7stud: Thanks for your (comforting :BG) explanation
Brian: Thanks for your expanded explanation

While I'm still playing with delegation,  I've taken "ownership" of a
couple of the ideas previously offered, most notably "sort_by" and:
class Meta < Array
  def <=>(other)
    self[1] <=> other[1]
  end
end

a = []
[ [:A,12], [:B,30], [:C,4]  ]. each { |element| a <<
Meta.new(element) }
p a.sort

I'm eternally grateful for this website.  I'm a retired programmer
relatively new to Ruby and Rails.  I'd quit programming except for the
generosity of members of this NG.

Best wishes,
Richard