This was a law professor's favorite phrase. "And then you serve him with

a subpoena duces tecum," which he'd always follow with "I thought aces take


The deuce is the lowest card in nearly all card games. "Deuce" is also

slang for "devil," but I didn't see this in the RHHDAS. New York's 42nd

Street used to be called "The Deuce." Young girls were warned to stay away,

because deuces take 'em.

This is from SPORTING LIFE, 28 April 1886, pg. 1, col. 1:

...but for the "left-handed phenomenon"--the deuce take him--would have

come off easy winners.

Paul Dickson's BASEBALL DICTIONARY has "phenom" from 1890, but

"phenomenon" and "phenom" are all over 1886, especially for the pitcher

"Phenomenal" Smith. "Left-handed phenomenon" is interesting; "south-paw" was

also used often in 1886.