Clues for: Familiar Phrases

Question Answer Value Airdate
Proverbially speaking, it "makes the heart grow fonder" absence 200 February 21, 2020
An org. failing due to bad leadership is said to be a case of one of these cold-blooded vertebrates "rotting from the head down" a fish 400 February 21, 2020
React in an over-the-top manner to a relatively harmless situation & you're said to be "clutching your" these valuables pearls 800 February 21, 2020
That concert was awesome & totally "off the" this, a word preceding gang or reaction chain 1000 February 21, 2020
"Passing" this "test" originated with using it to dissolve substances to see if they were really gold or not the acid test February 21, 2020
Someone angry about a past event might be balancing a "chip" here their shoulder 200 November 6, 2018
Plans may not work out, so "don't" practice this act of poultry accounting don\'t count your chickens before they\'re hatched 400 November 6, 2018
To "throw someone under" this vehicle is to make him a scapegoat the bus 600 November 6, 2018
Trying again after a failure is going "back to" this, a synonym for drafting table or an item on a drafting table a drawing board 800 November 6, 2018
A possible origin for "living" this way is that upper cuts of pork are more a luxury item than the feet high on the hog 1000 November 6, 2018
Take it from me, this duo "Don't make a right" two wrongs 200 November 23, 2016
This beastly phrase of suspicion alludes to a feline's ability to sniff out a rodent that it can't see I smell a rat 400 November 23, 2016
Set Emeril, Wolfgang Puck & Alton Brown all to making vichyssoise & you'll sadly see the truth of this too many cooks spoil the broth 600 November 23, 2016
Found in "Macbeth", "at one" this refers to the action of a bird of prey at one fell swoop 800 November 23, 2016
The placement of men's wigs to block their vision might be the literal origin of this cliche about deception to pull the wool over your eyes 1000 November 23, 2016
To be reprimanded by a superior is to be "called on" this, since the boss' office had that feature on to the carpet 200 April 28, 2016
An ax head coming loose during use is said to have inspired this phrase about the loss of self-control flying off the handle (going off the handle accepted) 600 April 28, 2016
The first written record of "cleanliness is next to godliness" is in a 1778 sermon by this founder of Methodism John Wesley 800 April 28, 2016
This toast began in the British navy when seamen compared the mouth to certain openings in a ship down the hatch 1000 April 28, 2016
Number of the attempt that's the "charm"; the phrase is used as a means of encouragement the third time 200 June 3, 2015
"Pleased as" this refers to a 17th century puppet, not a fruit drink Punch 400 June 3, 2015
You can thank this poet's "Essay on Man" for the optimistic phrase "Hope springs eternal" Alexander Pope 800 June 3, 2015
The economic line "There ain't no such thing as" one of these is also known by the acronym TANSTAAFL a free lunch 1000 June 3, 2015
The title of a 1955 film, it's the inclination to become unfaithful after 84 months of marriage the seven-year itch June 3, 2015
End someone's hopes & you've put the "last" this "in the coffin" nail 200 March 13, 2014
Situation here for Bill Tilden at the the ball is in his court 400 March 13, 2014
A document stating whether a ship carried disease; if not, it got a "clean" one a bill of health 600 March 13, 2014
This "man" is an irrelevant but convenient object to a attack in an argument a straw man 800 March 13, 2014
This 2-word phrase for a radical transformation comes from "The Tempest" sea change 1000 March 13, 2014
To avoid responsibility is to do this pass the buck 200 March 3, 2010
A proverb says, "a new broom" does this sweeps clean 400 March 3, 2010
It's the literal interpretation of a phrase meaning to relax or behave informally let your hair down 600 March 3, 2010
When insulted, you might turn a deaf ear or turn this, as advised in Luke & Matthew the other cheek 800 March 3, 2010
This 3-word phrase means to stretch the limits push the envelope 1000 March 3, 2010
A great fuss about something trivial is "a tempest in" this, like chip's mother a teapot 200 February 4, 2009
If we could find him, a soldier who's gone AWOL could tell us that AWOL stands for this Absent Without Leave 400 February 4, 2009
In a song he wrote during WWII Frank Loesser popularized the phrase, "Praise the lord and pass" this the ammunition 600 February 4, 2009
The future is inevitable, at least according to this phrase translated from the Latin "iacta alea est" the die is cast 1000 February 4, 2009
From "Casey at the Bat", when there's a letdown or disappointment "There is no joy in" this place Mudville February 4, 2009
It's said that this implement "is mightier than the sword" the pen 200 May 29, 2008
It's what you're actually doing if you're just out of school & "pounding the pavement" looking for work 400 May 29, 2008
In "A Psalm of Life", Longfellow tells of leaving these behind "on the sands of time" footprints 600 May 29, 2008
Meaning "in trouble", the expression "in" this presumably refers to the briny liquid it's made in a pickle 800 May 29, 2008
Meaning "a greater return for your investment", it reportedly came from military expenditures in the 1950s more bang for your buck 1000 May 29, 2008
Also a magazine founded in 1923, it "is of the essence" Time 200 December 7, 2006
When you "bite the bullet" you do something unpleasant; when you "bite" this, you're dead the dust 400 December 7, 2006
It's what they say about rain in the fourth month of the year & its effect on growth in the fifth April showers bring May flowers 600 December 7, 2006
It's a writer or musician's last work, or the chant of a certain water bird swan song 800 December 7, 2006
Herbert Spencer coined this 4-word phrase to describe Darwin's theory of natural selection survival of the fittest 1000 December 7, 2006
"Born with" one of these "in one's mouth" is a reference to a high-end christening gift a silver spoon 200 June 28, 2006
(Sarah of the Clue Crew reports from a one-room schoolhouse in Old World Wisconsin.) If you want to make a fresh start of things, you need this 2-word expression, like students not too long ago a clean slate 400 June 28, 2006
The expression "Banned in" this city came from that city's enthusiastic censorship of books in the 1920s Boston 600 June 28, 2006
The area to the side of a stage gives us this 2-word phrase for performing without preparation wing it 800 June 28, 2006
Shakespeare's Cleopatra used this expression for her youth, "When I was green in judgment" salad days 1000 June 28, 2006
"Loose Lips" do this was a WWII catch phrase about defense plant workers watching their tongues sink ships 200 January 16, 2006
2,000 years ago, the Roman Sextus Propertius said "absence" does this makes the heart grow fonder 400 January 16, 2006
In several games of pool, it's unlucky to have your cue ball "behind" it the eight ball 600 January 16, 2006
It completes the old maxim "Speech is silvern..." silence is golden 800 January 16, 2006
Meaning simple & basic, this 4-word phrase was never actually said by Sherlock Holmes in any of the Conan Doyle tales Elementary, my dear Watson 1000 January 16, 2006
In war & football, "The best defense is a good" this offense 200 October 19, 2005
When disappointed, we sometimes say "There's no joy in" this town--just like when Casey struck out Mudville 400 October 19, 2005
With skyrocketing medical costs, remember that this is "cheaper than treatment" & "better than cure" prevention 600 October 19, 2005
Arthur Fletcher coined this "mind"ful United Negro College Fund motto about living up to one's potential "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" 800 October 19, 2005
The phrase "handwriting on the wall" goes back to this book of the Old Testament Daniel October 19, 2005
Get out the umbrella, because "When it rains, it" does this pours 200 February 17, 2004
(Cheryl of the Clue Crew presents the clue, using a small piece of wood, a nail, and a hammer.) Meaning to do or say exactly the right thing is the phrase I'm demonstrating here to hit the nail on the head (or hit the hammer on the head) 400 February 17, 2004
The bottom of the ocean is sometimes referred to as this man's "locker" Davey Jones 600 February 17, 2004
Alluding to a Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, an annoying burden is like having this bird "around one's neck" an albatross 800 February 17, 2004
The phrase "The most unkindest cut of all" comes from this Shakespeare play where it describes a fatal wound <i>Julius Caesar</i> 1000 February 17, 2004
"Don't" do this "to spite your face" cut off your nose 200 January 26, 2004
Make a big deal over something little & you "make a mountain out of" this a molehill 400 January 26, 2004
As it often turns out, "Truth is stranger than" this fiction 600 January 26, 2004
In a bad mood today? I could tell by that "chip on your" this shoulder 800 January 26, 2004
Give up during a fight & you may be forced to "say" or "cry" this relative uncle 1000 January 26, 2004
When you make matters worse, you "add insult to" this injury 200 February 11, 2002
Traditional values in our country are often described as being "American as" this dessert apple pie 400 February 11, 2002
To bring an end to something is to "ring down" this, whether or not you're in the theatre the curtain 600 February 11, 2002
It means to make trivial distinctions, or what overbrushing might do split hairs 800 February 11, 2002
It's what you're actually doing if you're just out of school & "pounding the pavement" trying to find a job 1000 February 11, 2002
Save your tears because "it's no use crying over" this "spilt" beverage milk 200 December 24, 2001
If you're anxious to spend your money your dad might ask if it's "burning a hole" here your pocket 400 December 24, 2001
It's what you're "in" when you're in big trouble (or in a Jacuzzi) hot water 600 December 24, 2001
It's said that this "is mightier than the sword"; our writers would agree the pen 800 December 24, 2001
When faced with a tough decision you may find yourself "between" this "and a hard place" a rock 1000 December 24, 2001
If you have other, more important things to do, you "have other' of these "to fry" fish 100 September 10, 2001
Big throwing don'ts include "the baby out with the bathwater" & "caution to" this the wind 200 September 10, 2001
In "A Psalm of Life, " Longfellow tells of leaving these behind "on the sands of time" footprints 300 September 10, 2001
William Congreve expounded, "heav'n has no rage, like love to hatred turn'd, nor hell a fury like" this a woman scorned 400 September 10, 2001
This phrase meaning "to betray someone" came from slaves sent illegally via the Mississippi to New Orleans to sell them down the river 500 September 10, 2001
In the '60s this phrase for something that reduces anxiety was popularized by Linus Van Pelt security blanket 100 March 5, 2001
Ali Baba spoke these words to get into the cave of the 40 Thieves "Open, Sesame!" 200 March 5, 2001
The melodrama & the sponsors of certain early radio serials earned them this nickname soap operas 300 March 5, 2001
On "Star Trek", the Vulcan salute is accompanied by this 4-word phrase "Live Long and Prosper" 400 March 5, 2001
The Oracle at Delphi told Polycrates to look under every rock to find hidden treasure, hence this phrase to leave no stone unturned March 5, 2001
Edible items you "spill" when you tell a secret the beans 100 July 17, 1998
Beware: someone who offers you this kind of "sandwich" wants to punch you a knuckle sandwich 200 July 17, 1998
"One fell" this refers to the quick, fierce move a hawk makes when seizing its prey swoop 300 July 17, 1998
The phrase "to come on like" these refers to the old-time radio program heard here <i>Gangbusters</i> 400 July 17, 1998
To give someone you dislike the credit he deserves is to "give the devil" this his due 500 July 17, 1998
If someone wants you to hurry, he tells you to "get" this metal out Lead 100 June 30, 1998
When too much attention to detail clouds your judgment, you "can't see the forest for" these The trees 200 June 30, 1998
A skeptic takes things this way; the Latin phrase for it was "cum grano salis" "With a grain of salt" 300 June 30, 1998
When you really botch something up, you "make" this meat & potatoes dish "of it" Hash 400 June 30, 1998
Thomas Gray originated the phrase "Far from" this tumultuous group; Thomas Hardy borrowed it Madding crowd 500 June 30, 1998
It's "The shortest distance between two points" Straight line 100 June 18, 1998
It's where something embarrassing is swept Under the rug/carpet 200 June 18, 1998
Pool table piece you don't want to be "behind" The 8 ball 300 June 18, 1998
Shifting your debts is "Robbing Peter to pay" this saint Paul 400 June 18, 1998
Alexander Pope criticized these who claimed to be authorities with "Fools rush in where angels" do this Fear to tread 500 June 18, 1998
It follows "When in Rome..." "Do as the Romans do" 100 April 23, 1997
Long ago this was "as good as an ell"; now it's "as good as a mile" A miss 200 April 23, 1997
It precedes "And master of none" "A jack of all trades" 300 April 23, 1997
It's another way to "add insult to injury" using a common seasoning "Rub salt in one\'s wound" 400 April 23, 1997
The phrase "Hope springs eternal in the human breast" sprang from his "Essay on Man" Alexander Pope 500 April 23, 1997
You may "put" this "on the line" or "where your mouth is" money 100 February 20, 1997
Those who play cricket know an awkward situation is this kind of "wicket" sticky wicket 200 February 20, 1997
David Copperfield knows to accomplish something that seems impossible is to "pull" this "out of the hat" a rabbit 300 February 20, 1997
Something superior is said to be "head and" these above the rest shoulders 400 February 20, 1997
A bright person knows "never" do this to "my door again" means stay away forever darken 500 February 20, 1997
A task that's nearly impossible is compared to "looking for a needle in" one of these a haystack 100 February 10, 1997
A person who's "easy to read" is described as "an open" this book 200 February 10, 1997
This adjective often precedes "as a hound's tooth" or "as a whistle" clean 300 February 10, 1997
When you're up late studying, you're said to be "burning the midnight" this oil 400 February 10, 1997
When you settle a bill, you "pay" this person, whether or not he's "pied" the piper 500 February 10, 1997
When a situation goes from bad to worse, it's the time "push comes to" this shove 100 November 12, 1996
Go over something with a fine tooth comb & you'll "leave no stone" this way unturned 200 November 12, 1996
Something on good authority is "straight from" this neigh sayer the horse\'s mouth 300 November 12, 1996
Number of the attempt that's "the charm" the third 400 November 12, 1996
The origin of this phrase is unknown, since chickens don't seem to get angry in the rain mad as a wet hen 500 November 12, 1996
To suffer a crushing defeat is "to meet your" this, as Napoleon did June 18, 1815 Waterloo 100 October 9, 1996
The old saying about having this and eating it, too appeared in a 1546 book of proverbs your cake 200 October 9, 1996
When you're really angry or just very noisy, you "raise" this part of a house the roof 300 October 9, 1996
Grease makes a fire blaze up and smoke, so when this "is in the fire" the damage has been done the fat 400 October 9, 1996
Some say the phrase about going "from" this "to post" comes from the old game of court tennis pillar 500 October 9, 1996
If you're out of favor, you're "in" this pet residence the doghouse 100 May 23, 1996
"Your days are" this is derived from the handwriting on the wall interpreted in Daniel 5:26 numbered 200 May 23, 1996
Putting one's affairs in order is called getting these birds "in a row" ducks 300 May 23, 1996
The Romans said "Praemonitus, praemunitus", which is similar to our phrase "Forewarned is" this forearmed 400 May 23, 1996
To lose one's job is to "get" this; workmen picked up their tools in one when they moved on sacked 500 May 23, 1996
Originally, smugglers said, "The coast is" this when there was no threat of interference from coastal guardians clear 100 May 6, 1996
When you're really, really happy you're "on" this number "cloud" 9 200 May 6, 1996
The phrase "No news is" this dates at least as far back as the 1600s good news 300 May 6, 1996
A person who shuts himself away from the outside world is said to live in an "ivory" one a tower 400 May 6, 1996
Students of Latin know that a person who's not welcome is persona non this grata 500 May 6, 1996
When you travel by the most direct route, you're going "as" this bird "flies" as the crow flies 100 December 28, 1995
An archaic word for the jaw gave us the phrase "to lick" these in anticipation the chops 200 December 28, 1995
In the 1920s this "feline sleepwear" term described something first-rate cat\'s pajamas 300 December 28, 1995
This phrase for an easygoing existence stems from a Vaudeville song about a man named O'Reilly the life of Reilly 400 December 28, 1995
Latin for "voice of the people", it refers to popular sentiment <i>vox populi</i> 500 December 28, 1995
The word roger, meaning a rouge, may have led to this term for a pirate flag Jolly Roger 100 December 11, 1995
A person who moves quickly doesn't let this grow under his feet grass 200 December 11, 1995
The term "dressed to" these may be a corruption of "dressed to then eyne", meaning "to the eyes" the nines 300 December 11, 1995
Pride in group endeavors is called this, French for "spirit of the body" esprit de corps 400 December 11, 1995
19th c. poet William Ross Wallace wrote that "the hand that" does this "is the hand that rules the world" the hand that rocks the cradle 500 December 11, 1995
A person with a hidden flaw is said to have feet of this, from a dream image in Daniel 2:33 Clay 100 November 16, 1995
Many aquatic animals swim open-mouthed & appear to drink constantly, hence the phrase "to drink like" this a fish 200 November 16, 1995
The depressing expression "down in" these is probably derived from a Middle Dutch word for haze Dumps 300 November 16, 1995
Akin to "caught in the act", to be caught this way alludes to a murderer smeared with blood Caught red-handed 400 November 16, 1995
Frenchmen once assumed names in the military, hence this phrase, French for "name of war" Nom de guerre 500 November 16, 1995
To clear one's mind is to "blow away" these spider structures cobwebs 100 November 3, 1995
It's what "birds of a feather" do flock together 200 November 3, 1995
An unpolished person who shows promise is often called one of these "in the rough" a diamond 300 November 3, 1995
To do something superfluous is "to carry" these "to Newcastle" coals 400 November 3, 1995
This French phrase meaning "reason for being" has become part of the English language <i>raison d’être</i> 500 November 3, 1995
When you're ad-libbing, you're speaking "off the top of" this body part head 100 May 4, 1995
18th c. statesman Edmund Burke said ungrateful people will do this to "the hand that fed them" bite 200 May 4, 1995
The phrase "cool your heels" goes back to the time when this animal was the major means of transportation horse 300 May 4, 1995
To be "pleased as" this refers to the puppet, not the beverage Punch 400 May 4, 1995
M.O. is an abbreviation for this Latin phrase that means "manner of working" modus operandi 500 May 4, 1995
Paying excessively is said to be "paying through" this facial organ nose 100 May 10, 1993
You're considered crazy if you have these mammals "in your belfry" bats 200 May 10, 1993
Something that arrives suddenly & unexpectedly is said to come from "out of" this color the blue 300 May 10, 1993
"Brevity is the soul of" this wit 400 May 10, 1993
The 3 main components of a gun gave rise to this phrase that means "the whole works" lock, stock & barrel 500 May 10, 1993
It often precedes "aleck" & "money" smart 100 February 11, 1993
Any musician can fell you that "He who pays" this person "calls the tune" the piper 200 February 11, 1993
This "lupine" phrase means to howl a false alarm cry wolf 300 February 11, 1993
Scotch whisky that was hidden in the Highlands was once called this kind of "dew" mountain dew 400 February 11, 1993
Some folks are as nervous as one of these; it's also the title of a Tennessee Williams play a cat on a hot tin roof 500 February 11, 1993
Someone who is just plain crazy is said to be "off" this piece of furniture his rocker 100 May 11, 1992
I Corinthians 15:52 gave us the phrase "In the twinkling of" one of these an eye 200 May 11, 1992
A medieval punishment gave rise to the phrase "tarred and" this feathered 300 May 11, 1992
Something that provokes anger is said to "make this" fluid "boil" your blood 400 May 11, 1992
In times of hardship you economize by "tightening" this accessory your belt 500 May 11, 1992
Knitted underwear that runs from your waist to your ankles long johns 100 June 20, 1990
Mr. Bench when he hits his mark, or anyone who is present when needed Johnny on the spot 200 June 20, 1990
In a 1712 satire, Dr. John Arbuthnot used this nickname for an Englishman John Bull 300 June 20, 1990
In Old English law this name was used to disguise the identity of the plaintiff in an eviction case John Doe 400 June 20, 1990
It can refer to a legendary black man of exceptional strength or your signature John Henry 500 June 20, 1990
In current scientific parlance this expression would be "warm the ventricles of your heart" cockles 100 July 19, 1989
It was comedian Fred Allen, not the Indians, who 1st concluded the low man on this was least significant the totem pole 200 July 19, 1989
Dove hunters tying live birds to backless chairs for lures gave us this expression a stool pigeon 300 July 19, 1989
This phrase doesn't refer to satan but to a plank on a ship from which you could easily fall to pay the devil 400 July 19, 1989
The original one was a youth given all punishment due England's crown prince a whipping boy July 19, 1989
This phrase that means to feel blue comes from "domp", Dutch for mental haze or dullness down in the dumps 100 January 24, 1989
It means "in excellent condition" & is probably from Old English "fetel", a girdle worn by warriors in fine fettle 200 January 24, 1989
Name phrase that expresses an equal exchange as between Bochco & Spielberg for example even Steven 300 January 24, 1989
A pioneer phrase meaning very fast, it came from the speed with which their log cabins burned like a house on fire 400 January 24, 1989
Noblemen riding steeds taller than the average mounts gave us this phrase on their high horse 500 January 24, 1989
Trying to find similarities between New York & L.A. is like comparing these apples & oranges 100 November 11, 1988
The biblical phrase "give up the ghost" means this die 200 November 11, 1988
"He has more money than you can" do this "at" shake a stick (or poke a stick) 300 November 11, 1988
From the tradition of men fighting topless came this saying urging calm keep your shirt on 400 November 11, 1988
Originally a caption in silent Westerns, it returned your attention to the main house meanwhile, back at the ranch 500 November 11, 1988
Some 400 years ago, English jurist Sir Edward Coke stated, "A man's house is..." this his castle 100 June 29, 1988
Someone setting up a ruse might throw this colorful fish at you red herring 200 June 29, 1988
To the French, it's "a white paper"; to us, it's a white credit card that's merged with Diners Club carte blanche 300 June 29, 1988
The holes punched in free tickets reminded people of bullet holes she fired into small cards Annie Oakley 400 June 29, 1988
In some versions of rotation pool, a player with the cue ball in this position faces a tough shot behind the 8 ball 500 June 29, 1988
"All work & no play makes" him "a dull boy" & Jill's probably not a lot of fun either Jack 100 February 24, 1987
"If you want a thing done well..." this person should do it yourself 200 February 24, 1987
This "makes the heart grow fonder", though a dozen roses wouldn't hurt absence 300 February 24, 1987
A Cornish prayer asked God to "deliver us from goulies & ghosties...& things that" do this go bump in the night 400 February 24, 1987
"Brevity is the soul of..." this wit 500 February 24, 1987
Actors' good luck phrase which might come from fact that Sarah Bernhardt had only 1 "gam" break a leg 100 September 19, 1985
"Getting up on the wrong side" reflects belief that all good forces were on this side of the body right 200 September 19, 1985
Meaning "innocent as a babe", it comes from part of newborn animals that takes longest to dry wet behind the ears 300 September 19, 1985
This "all inclusive" phrase comes from Old English "bottel", meaning bundle, & kit, a soldier's bag kit & kaboodle 400 September 19, 1985
Referring to one who has a brief moment of glory, it comes from the misfire of a musket flash in the pan September 19, 1985