Whoa, 3 very different answers there, thanks people.
@Anthony I was hoping there was an SPL -based solution after seeing your pastebin-housed SPL experiment a few weeks ago.
The initial target block of code you set works fine and seems to handle empty values as expected.
As I have a series of operations to do, that target code will allow me to quickly extract the initial values from a large csv file, to create the smaller one.
I might as well explain the whole thing.
1 I wget a largish csv file nightly ( ~4k rows) and cache it.
2 I extract only those rows of interest to me, around 100 rows.
3 Some of those text fields will then be checked for "transformations" ie turning email into <a></a> links etc, squirt it into a template.
4 The result is then duly cached for 24 hrs.
So you see, between steps 2 and 3 it'll make much more sense for me, or anyone else using the data to be able to reference the array-elements by name.