Example: When asked for details, she hemmed and hawed then beat around the bush.
Origins: Hunting during medieval times, flushing wild game out of the bushes at the risk of also flushing out more dangerous game. (Source.)
- beat around the tall grass
- send the lads into the bushes
- make noises from the treetops
- walk the edges of the crowd
- drive around the traffic jam
- get to the heart by way of the lungs
- cross the river at the creek
Discussion: The key to this rewrite isn’t so much to duplicate the original as it is to restate its intent, which is to avoid the danger or inconvenience by taking other means.