Inside the Handy plant, company president Carol A. Haltaman briskly led me through the processing steps: Live crabs are placed on a scale with a computerized scanner that measures and sorts them according to size, from the smallest (mediums, which are 3.5 to 4 inches across the back) to the largest (whales, 5.5 inches or more). In between are hotels (4 to 4.5 inches), primes (4.5 to 5 inches), and jumbos (5 to 5.5 inches). There's no rhyme or reason to the names, according to Jack Paul, director of the Governor J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum. "Americans don't like small stuff," he said, "and the names reflect that." The opposite holds true, however, among crab connoisseurs, who agree that jumbos taste tougher. (Crabs under 3.5 inches cannot be legally harvested.) Crabs being shipped live are packed by size into cardboard cartons lined with paper toweling (a few small-scale processors still prefer the traditional straw to insulate and stabilize the crabs) and are then loaded into larger cases bound for Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.