Quiz about Its All Greek to Me
Quiz about Its All Greek to Me

It's All Greek to Me! Trivia Quiz


My boss has a major problem at work and needs me to come in and sort it out. What is in store for me? A trip around the world in idiomatic terms it seems.

A multiple-choice quiz by Snowman. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
Snowman
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
313,761
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
2784
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 104 (8/10), Guest 167 (5/10), Guest 78 (10/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. As I come off the phone to my boss, I swear volubly. It's my day off, or was supposed to be. Suddenly, I remember that my mother-in-law is in the room. What should I say to excuse my vulgarity? Hint

Pardon my Polish
Pardon my Egyptian
Pardon my Dutch
Pardon my French

2. I'm not really dressed the part for work, as I was preparing for a barbecue at lunchtime. There's no time for proper grooming so I get my least creased suit out of the wardrobe and have a quick "pommy shower" before leaving the house. What have I just done? Hint

Turned my underpants inside out
Dunked my head into a bowl of soapy water
Used deodorant under the clothes I am wearing
Doused my feet in talcum powder

3. I get to the factory and my boss briefs me on what the problem is. Apparently it involves the workers on the production line for one of our best-selling products. In the African market it is known as an "American sock" whereas the English call it a "French letter". What is it? Hint

A condom
Boxing glove
A baseball bat
A jockstrap

4. My boss is not the most eloquent of people and I must admit the first explanation of the problem left me completely confused. In what way could you describe his incomprehensible speech? Hint

Triple Turkish
Double Dutch
Double Danish
Quadruple Qatari

5. The boss explains a little more clearly second time around. His first attempt was clouded by euphemisms due to his concerns about snoopers discovering vital industrial secrets. Because of this paranoia he has set up several barriers in our information systems so that these secrets cannot be seen by the wrong eyes. What are these barriers sometimes known as? Hint

French fences
Persian ceilings
Belgian barriers
Chinese walls

6. Apparently the big issue is the iniquitous treatment of different workers in the factory. One set of workers are complaining about the practices that allow other workers to claim overtime for work done within normal hours, once a certain level of productivity has been reached. By what name can these practices sometimes be referred? Hint

Japanese practices
Belgian practices
Spanish practices
Moroccan practices

7. I have been authorised by the boss to negotiate with the shop stewards to see if we can find a solution to the problem. After several hours of talking we have got precisely nowhere and it feels like we have reached stalemate. Both sides are threatening the other and neither party seems able to find a solution. What is this situation euphemistically known as? Hint

A Mexican stand-off
A French stalemate
An American impasse
A Russian predicament

8. Part of the problem is the terms on which I have been authorised to negotiate. In order to give the workers the extra money they want, I have to get concessions from them that allow the company to make it back from them elsewhere. The unions are, unsurprisingly, not happy about this. What is the term they have used to describe me? Hint

Indian giver
German benefactor
Chinese lender
Canadian saviour

9. Another stumbling block is my boss's insistence that the ringleader of the trouble be fired for causing this grief. He sees him as a threat to his authority and suspects that he is trying to rally the workers towards taking over the factory and making it impossible for the boss to carry on. How could this junior worker correctly be described? Hint

Greek Youth
Finnish Punk
Italian Ingenue
Young Turk

10. Finally we reach an agreement. It's a bit of a fudge but it will allow production to resume. The first stage is that all the iniquitous practices prevalent in the firm must come to an end. Secondly, all the protesting staff will be promoted to the same grade as the workers they have been complaining about. What they possibly aren't aware of, is that this promotion means a new job title and greater responsibility but no more money than they are already on. How is such a promotion described? Hint

An Irish promotion
An English promotion
A Welsh promotion
A Scotch promotion


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. As I come off the phone to my boss, I swear volubly. It's my day off, or was supposed to be. Suddenly, I remember that my mother-in-law is in the room. What should I say to excuse my vulgarity?

Answer: Pardon my French

Ah, the French! The English are very fond of using their name euphemistically for the most unpleasant of concepts. "The French disease" is used in English to describe syphilis, for example.

"Pardon my French" is used to excuse a momentary lapse of decency in one's choice of words, particularly when swear words have been uttered. It is often used in advance of the offending words when someone is aware that they are about to swear.
2. I'm not really dressed the part for work, as I was preparing for a barbecue at lunchtime. There's no time for proper grooming so I get my least creased suit out of the wardrobe and have a quick "pommy shower" before leaving the house. What have I just done?

Answer: Used deodorant under the clothes I am wearing

Nice! I'm not proud of this but as a "pommy" (that's what an Australian calls an Englishman to those not in the know) I'm apparently not alone in doing this. Interestingly, the first time I came across this phrase was when an Englishman accused me of taking an "Australian shower" so it would appear that the phrase is interchangeable between the two nations.
3. I get to the factory and my boss briefs me on what the problem is. Apparently it involves the workers on the production line for one of our best-selling products. In the African market it is known as an "American sock" whereas the English call it a "French letter". What is it?

Answer: A condom

Not surprisingly the French have a different name for it - an English hood ("capote anglaise").

"American sock" is a phrase that is in use in East Africa, where the prevalence of Roman Catholicism makes the condom taboo. The association with America comes from the charity workers who promote the use of condoms to combat the spread of AIDS in the area.
4. My boss is not the most eloquent of people and I must admit the first explanation of the problem left me completely confused. In what way could you describe his incomprehensible speech?

Answer: Double Dutch

Perhaps by now this will not come as a surprise, but the origin of the phrase "double Dutch" came from the English sneering at another country that they perceived to be beneath them. The origin appears to lie in the 17th century enmity between the two nations that produced other insulting phrases such as "Dutch courage" to mean the courage you gain from drinking alcohol.

Despite this supposed origin, the earliest extant examples of the phrase in print only date back to the early 19th century, when the phrase "Is it double Dutch coiled against the sun?" appears. The latter part of this phrase, which is common to usage at that time, has been dropped over time, leaving only the idiom, "double Dutch", to mean an utterance that the listener cannot understand.

The title of this quiz "It's all Greek to me" conveys a similar meaning.
5. The boss explains a little more clearly second time around. His first attempt was clouded by euphemisms due to his concerns about snoopers discovering vital industrial secrets. Because of this paranoia he has set up several barriers in our information systems so that these secrets cannot be seen by the wrong eyes. What are these barriers sometimes known as?

Answer: Chinese walls

It is deemed politically incorrect in some modern societies to use this phrase; the less emotive "firewall" being preferred instead. Chinese walls are most commonly found in financial organisations where the prevention of sensitive information being passed into the wrong hands is most vital. Chinese walls are put in place to avoid issues of insider trading or conflict of interest issues arising.
6. Apparently the big issue is the iniquitous treatment of different workers in the factory. One set of workers are complaining about the practices that allow other workers to claim overtime for work done within normal hours, once a certain level of productivity has been reached. By what name can these practices sometimes be referred?

Answer: Spanish practices

Also known as "old Spanish customs", the phrase is yet another example of the English using another nationality as a derogatory modifier. "Spanish practices", it is supposed, takes its name from the perceived indolence of the Spanish and their tendency to take a siesta during the day. It describes those working practices that allow employees to take additional benefit, financially or in kind, for work which should be covered by their standard contract of employment.

An example of Spanish practices is when a worker is contracted to work fixed hours but is allowed to leave when the allotted work for the day has been done, regardless of the time it is finished. Alternatively, the worker could be paid overtime for any work done after the set tasks have been completed, even if the contracted hours for which he is paid are still not up.
7. I have been authorised by the boss to negotiate with the shop stewards to see if we can find a solution to the problem. After several hours of talking we have got precisely nowhere and it feels like we have reached stalemate. Both sides are threatening the other and neither party seems able to find a solution. What is this situation euphemistically known as?

Answer: A Mexican stand-off

There is debate over the origin of the phrase but the idea of it is clear. Many of us will be able to picture the scene of the bandits with guns drawn, neither willing to back down for fear of being shot by the other.
8. Part of the problem is the terms on which I have been authorised to negotiate. In order to give the workers the extra money they want, I have to get concessions from them that allow the company to make it back from them elsewhere. The unions are, unsurprisingly, not happy about this. What is the term they have used to describe me?

Answer: Indian giver

The phrase "Indian giver" supposedly arises from the misunderstanding between white settlers and the native people of the Americas. Loans from the Indian people to the settlers would be misinterpreted as gifts and therefore the taking back of these gifts was viewed contemptuously.

Amongst the earliest recordings of the phrase is found in the 1765 publication, "The history of the Province of Massachusetts Bay". The author Thomas Hutchison describes an Indian gift as "a proverbial expression, signifying a present for which an equivalent return is expected."
9. Another stumbling block is my boss's insistence that the ringleader of the trouble be fired for causing this grief. He sees him as a threat to his authority and suspects that he is trying to rally the workers towards taking over the factory and making it impossible for the boss to carry on. How could this junior worker correctly be described?

Answer: Young Turk

The Young Turks were a group of anti-monarchy reformers who formed in the latter years of the 19th century in Turkey. Formed from students and young members of the military, the revolutionary movement that they had formed bore fruit in 1908 when they forced the re-establishment of parliament in the Ottoman Empire against the wishes of the Sultan.

The notable success of the movement led to the name being borrowed by the English to describe any young rebellious or progressive person, initially in the occupational or political arenas and with time in society in general.
10. Finally we reach an agreement. It's a bit of a fudge but it will allow production to resume. The first stage is that all the iniquitous practices prevalent in the firm must come to an end. Secondly, all the protesting staff will be promoted to the same grade as the workers they have been complaining about. What they possibly aren't aware of, is that this promotion means a new job title and greater responsibility but no more money than they are already on. How is such a promotion described?

Answer: An Irish promotion

In North America the same situation is described as a "Mexican promotion". Sadly both uses have unpleasant roots. The choice of "Irish" by the English and "Mexican" in the US is due to the association of people of those nations with stupidity.

A scotch promotion is more likely to take place in an off licence.
Source: Author Snowman

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor LadyCaitriona before going online.
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