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Close But No Tomato

Lucy, a middle-school student in San Diego, California, is puzzled by a phrase her mother uses when something is not quite up to snuff or falls short of the mark: close, but no tomato. It appears to be a variant of close, but no cigar, a phrase...

Pez Name Origins

When an Austrian candy maker needed a name for his new line of mints, he took the first, middle, and last letters of the German word pfefferminz, or “peppermint,” to form the brand name PEZ. He later marketed the candies as an...

Close, But No Cigar

The saying “close but no cigar” comes from the famous carnival game wherein a bold fellow tries to swing a sledgehammer hard enough to make a bell ring. The winner of the game, which was popular around 1900, would win a cigar. The game...

Herfing

Smoking cigars is sometimes known as herfing, and a herf is a lively gathering of like-minded puffers. This is part of a complete episode.