put up a smoke screen

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put up a smoke screen

To create a diversion or otherwise draw attention away from someone or something. Look, we need to put up a smoke screen so that the committee stops investigating the funds we embezzled. As soon as my mother starts prying into my dating life, I put up a smoke screen by asking my grandfather about his favorite fishing spots—a topic he could talk about for hours. Works every time!
See also: put, screen, smoke, up