(knapp vorbei ist auch daneben: a miss is as good as a mile)http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/close-but-...
Fall just short of a successful outcome and get nothing for your efforts. Origin
The phrase, and its variant 'nice try, but no cigar', are of US origin and date from the mid-20th century. Fairground stalls gave out cigars as prizes, and this is the most likely source, although there's no definitive evidence to prove that..."http://www.bartleby.com/59/3/closebutnoci.html
"Close, but no cigar
Even a near miss is still a miss. The saying probably originated with carnival contests in which a cigar was the prize for hitting a target..." http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/close,+bu...
"Close, but no cigar. (American & Australian, humorous)
something that you say to someone if what they tell you or what they do is nearly correct but not completely. 'Is his name Howard?' 'Close, but no cigar. It's Harold.'
See also: but
Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms © Cambridge University Press 1998
close, but no cigar
almost but not exactly what you had hoped for or wanted. Vince never got that big win he wanted — it was always close but no cigar.
Etymology: from games of skill or chance in which the person who won would get a cigar as a prize..."
"Close, But No Cigar
Starbucks' programs show improvement in commitment to fair trade, but not nearly enough..."