Answers and explanations
A. Houston: This is a (mis)quotation from the Apollo 13 space mission. B. Bermuda: This refers to the area in the North Atlantic Ocean where many aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared – according to urban legend and Barry Manilow. C. Vegas: Nobody wants their wild behaviour on vacation to become known back home. The phrase “What happens here, stays here” was invented for a marketing campaign by the city of Las Vegas itself. D. Kansas: This is from the film The Wizard of Oz. It’s said by Dorothy to her little dog, Toto, when they are transported to the Land of Oz by a tornado. E. China: A similar phrase is “not for all the money in the world”. F. Dunkirk: This is a reference to the evacuation of English soldiers from Dunkirk in 1940 by a flotilla of hundreds of tiny civilian boats. G. Hollywood: Clever accounting methods allow movies to take in a lot of money at the box office, but to make a loss on paper. H. Missouri: Nobody really knows why people from Missouri are supposed to be so sceptical, but it is known as the “Show me” state. I. Rome: This idiom is well known in many other languages, including, of course, in German. J. Greek: Medieval scribes usually copied texts in Latin. If they were given a text in Greek, they still had to copy it, even though it made no sense to them – it was “all Greek”. K. Russian: Many languages use this phrase for the dangerous game of spinning a gun cylinder loaded with a single bullet and then pointing the gun at your own head before pulling the trigger – with a one-in-six chance of killing yourself. The origins of the game are unclear, but it may have been invented by officers in the tsar’s army. L. Dutch: This phrase about the effects of alcohol is thought to date back to the 17th century, when English soldiers drank Dutch gin before battle.