ball-bearing mousetrap

George Thompson gt1 at NYU.EDU
Wed Mar 21 15:14:41 UTC 2001

James A. Landau offers:  "Just one example: "ball-bearing mousetrap: a
tomcat".  (This one I am told was invented by a science fiction writer
named George O. Smith for the purpose of sneaking something off-color
past a notoriously puritanical editor named Kay Tarrant (assistant
editor for many years of Astounding Science Fiction (later renamed

First, let us all admire quietly the nested ((())).
Then, I will note that I heard "ball-bearing mousetrap" in the early to
mid 1960s from a friend whom I haven't seen since the mid 1960s, so the
date is pretty secure.  Does this predate G. O. Smith or did my friend
learn it from him?  I don't remember the guy to have been a reader of


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