1

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.

3

"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."? – Dmitriy Esarev Dec 4 '16 at 12:05
  • 2
    Yes, that's right. – Colin Fine Dec 4 '16 at 12:10

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