the awful experiment
   the prohibition of sale and consumption of intoxicants in the USA from 1920 to 1933
   Awful for those denied intoxicants or faced with illegality to obtain them: much more awful for the impetus it gave to organized crime:
    A generation or so has come between us and the Awful Experiment. (Longstreet, 1956)

How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms. . 2014.

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