This appears to be needlessly complex – at the moment I now have 4 or 5 different versions of each contact on the Mac Mini. Thankfully the iPad and iPhone only appear to have a single version each.
I think the issue on the mac is that (stupidly) the Address Book has one locally stored version and one iCloud version – I had meant to figure out how to fix that and then let it drop. I also had the issue that because I was using Entourage any updates to Exchange did not get passed back to local contacts, so the two stores got more and more out of synch. Now I upgraded to Outlook 2011 (or I’m in the process of) and Outlook downloads the contacts from Exchange and then Address Book shows them as well.
I need to figure this out because it’s absurd that in 2013 I have various versions of contacts flying around and I have to even consider downloading all 1500+ to a CSV and clean them up in Excel like I did 18 months ago.
I’ll update this post as I try different approaches to clean up.