Our Fair City

Mar 22, 2010

RAY: This was from my family relation series and was sent in by Jane Hinckley.

Anyone who has listened to Car Talk knows that we refer to Cambridge, Massachusetts, the city where both of us were born as what? Our Fair City. It's even part of our snail mail address, and, of course, the home of Car Talk Plaza.

Today's puzzler has to do with a man, who, like us, was born in Cambridge, MA, and his parents were also born in Cambridge, MA like our parents. He lived his entire life here in Cambridge, MA.

So let's review, the man in question was born in Cambridge, MA, just like us. He died in Cambridge, MA, too, just like we're going to do probably. And he may never have left. He's buried here, but here's the interesting part. This fellow was never a citizen of the United States and it's not because he chose not to be. He was never eligible to be a citizen of the United States and the question is, how could that be?
RAY: Here's the answer. He wasn't a citizen because there was no America when he was born in Cambridge. The United States was not a country yet.

TOM: Oh!

RAY: And Massachusetts was not a state. It was indeed a colony of England. So he was a subject of the English Crown. Do we have a winner?

TOM: Of course we have a winner. The winner this week is Mark Grieve from Macomb, Illinois. And for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Mark's going to get a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at cartalk.com, with which he can get a set of Car Talk reusable shopping bags.

RAY: Which are, as we speak, being ridiculed at fine supermarkets everywhere.

TOM: Right. Congratulations, Mark!

Get the Car Talk Newsletter