Take another quiz >

Idioms for Problems

Fill the blanks in these idioms that relate to difficulty and failure.
Quiz by Quizmaster
Rate:
First submittedAugust 6, 2013
Last updatedJanuary 27, 2018
Times taken22,728
Rating4.10
4:00
Enter missing words here:
0
 / 21 guessed
The quiz is paused. You have remaining.
Scoring
You scored / = %
This beats or equals % of test takers also scored 100%
The average score is
Your high score is
Your fastest time is
Keep scrolling down for answers and more stats ...
Idiom
A whole can of worms
Spiral out of control
Catch-22
An uphill battle
One's cross to bear
Go pear-shaped
Hung out to dry
Idiom
Stir up a hornet's nest
In over one's head
A spanner in the works
On a sticky wicket
In dire straits
A stumbling block
Between a rock and a hard place
Idiom
A millstone around one's neck
Grasping at straws
Twisting in the wind
The wheels have fallen off
Up a blind alley
One's goose is cooked
Go up in smoke
+4
level 53
Aug 16, 2013
Fun and interesting quiz
+7
level 51
Sep 5, 2013
Could you also accept 'clutching' for the straw one and 'flames' for the one about smoke? thanks
+6
level 29
Sep 23, 2013
Yeah I've always heard it as "clutching at straws" too
+2
level 48
Oct 21, 2013
Ditto, I struggled with that one as I couldn't think of anything but "clutching".
+2
level 50
Nov 16, 2013
I agree with "flames".
+2
level ∞
Nov 16, 2013
Those will both work now.
+1
level 23
Jan 27, 2018
I tried 'grabbing at straws'. Could you add that?
+3
level 57
Nov 16, 2013
"IN A STICKY SITUATION"
+10
level 77
Nov 16, 2013
I was up a ____ creek without a paddle for some of these.
+1
level 82
May 29, 2014
That's the one I kept thinking of :)
+1
level 69
Aug 29, 2016
Definitely where my mind went.
+1
level 69
Jan 27, 2018
flooded
+1
level 68
Nov 16, 2013
Good quiz thanks
+1
level 72
Aug 2, 2014
Agreed!
+2
level 65
Nov 16, 2013
Great quiz. But I never heard of Go pear-shaped. ???
+2
level 53
Nov 16, 2013
Me either. Can someone explain that?
+1
level 49
Nov 16, 2013
Picture a gun barrel, or other circular object, which has melted slightly.
+1
level 72
Jan 27, 2018
To my mind is one's perfect hour-glass figure ultimately getting a bit wider around the middle, hence going pear-shaped
+3
level 41
Jan 27, 2018
It just means some object has lost its original shape or a situation has become awkward/out of control
+3
level 49
Jul 5, 2019
It is what happens to one's arse if one sits around for days plays quizzes - loses its umph and purpose.
+1
level 61
Oct 2, 2019
@chipotley, that would be appleshaped getting wider around the middle. Pearshaped would be bigger at thighs and hips, not waist (you know, shaped like a pear..) (still wouldnt make sense though, because your shoulders would also need to get smaller.) And pear shaped is usually seen as very feminine, as opposed to no bum and no hips . Pearshape is not a bad thing (just a bit lacking in the boob department, but not fat and without a waiste like appleshaped.) btw you can have hourshape figure aswell without having big boobs, when you simply have a big chest (ribcage) which guys usually don't prefer, they rather have more fragile/petite looking women than the ones that look stronger than them.

Back on subject, many theories about pearshaped, most are blindly copied without critically analyzing it. Either way it is about a shape that change form when that is not desired, from something circular or cylindrical, that started to bulge/sag. (pottery, gunbarrels, tanks, glassblowing, rivets)

+3
level 56
Nov 16, 2013
Could you accept "struggle" for "battle" please?
+2
level 71
Jan 27, 2018
+1 Uphill struggle is just as common. Please could you add? https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/an+uphill+struggle
+1
level 69
Jan 27, 2018
+1
+1
level ∞
Jan 27, 2018
Okay
+8
level 32
Nov 18, 2013
I tried "whoop-ass". Didn't work....
+1
level 67
Apr 9, 2015
Go up in atoms?
+4
level 34
Sep 17, 2015
UP AND AT THEM!
+1
level 76
Apr 14, 2016
I had to think about spanner to remember that it's British for "a wrench in the works". No idea what a sticky wicket is, though. Does it have to do with cricket?
+1
level 61
Jan 24, 2017
American would be more like "throw a monkey wrench in the works."
+1
level 76
Jan 28, 2018
Or the John McClane version in Die Hard, "Monkey in the wrench."
+2
level 49
Jun 15, 2016
You forgot up a creek without a paddle
+1
level 76
Jan 28, 2018
Also, on a slippery slope. Great quiz.
+3
level 64
Nov 13, 2016
Fun fact: John Lennon wrote a book called "Spaniard in the works".
+1
level 61
Jan 23, 2017
So THAT'S what that means!!!
+1
level 48
Jan 27, 2018
Could 'An Uphill Struggle' be accepted too?
+1
level 57
Jan 27, 2018
Maybe I'm overly pessimistic. I got them all with 2:46 to spare.
+1
level 68
Jan 27, 2018
"Go {belly} up" is another one I thought of, but I think some of you would then ask for a different, inappropriate, anatomical term.
+2
level 79
Aug 15, 2018
I had a very good friend who was a nurse in the Korean War and later a flight attendant. Her favorite express for when something went wrong was "it went tango uniform". Took me years to work up the courage to ask what it meant.
+1
level 41
Oct 27, 2018
Hahaha love it! A favourite one of my north-east England grandma was, it’s taken the pip (also used if someone got angry for a trivial reason) :D
+1
level 77
May 21, 2019
Generally this term is used less when you've got a problem and more when you're dead.
+1
level 67
Jan 29, 2018
Good quiz, all were quite common to me except "Twisting in the Wind'...... haven't heard that one before, I would be interested to hear where that is common.
+1
level 61
Oct 2, 2019
Easy enough to find out with acces to internet. It basicly means being left to dangle
+1
level 31
Jan 31, 2018
100% with 1.40 secs left
+3
level 36
Apr 13, 2018
I have to say, unless someone has done exceptionally well in a quiz it's extremely dull to read other people's scores or completion times.
+1
level 39
Jun 26, 2018
...even when someone has done really well...methinks there is much 'guessing' going on, which is not the same as knowing the answers...IMO
+1
level 61
Oct 2, 2019
But they usually write it for themselves and not for others. On occasion I do it aswell (only twice per month at most and I do a few dozen quizzes per day (I wake up and play and faal asleep playing them haha) when I have surprised myself and got 100% on a quiz I didnt expect (wont do it with getting 100% on say the colors of the rainbow or days of the week etc exceptionally easy things, or say all the countries in europe which is a clear and finite list and easy to learn). That is just to express my pleasant surprise. (but yea many also do it to show off so perhaps do expect some sort of response)

But usually I read over them aswell. Especially if it just times without an interesting story. (like misreading it as something funny but then realising the mistake so getting them all in time in the last second)

+1
level 57
Jul 31, 2018
i can only assume that "gone pear shaped," "a spanner in the works," and "on a sticky wicket" are all non-U.S. sayings? i'm American and i've never once heard any of those sayings. never. zero.
+1
level 19
Oct 27, 2018
no idea. Ive never heard of em either
+1
level 38
Feb 2, 2019
^ Nor have I.
+1
level 58
Mar 17, 2019
Oh, how the tables have turned
+1
level 77
May 21, 2019
I've heard all of these before, though "spanner in the works" is obviously extra-American as Americans would say "wrench" not "spanner." Pretty sure I've heard "sticky wicket" in the US before but the other two I think are British expressions.
+1
level 61
Oct 2, 2019
pearshaped is definitely american aswell, used mainly in bussiness and I believe also in sports. Spanner is obviously an uk word, but I think the idiom is used aswell, not 100% though. And good chance you are right about sticky wicket, it's origins are clearly british, I have never heard of it though and can't really envision it being used in the us. (perhaps because of the obvious connection to cricket?)
+1
level 78
Jan 6, 2019
i'm not sure how a goose being ready to eat is a problem. i'd say the goose is loose is a problem, but then I'd just be making stuff up
+1
level 61
Oct 2, 2019
It is a big problem when you are a goose !!
+1
level 61
Oct 2, 2019
It most likely comes from Jan Hus,(meaning goose) a Czech theologian and philosopher who became a church reformer, who was burned at the stake.
+1
level 21
Mar 23, 2019
Hmm some of these I've never heard of. must be american...
+1
level 32
Mar 25, 2019
I prefer my version 'ones goose is loose'
+1
level 44
Jul 5, 2019
I can't be the only one who tried 'On a sticky bun' as a reference to Blackadder's "We're in the stickiest situation since Sticky the Stick Insect got stuck on a sticky bun", surely?
+1
level 68
Jul 5, 2019
I thought of that too :)