[Ads-l] Puzzles from today's NYTimes: rapacious & endemically; also, skitching

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Thu Jan 14 23:52:57 UTC 2016

Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, for example, has
been widely accused of stoking anti-immigrant passions by proposing a *wall*
to keep out what he described as *rapacious *Mexicans, and a moratorium on
travel to the United States by all Muslims from abroad because they might
include terrorists.

            “Data Link Immigrants to Low Rates of Crime.”  NY Times,
January 14, 2016, section A, p. 10

I have been trying to stay ignorant of Trump and his flatulence, but
haven't managed total ignorance.  I'm supposing that this sentence is
alluding to his remark characterizing immigrants from Mexico as rapists,
and so am also supposing that the writer of this sentence takes "rapacious"
to mean "one who rapes".  I dare say Trump has also characterized Mexicans
as "aggressively greedy" (quoting the OED's definition of "rapacious"), so
the charitable can maybe find a justification for the word-choice in that.

Fred Trump owned apartment buildings in the part of Brooklyn where I lived
for many years, and I would from time to time see him making a house-call.
Was he a Nazi?  I don't know whether he was or not.  He did come from
Germany, so there's that, and according to the NYTimes obituary, he used to
pass himself off as a Swede.  It would certainly explain his son.  I wonder.

Andrew Heyward, a former president of CBS News who is now an adviser to
media companies, said in an interview that Al Jazeera America had faced an
uphill battle from the beginning.  Cable news “is a very well-served
market, not to say saturated, and you have three powerful, well-established
players,” he said, referring to Fox News, MSNBC and CNN. “*Endemically*,
it’s not quite clear that the world was waiting for a new 24-hour cable
channel in the U.S., and cable operators certainly weren’t waiting for it,”
he said, describing the limited distribution the channel received.

            “Al Jazeera Will Shut Its Network in the U.S.”  NY Times,
January 14, 2016, section B, p. 1f.

The OED shows 3 occurrences of  "endemically", as of 1891, but none
applicable here.  What word could he have been groping for?

An investigation revealed Mr. Oates had been hanging on the passenger side
of a Mack truck as it traveled west, before losing his balance and slipping
underneath the rear passenger wheels. He was pronounced dead at Bellevue
Hospital Center. State law prohibits what Mr. Oates was doing. The driver
was not charged.

Hitching a ride on a vehicle, known as “*skitching*” in the skateboarding
community, is a practice that is as well-known as it is risky, said Matt
Willet, 28, who manages SHUT Skateboards on the Lower East Side. “There is
a certain rush you get from holding onto a car,” he said. “I don’t think
it’s ever going to stop — but it should.”

            “A Passion Turns Fatal for a Former Chef”  NY Times, January
14, 2016, section A, p. 23.

I don't hang with skateboarders; no doubt this word is quite familiar to
those who do.  Not in the OED.


George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998..

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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