I have seen this in many cartoons, where the farmer tries to shut one hole in garden so his veggies are not stolen but another one appears and so on and so forth. One of the most obvious example of these are bugs bunny animation movies, where bugs after eating all the veggies asks the farmer 'What's up doc. ?


whack-a-mole macmillan

fig. a situation in which repeated efforts to resolve a problem are frustrated by the problem reappearing in a different form

As in:

“If you are on the back end, you are kind of playing whack-a-mole trying to pick this up,” one bank source told me. Submitted from United Kingdom on 03/01/2018

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    Of course, likely more people associate "whack-a-mole" with the arcade game than with holes in the ground. – Hot Licks Aug 10 '18 at 19:25
  • youtube.com/watch?v=VoP1E9J4jpg – Hot Licks Aug 10 '18 at 19:26
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    It's worth mentioning that the phrase is used explicitly as a reference to the game, as it was used in the example you showed. You'd say "This garden is like a game of whack-a-mole," not "This garden is whack-a-mole." – Karen Aug 10 '18 at 22:35
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    I hear "playing whack-a-mole" all the time in the US. The phrase is derived from a physical arcade game. It was even reimplemented as a virtual mini-game inside World of Warcraft. I would expect it to be well known in both AmE and BrE. – Michael Hampton Aug 10 '18 at 23:40
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    Yes, it's a very common metaphor for any situation where new problems keep arising as you solve previous problems. It does derive from the game. – Barmar Aug 11 '18 at 0:19

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