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Custom object field considered "invalid" in Professional Edition

A customer downloaded my app from the Appexchange and got an error message from an S-Control saying that a query requested an "invalid field" from one of the custom objects. We verified that the field exists, so we started to see if field level security was hiding the field. However, the customer installed the app under Professional Edition, where she does not have field level security. Now I'm wondering how this custom field that is visible in the Salesforce user interface is "invalid" from the API.
I'd appreciate any thoughts or ideas. Thanks!
the Page layout controls API visibility for Prof Edition. (i.e. if its not on the page, it won't be accessible via the API)
Thanks, Simon. You nailed it!