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I don't run Kubuntu, but in Ubuntu from System - Preferences - Keyboard -Layouts, you can check to see if the keyboard layout is still the same as it was, when it did work. I expect its the same or very similar in kubuntu. Possibly an update or a minor glitch has changed your layout to another keyboard make and/or model with slightly different key codes. Cheers.
Thanks for the suggestions. I have tried running kskb, which one would think would lead to a solution, but no joy so far. There is also a KDE utility called virtual keyboard that puts a keyboard image on the screen, and clicking on numpad keys shows up on the command line, as it ought to.
You've given me some things to try. If I find out what is going on here, I'll let you all know.