Question: My mom used to say, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" Where did that phrase originate? Is it an American expression? I noticed there is a girl from Australia on "Danc ing With the Stars" named Peta Murgatroyd. -- B.D., El Segundo, Calif.
Answer: "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" is, indeed, an American expression and dates from the mid-1900s. The expression was popularized by the cartoon character Snagglepuss on "The Yogi Bear Show" in the 1960s. The phrase is a variant of the older phrase "Heavens to Betsy!"
Snagglepuss may have popularized the phrase, but he was not the original user -- that was Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion in "The Wizard of Oz") in the 1944 film "Meet the People."
Murgatroyd was a common surname of the English aristocracy, which may be where Peta Murgatroyd's name came from. By the way, her dance partner is Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver.
Q: My grandkids love to hear stories of when I was their age. I was telling them about hide-and-seek and that when the game was over the seeker would yell "olly olly oxen free." The kids thought this was hilarious, and they wanted to know what the phrase meant. I thought for a bit, but I have no idea. Do you? -- N.A.L., Bellingham, Wash.
A: We used the phrase in baseball and a few other team games to indicate that the activity was over. I checked several sources, but there is no definite explanation as to the source or true meaning. Two possibilities that make sense to me: "All ye, all ye 'outs' in free," or possibly "Calling all the 'outs' in free." This way, everyone who is still out could come in without penalty.
Q: Some time ago I read there was a name for the part of the back that one can't reach to scratch. I thought it was a neat word, but I can't re member it. Can you tell me what it is? -- R.F., Redondo Beach, Calif.
A: The word is "acnestis," and it is pronounced ak-NEES-tis.
Q: Summer is on its way, and it won't be long before the tattooed ladies show up on our beaches -- I'm not complaining, mind you. One tattoo that seems to be growing in popularity with younger females is worn on the lower back. This tattoo has a name, but I have no idea what it is. -- D.N.N., Atlantic City, N.J.
A: A tattoo of any design on the lower back is called a "tramp stamp." These tattoos became popular in the latter part of the 1990s. A few years back, even Barbie jumped on board: She was introduced with "Ken" written inside a red heart on her lower back.
Q: Twelve years ago, my husband and I visited Turkey. In a restaurant one evening, we were served the most unusual dessert. It was made with shredded chicken and thickened milk. I have been trying to remember the name of this dish. I know the word "dibi" is in it. Can you help me out? Are there any recipes available? -- D.N.D., Santa Rosa, Calif.
A: The dish is called "kazandibi." It can be made with or without chicken. In most recipes, the thickening agent is rice flour. The milk, flour and sugar are cooked until thick and the bottom becomes burnt or caramelized. You can find the recipe in most books featuring Turkish cuisine or on the Internet.
If any readers try kazandibi, let me know how you like it. Email me with the name in the subject line. If enough readers respond, I'll publish the results in a later column.
Q: I grew up in a small town in Ohio during the early '50s. My father had a small IGA grocery store. We later moved to Califor nia, but I don't remember seeing them out west. I'm curious when they started, and if they are still in business. -- B.M., Torrance, Calif.
A: IGA (Independent Grocers Alliance) was founded in 1926. IGAs are located in 46 states and in more than 30 countries. IGA operates as a franchise through stores that are owned separately from the main company. The alliance claims to have more than 5,000 members, and it is headquartered in Chicago.
Q: I know actors say "break a leg" instead of "good luck" because they are superstitious. How and where did that get its start? Why do supersti tious people think wishing each other bodily harm is less jinxing then wishing someone good luck? -- T.G., Ridley, Pa.
A: There are many explanations for the origin of this term. In my opinion, the most plausible is that there are many definitions for the word "break." The standout is "to deviate from a straight line." To me, this would be a bend in the knee like when one is bowing or curtsying. So those superstitious people aren't wishing bodily harm on the actor; they're suggesting the actor put on a performance good enough to warrant a bow or curtsy.
Q: In a catalog quite a few years ago, I saw a re production of a woolen cape with a hood worn by ancient Romans. I lost the catalog. It seemed like it might be a nice, warm item of clothing for Michi gan's long winter. What is the name of this garment? -- J.B., Port Huron, Mich.
A: You are looking for a "birrus." I have never seen one for sale.
Q: I will forever remem ber April 29, 1991: That was the date I saw "The Phantom of the Opera" for the 12th time, and it was Michael Crawford's final performance. After the show, I overheard some one talking about the per formance. The person said Crawford altered his act. It seemed normal to me. I've often wondered about this comment. Do you know anything about it? -- E.F., Easton, Pa.
A: Michael Crawford admitted to being broken up about his departure from the show. During that final lair scene, he altered the Phantom's line to "Christine ... I loved you," to acknowledge that it was his final performance. The original line is "Christine ... I love you."
Q: Some time ago I heard that Michael Doug las was going to play Lib erace in an upcoming movie. I have never heard anything since. Do you know if the movie is in the works? I would love to see this movie. -- L.M., Nor wood, Pa.
A: The movie is called "Behind the Candelabra." It tells the story of the tempestuous relationship between famed pianist Liberace (Michael Douglas) and Scott Thorson (Matt Damon), his younger lover. The movie will be filmed this year, and it will air on HBO.
Q: There's a lottery game in Michigan where you pick six out of 47 numbers. You get money if your numbers are drawn. What are your chances of winning? -- F.H., Milan, Mich.
A: The odds of winning the first-prize jackpot in the Classic Lotto 47 are one in 10,737,573.
Q: When did the term "Third World" originate? -- E.N.
A: The term arose during the Cold War. Third World was used often as a pejorative way to describe extremely poor nations. Today, instead of calling a country Third World, you would probably say it is a developing country.
Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.