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I think this leaves unanswered Justin's original question, which boils
down (I believe) to: why is the height of textstyle sum zero and depth
large, rather than height large and depth zero?  (The third
possibility, height = 1/2 total + math axis, depth = 1/2 total - math
axis, might have been rejected by Knuth in order to avoid building
into cmex a dependency on the cmsy value of math axis. But I am not
sure there is a great deal of value in this, since extension and
symbol fonts probably need to be design-compatible in other respects,
e.g. style of braces).

Michael Downes                              mjd@math.ams.org (Internet)

Yes my question is still unanswered. I thought there were some TeXperts on
this list ?

My questions are: Why are the bigoperators in cmex set under the baseline?
Would things still work the same if they were set over the baseline?

I think i know why delimiters are set under the base line, but I would
like to know why bigops are set under the baseline.