flat-tire (1)


On the eve of their finals, four sophomores made a quick getaway (= escaped) from the campus to an off-the-map (= remote) place for a picnic. They enjoyed their time: they ate, danced, drank, cooked roast turkey and all etceteras (= and many other similar things). They weren’t top students. When they applied for admission a year before, the university was scraping the barrel with (= using something of extremely poor quality) applicants, and those four were the best the admission board could get. During seminars the students’ work was scarcely up to scratch (= not up to the required standard): they were rather happy-go-lucky (= took nothing seriously), but they reckoned themselves (= thought high of themselves) and were even kind of uppish ((=conceited): they were sure they would prepare for the finals in next-to-no time.“(= very quickly). It doesn’t take much doing,” (= it’s not difficult at all) they said. However, the rich meal and drinks took it out of them (made them exhausted) and they had to stay at the dorm to hang-over the first day of the finals.

The next day they made it to (= to appear, to turn up) the examination and explained they hadn’t been able to come the previous day because they had gone from town with the plan to come back in time to study, but, unfortunately, they had a flat tire on the way back, didn’t have a spare, and couldn’t get help for a long time. As a result, they missed the final.

Professor Peterson wasn’t “all dead from neck up.” (= he wasn’t altogether stupid). In his time he was a student too, so he was “all there.” (he understood which was which). But while a student, he (unlike these sophomores) had made the most of his time (used the time effectively) at university. Measuring present-day students by the standards of his younger years, he was willing to give a deserving person a leg-up (= to give support), but practiced a zero tolerance policy against laziness (completely ruled it out).

Still, having no proof that the sophomores were lying, Mr. Peterson didn’t want to take it out on the students (= to punish someone because one is angry) openly and agreed that they could make the final exam. He placed them in separate rooms and handed them a test booklet, and told them to begin. The first problem was worth 5 points, something simple from the course. “Cool,” the students thought. This is going to be easy. No wash-out. (we won’t fail)” Each finished the problem and then turned the page.

On the second page was written (For 95 points): Which tire was flat?


Pete's Idioms11a

Pete's Idioms11b

Pete's Idioms11d

Pete's Idioms11e

Pete's Idioms11f


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