Strange problem? Cluster lights dead but hazard lights ON instead? -02 Taurus

I have a strange problem with my wife's 2002 Taurus with "analog" cluster. When the parking/head lights are activated, the instrument
cluster lights do not come on. Instead, the 2 hazard/signal dash lights come on (and do not blink.) The radio lights work and are still dimmed by the dimmer control. The hazard lights are also still controlled by the dimmer. The hazard system works, the headlight switch light works, the dome light works, and all the "warning" type lights are working. All else is working including the turn signals.
This seemed like a fuse to me but all possible fuses check ok. At least all that are described with terms that sound relevant to me. (Any tips on which fuse these are truly controlled by?)
I remember one of my old cars would turn some warning lamps on when a different fuse blew out or something. Kind of like a "heads up" that something's wrong. Is that why the hazard lights are coming on instead of the cluster lights?
None of the instrument cluster area is lighting (other than the hazards.) Tach, shift indicator, gas, temp, and speedometer are all dark and were all working previously. I don't think they would all use the same lamp?
Any hints or help would be greatly appreciated!
Thanx John
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