The speaker was discussing an issue and wanted to get to the heart of the matter. This is a mash up of “get down to the nuts and bolts” (get down to the basic facts) and “everything from soup to nuts” (almost everything one can think of). “Get down to brass tacks” (begin to talk about the important stuff) might also be in the mix given the context. And then there is the Soup Nazi (nutsy?) who also wanted everyone to just get to the heart of the matter and order soup. A big thank you to Elaine Hatfield for hearing this one and passing it on!
I had to post this one right away, as it comes on the heels of Lara Hayhurst Compton’s “better safe than never”, which we both agree should be Planned Parenthood’s new slogan. “A tough nut to follow” was spoken by Tim Hughes, a talented actor who is currently playing the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz at the Fulton Theater in Lancaster, PA. This malaphor is a mash up of “tough act to follow” (outstanding performance) and “tough nut to crack” (difficult person or problem to deal with). Tough is the operative word here, which my guess led to the malaphor. Of course, Tim might have been referring to a difficult person who gave a great performance! This one is also similar to “tough nut to swallow” see – https://malaphors.com/2013/02/20/that-would-be-a-tough-nut-to-swallow/ A big thank you to Lara Hayhurst Compton for hearing this one and passing it on!
This clever congruent conflation is a blend of “tough nut to crack” and “bitter pill to swallow”, both referring to hard things to do. Both also contain four words, and both involve actions. And of course a tough nut is always hard to swallow,
right? A big shout out to Susan E for sending me this one that she heard her husband utter last week.