Americans, skeptical of hometown officiating at the Olympic Games might say that the Soviet hosts have tried to "pull the wool over foreigners' eyes" here. The Russians have a phase for this too. If they pleaded guilty, they would say they had "hung noodles from the visitors' ears."
But, of course, the Soviets deny any such shenanigans. The claim the charges are as "phony as a three-dollar bill." Or, as a Russian would put it, "That's nonsense boiled in vegetable oil."
For almost every colorful American phrase or idiom, there is a Russian equivalent, according to Sergei Sergeyev -- a professor of English at Moscow State University who is writing a book about English idioms and their Russian counterparts.
Sergeyev, who is working as a translator at the television center during the Olympics, became a favorite of visiting American journalists during last summer's Soviet sports festival, Sportakiade, because he was able to translate Russian sports idioms into the American vernacular, and vice versa. t
When somebody referred to a lumbering basketball player as being "like a bull in a china shop," for instance, Sergeyev pointed out that a Russian would say he was "like a hippopotamous in the living room."
In Russian, a tie is called a "dry score" and to break a tie is referred to as "moistening the score," as in, "The Italian calmly sank two free throws, moistening a 66-66 dry score."
On a more somber note, there was the case of the Soviet fencer -- happily now recovering -- who got run through with a broken foil, and could have died.
An American would say that he nearly "kicked the bucket." A Russian would say he "nearly threw his shoe off."
Sergeyev would be happy to play these idiomatic games until hell freezes over, or until the cows come home, whichever happens first.
Or, as the Russians would put it: "Until the lobster whistles on the hill."
The official Soviet press has reacted angrily to an incident of rowdyism at the olympic Village, and to continued criticism of the stringent security measures, which some Olympic athletes, officials, press and visitors have found oppressive.
The Soviet news agency, Tass -- responding to the food fight involving about 40 athletes wearing British, Australian and Brazilian team jackets who objected to the early closing of the village disco -- headlined its dispatch: "They should be thrown behind bars."
Tass evidently did not mean the kind of bars that serve liquor.
"Most athletes left for their flats, but a group of athletes from Western countries, who had some booze left, demanded that, contrary to schedule, the disco remain open," Tass reported.
"When this unlawful demand was not met, they, heated up the booze consumed, went on a rampage. They overturned tables, tore curtains down, started throwing food at people."
The popular sports daily Sovietski Sport also railed at persistent criticism of tight security, implying that one of the reasons for the army of uniformed and plainclothes security men on constant duty here is to prevent anti-Soviet activities that the newspaper said were common at other Olympics. a
The article did not mention the terrorist attack on the Israel team at the 1972 Munich Olympics, but recalled that anti-Soviet pamphlets "made their way into the booths of Socialist journalists with no problem."
At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, the newspaper said, security devices were used "which had been 'tested' during the criminal military actions of the U.S.A. in Vietnam," but nevertheless "by a strange coincidene, as in Munich, the police . . . let any anti-Soviet scum through, violating Olympic peace."
The soviet paper also accused "radio saboteurs" and "voices of the CIA," at previous Games of mingling among Soviet athletes, "futilely trying to get them to betray their fatherland."
The paper charged that, at Montreal, telephones were "stringently monitored," but that Soviet gold medal sprinter Valery Borzov was still harassed. "Some gangsters still managed to summon Valery Borzov and threaten him with violence," the article said.
At the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., according to Sovietski Sport, police stood by and let demonstrators do their thing, including "three slovenly, bearded men at a bus stop who shoved dirty anti-Opympic pamphlets into passengers' hands."
The newspaper did not say that the demonstrators were protesting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, despite these explanation, athletes and officials continued to grumble about the security arrangements, including constant inspection of bags, passage through metal detectors and the constant presence of thousands of police.
Many athletes have complained of boredom at the Olympic Village, and have become increasgly rankled with the tight security that even prevents them from visiting the living quarters of another team without written permission.
Some of the athletes wanted to tell the security guards to "get lost" -- or, as the Russians would say, "to close the door from the other side."