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  • Wall Street Crash: The Wall Street Crash, or Black Thursday, refers to 24 October 1929, the day when the New York Stock Exchange crashed, leading eventually to the Great Depression. The crash followed a speculative boom that had taken hold in the late 1920s, and which had led millions of Americans to invest heavily in the stock market
  • well-straight → looks like a calque of a Romance language; cf. Greek orthodox
  • straight as a wall: plumb, i.e., "straight (down) as a well (shaft)". Cf. Eve and Adam's. Possibly a fall down a well-straight, i.e., without any sort of swerve, implies that Finnegan (who is falling) has no free will, according to Epicurean doctrine
  • Humpty Dumpty: (nursery rhyme): "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall..."
  • strait: difficulty, crisis; narrow sea-passage
  • Walkin Street: a street in Boston; cf. the first line of the ballad Finnegan's Wake: "Tim Finnegan lived in Walkin Street..."