"close, but no cigar" antedated (1929)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 18 16:29:27 UTC 2013

Great cite, Stephen! Here is another cite that was published slightly
earlier on May 18, 1929. The phrase "Close; But No Cigar" appeared in
the headline of a short article but not in the body of the article
which was about a man who came in second place in two elections.

Further below is another citation in December 1929 that is interesting
because it gives an explanatory detail about the allusion.

[ref] 1929 May 18, Long Island Daily Press, "Close; But No Cigar",
Quote Page 16, Column 6, Jamaica, New York. (Old Fulton) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Close; But No Cigar
If you are one of those folks who keep a scrap-book of unimportant but
nevertheless not altogether uninteresting facts, you might jot down
this one brought in by a dirtgetter in Springfield Gardens. It's about
Hugo Straub. Hugo is believed to have set a world's record in the
business of getting-defeated-for-the-presidency. Hugo has finished
second in no less than two presidential races within one week.
[End excerpt]

[ref] 1929 December 13, Long Island Daily Press, "Close-but no cigar",
Quote Page 1, Column 6, Jamaica, New York. (Old Fulton)

[Begin excerpt]
"Close - but no cigar!"
The refrain of the "knock 'em-down-and-win-a-smoke" barker still rings
in the Christmas Fund Editor's mind as he considers how close the
Christmas Fund came yesterday to having a $200 day - only to miss by a
scant half dollar.
[End excerpt]

Please check for typos, etcetera.

Barry Popiks's webpage on the topic is valuable. He includes several
precursor cites about cigars as prizes:
“Close, but no cigar”


On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 9:58 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
> Subject:      "close, but no cigar" antedated (1929)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The Princeton Alumni Weekly v.29 no. 36, July 2, 1929, p. 1166 col. 2
> [about a class reunion]
> The long distance trophy, an appropriately inscribed silver cigarette case, was awarded to Em Gooch who had made the trip from Lincoln, Neb. for the occasion. Several other members came close, but no cigar.....
> Stephen Goranson
> www.duke.edu/~goranson
> http://books.google.com/books?id=QBJbAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1166&dq=%22close+but+no+cigar%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rV_5UOSmBZHH0AGytIDwBw&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22close%20but%20no%20cigar%22&f=false
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