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S: Excuse me, Colonel, but did you just claim that

among the methods of neutering a lioness, disguising oneself with the hairs of the male will obviously keep its dominant position?

P: I do little justice to your sensory acuity, dear Reverend, but what I commented upon was actually just that the

geographic features around Augusta don't have any crazy features, as they don't actually depart from the horizontal at all.


Can you deduce, from the heavily paraphrased discussion above:

  1. who were the two persons? (Only one of them is fictional)
  2. what exactly was said?

Time for daily hints, since this puzzle survived for the initial attacks:

Hint 1 (2018-01-05)

You probably remember the weather forecast mentioned in the title. More specifically, you probably misremember it: nothing actually falls. Also, neither of the lines spoken here is the weather forecast itself.

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The weather forecast must be that

the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain (as per the question title, of course; as the OP points out, it's "stays" and not "falls")

and it would seem that

the Reverend William Spooner said that "the reign in spaying stays plainly in the mane" (I initially favoured a different word order but now think this one is better, though neither seems quite grammatical to me)

while

Colonel Hugh Pickering said that "terrain in Maine stays sanely in the plane". I'm not sure, though, why he is shuffling words around Spooner-fashion; and we seem to have lost a P somewhere in the shuffling...

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  • $\begingroup$ I see you beat me to it again :-) I realised who P was some time ago, but only just had an aha moment for S. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jan 4 '18 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't look like you've got any more of it than I already had :-). I don't think I buy the "Augusta, Spain" idea; those places both have names that aren't just "Augusta". (I did look for other Augustas, but didn't find anything more plausible than the obvious US one.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 4 '18 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor (Gareth gets an automatic notification since it’s his answer, right?): I, too, was a little surprised during the routine fact checking round, when I looked up the actual words of the quote. $\endgroup$ – Bass Jan 4 '18 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Bass You mean "in" rather than "on"? (Yeah, I had it wrong in my memory too.) Or some other surprise? $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 4 '18 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ (and yes, I get a notification without an @ because it's my answer.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jan 4 '18 at 16:07
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The two people are

Colonel Pickering (from Pygmalion / My Fair Lady) and Reverend Spooner (of spoonerism fame).

And the paraphrased sentences surely have something to do with

the famous quote "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane" from the same work in which Pickering appears.

More specifically ...

  1. among the methods of neutering a lioness, disguising oneself with the hairs of the male will obviously keep its dominant position?

    This equates to "the reign in spaying falls plainly on the mane". In case that needs explanation: "neutering" = spaying, "hairs of the male" = mane, "obviously" = plainly, "dominant position" = reign.

  2. geographic features around Augusta don't have any crazy features, as they don't actually depart from the horizontal at all.

    This presumably is the original quote, "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane", though I'm not sure of all the details. Perhaps "Augusta" is one of these, and presumably "the horizontal" equates to plane?

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