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(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

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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

extremely clever or mischievous. British informal
See also: artful, monkey, of, wagonload
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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Goldberg's latest unbiased journalistic masterpiece, artfully titled, The 100 People Most Screwing Up America, ranks Kozol at No.
These passionate stories are artfully crafted to leave you waiting for more.
Hymns and classics are skillfully matched and artfully interwoven, as if written for each other.
Fallende Frau, doppelkopfig (Falling woman, double-faced), 2004, is an apparently full-size female figure, which, however, is so elaborately swathed in artfully draped gray cloth that only its extremities are visible.
Due to the ever-changing landscape of the Internet and communication services, future regulations and statutes will have to be artfully crafted and continuously updated to keep pace and prevent the Federal and state tax bases from eroding.
Interest is sustained by thought-filled examinations of biblical precepts all of which are artfully couched in an entertaining fictionalization of what might be called an atheist's apologetics.
"Writers achieve an appropriate writer-reader relationship in business prose not by merely switching from their own to the reader's viewpoint but by artfully interweaving multiple rhetorical and linguistic elements.
Perhaps most importantly, the author artfully blends labor and environmental history with the social history of the South.
The quality of the performance was confirmed by the singers, a highly talented and artfully balanced ensemble that seemed to be enjoying itself immensely.
Skidmore artfully captured the desperation of thousands of men from many ethnic groups during the Depression drawn from all over the country as if by a Pied Piper for the promise of good pay to build a hydroelectric tunnel through the heart of West Virginia.
In the end Ball ferrets out the truth, but not before artfully briefing the reader on sexual dimorphism, sex-change operations, transsexual psychology, and Charleston mores, He has written a polymorphously entertaining exopse.
Pictures are carefully and artfully grouped with sconces, wall brackets, and objets d'art.
Horror and sci-fi representations of the apocalypse are artfully interwoven, matched by a searing soundtrack and the results are disturbing and unsettling.
No wonder the artfully designed seat was the hottest item to emerge from the recent NeoCon show, the furniture industry's version of Cannes.
Margaret King's definitive study of the intellectual elite, Venetian Humanism in an Age of Patrician Dominance (Princeton, 1986), led her to locate women among the humanists, as in King and Albert Rabil, Her Immaculate Hand (Binghamton, NY, 1983), and arguably has led to the University of Chicago Press' "Other Voices" series, the latter artfully used by Ferraro.