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artful dodger

A rogue or miscreant who avoids getting in trouble for their crimes, mischief, or bad behavior through crafty or ingenious means. Taken from the name of a clever pickpocket in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. She's always causing mischief, but she's such an artful dodger that she always finds a way to get out of trouble.
See also: artful, dodger

(as) artful as a wagonload of monkeys

Impish or mischievous. ("Cartload" can be used instead of "wagonload.") Primarily heard in UK. Don't let those boys sit together—they're as artful as a wagonload of monkeys.
See also: artful, monkey, of, wagonload

as artful (or clever) as a wagonload (or cartload) of monkeys

extremely clever or mischievous. British informal
See also: artful, monkey, of, wagonload

Artful Dodger

a sly person, especially one involved in dubious or criminal activities. It was the nickname of Jack Dawkins, a young pickpocket in Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist. The character survives in the stage and movie musical Oliver!, which was based on the Dickens novel, but the phrase as applied to a “sneaky Pete” is now rarely if ever heard. “Dodger” in the sense of evading danger inspired the name of the Brooklyn (now Los Angeles) baseball team; in its early years in Brooklyn, the team was the “Trolley Dodgers.” Brooklyn had many streetcar lines, and to play in the streets required youngsters to dodge streetcars, and “trolley dodger” became the slang term for anyone from that borough.
See also: artful, dodger
References in periodicals archive ?
With records such as Sweet Like Chocolate by Shanks and Bigfoot and ReRewind by The Artful Dodger going straight to the top of the charts and Garage clubs springing up around the whole of the country, UK Garage will soon be running the UK dance scene.
Meanwhile, in sister club Diva, the Artful Dodger, Spoony from Radio One's Dreem Teem, Mr Gizmo and Frenzy - will be playing the cream of the UK garage scene.
Instead, Artful Dodger prefer to work with talented unknowns, such as Romina Johnson, Robbie Craig and Lifford, and have already helped make Craig David a household name.
star Mark Lester led the tributes to Artful Dodger actor Jack Wild, who died yesterday.
The artful contortions of one, hanging by one hand and a knee from two suspended rings, possess an incomprehensible rectilinearity, as if she were competing for a position in that Erte alphabet of which Roland Barthes once wrote.
We are told of an astonishing majority of presidents "unmade" by artful deception, feckless bumbling or importunate circumstance.
THE Artful Dodger and Fagin have been picking a pocket or two at Coventry's Allesley Primary School during an end-of-term production.
Dodd had hoped Craig and Southampton-based act Artful Dodger would play in an all-star side at the Saints' Dell ground.
Porter's exceptionally detailed gamut of tics (oral, facial, body) was masterfully orchestrated to thrive on the repetition of patterns until it seemed as if some nerve would have to burst fram the artful pressure.
She's already distanced herself from the single Twentyfourseven, her collaboration with top dance act Artful Dodger, out today.
Holland Day (1864-1933), monied Boston aesthete and eccentric, took up Pictorialist photography in his twenties and became one of its most artful and popular proponents.