Stuff your grandma says
Called ‘long underwear’ by those under 40 if they have any idea what we’re describing. I’m wearing a silk pair now because in Toronto it’s minus 21 degrees Celsius with the wind chill. A centuries-old company in England developed warm under-clothing wear named after the 19th-century boxer John Sullivan, although they’re no use to him now.
Drawing a blank
These days it means “I’ve searched my memory and found nothing,” or, “was not successful,” as in a Peter Wimsey novel: “By twelve o’clock, Miss Climpson decided that she had drawn a blank at the Central tea shop.” The phrase has contradictory origins. One is from the blank bullets that save your noggin in Russian roulette; the other comes from useless lottery tickets in sold in the Middle Ages.
Going to hell in a handbasket
- means heading for disaster. It's presumed to refer to the baskets placed under guillotines to catch the results of an execution. Yuck.