Posted by R. Berg on May 08, 2007
In Reply to: The best way posted by ESC on May 07, 2007
: : : I got stuck searching for a phrase in English, that could describe not the most optimal/efficient way of solving the problem or doing something, for example, going from Rome to Milan via New York. Does such phrase exist?
: : There are several, depending on the kind of problem. The directional kind, as in your example, can be called a "roundabout" solution. A machine or device or process that's wildly inefficient can be called a "Rube Goldberg" solution, after the cartoonist who used to draw absurd machines with twenty different steps to accomplish a simple task. (There is a UK equivalent to Rube, from the same era, named Heath Robinson.)
: The computer guys at work talk about a "work around." Not actually solving the problem but coming up a way to work around it. Then there's "beat around the bush" and go "around Robin Hood's barn." See http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/5/messages/1405.html
"Taking the long way around" is used, and not only for journeys. Doing something "the hard way" is common, too, or used to be. ~rb