Are there more idioms, sayings or phrases similar to "needle in a haystack" that are relevant to hidden objects, or difficult to find items?

Also interested in similar nouns relevant to the somewhat oppositional concepts like "needle" and "haystack" or "3-leaf clover" vs. "4-leaf clover" where one object is significantly harder to find.

  • There is also No Leaf Clover. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 9 '11 at 7:51
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    Your imagination is the only thing that sets the limits here. For example: "It's like looking for a hymen in a whorehouse / an honest man in Congress / a unicorn in a forest of pricks / fur on a rattlesnake / balls on a cow / John Boehner's stain-remover spray / pubes on an egg". – Erik Kowal Jul 14 '14 at 5:19

I have a one-word answer:



"Looking for a black cat in a coal cellar"?

  • That's a new one. Very colourful! – ghoppe Mar 9 '11 at 13:07
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    Similarly "looking for a white cat (or polar bear, or whatever) in a snowstorm". – user1579 Mar 9 '11 at 13:38
  • This sounds like a historical phrase, rather than current usage. Like something someone my grandparents generation would say. Interesting nonetheless so +1! – Brett Allen Mar 9 '11 at 16:28
  • Well, it's been a while since we've had coal cellars... – Malvolio Mar 9 '11 at 16:43

If you take "hard to find" as being "very rare/non-existent" …

"Scarce as hen's teeth."

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