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1. Literally, an arcade game in which the player uses a small rubber mallet to hit robotic toy moles that pop up randomly in holes laid out across the surface of the machine. I love coming to this old arcade. I have a lot of fond memories playing whack-a-mole and skee ball here as a kid.
2. By extension, a situation in which problems continue to arise faster than one is able to solve or cope with them, resulting in piecemeal, incomplete, or temporary results. These dang pop-up ads are so annoying! It's a game of whack-a-mole every time I go online these days! Every time we think we have the software debugged, more problems show up. We've just been playing whack-a-mole from day one!
blind as a bat/beetle/mole
Totally blind, or, figuratively, unseeing. None of these animals is, by the way, truly blind. The bat flies about in the dark in seemingly erratic paths (see bats in one’s belfry), and the beetle and mole burrow through the ground. Nevertheless, these similes are quite old and have become clichés. The bat analogy dates from the sixteenth century at least (John Harvey); the mole and beetle similes come from Roman times and were cited in translations by Erasmus.