done by mirrors

(all) done by mirrors

Done using trickery, deception, or misdirection. Before computer generated effects, fantastic, unbelievable things in movies were all done by mirrors. The military operation was completely unseen, completely unnoticed by anybody, as if it were done by mirrors. The company's CEO managed to swindle his clients out of millions of dollars, and it was all done by mirrors so that no one would notice the disappearance of the money until it was too late.
See also: by, done, mirror
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

done by mirrors

and done with mirrors
mod. illusory; accomplished in a way that is purposefully deceptive. He’s not really smart. It’s all done by mirrors. The whole budgetary process is done with mirrors.
See also: by, done, mirror
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
You can sit in a dalek, talk like a dalek, make a TARDIS land (all done by mirrors) and see the TARDIS control room.
He added: "Five years ago, when things took off here, even people in the republic wondered if it was all done by mirrors or if it was a mirage.
It's all done by mirrors, you know, this empowerment thing.