I don't know how to explain the context. Two people are speaking about the Budapest oil deal of 1931.

Kurt to Teck: "You too wish to go back to Europe?"

Teck: "Yes."

Kurt: "But they do not much want you. Not since the Budapest oil deal of '31."

Teck: "You seem as well informed about me as I am about you."

Kurt: "That must have been a conference of high comedy, that one. Everybody trying to guess whether Kessler was working for Fritz Thyssen, and what Thyssen really wanted--and whether this 'National Socialism' was a smart blind of Thyssen's, and where was Wolff. I should like to have seen you and your friends. It is too bad: you guessed an inch off, eh?

Teck: "More than an inch."

Kurt: "And Kessler has a memory? I do not think Herr Blecher would pay you money for a description of a man who has a month to travel. But I think he would pay you in a visa.

I think it means "- You began to guessing a little? - Not a little" I couldn't find any dictionary entries about "guess off" or "guess an inch off" though.


"Guess an inch off" is not an established phrase.

The sense of "off" here is "missing the target", so "guessing an inch off" means "Making a guess that is a little way away from the correct answer".

  • So, Teck's answering "Not a little, my guess is really bad."? Dec 4 '16 at 12:05
  • 2
    Yes, that's right.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 4 '16 at 12:10

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