Tie the tea leaves together

.This was heard on NPR’s “Here and Now” show.  A pundit was talking about trying to predict what the Mueller investigation report will be like, based on all the information that has been released so far.  It is a mashup of “reading the tea leaves” (predicting on little bits of information) and “tie it all together” (finish it up neatly).  “Tie up loose ends” (resolve some issues at the end that are not critical) might also be in the mix.  Tea leaves seem to confuse folks.  Previous malaphors have included “reading between the tea leaves” and “read between the tea lines”  A tip of the hat to John Costello for hearing this one!


This is the big, 40,000 foot question

Tim Mak, NPR political reporter on the NPR radio show, Here and Now, was discussing the recent indictment of Roger Stone.  He was retelling what was in the indictment, but questioning what evidence Special Counsel Robert Mueller has in his possession.  This gem can be heard at 5:15 of the following:

This is a wonderful conflation of “the 64,000 dollar question” (a question very important and/or difficult to answer) and “the 10,000 (or sometimes 20, 30, or 40,000) foot view” (a description of a problem or issue that provides general information, but short on details).  Idioms containing numbers are often jumbled.  I have posted some other great ones, such as “hindsight is 50/50” ( and “we were 3 sheets passing in the night” (  A big thanks to Tom Justice for hearing this one and sending it in!