request. :) $\endgroup$ – user856 Feb 24 '12 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, and I am surprised that mathjax does not have $\sharp$. (Edit: wait, it does!) $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Feb 24 '12 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Willie: There was $\sharp$ and $\#$ but the latter stopped working lately. (Edit: Oh, it works. Jerks.) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Feb 24 '12 at 19:43
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You can use MathJax's \unicode extension to get the same effect. E.g.,

$\unicode{x266F} + \unicode{x266D} = \unicode{x266E}$

should get the result you are looking for:

$$\unicode{x266F} + \unicode{x266D} = \unicode{x266E}$$

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