[This saying of Alphonso about Ptolemy's astronomy, that] "it seemed a crank machine; that it was pity the Creator had not taken advice."
A crank is a small engine that causes revolutions.
The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
We wanted to figure out a way to get crank phone calls on television. Watching someone on TV talking on a phone isn't that entertaining, and obviously we couldn't send a camera crew around to the people getting the calls, so it was limited to either animation or puppets. And puppets seemed halfway between cartoons and people, so that seemed like the most real way that we could do it.jimmy kimmel
[A]s we discern a fine line between crank and genius, so also (and unfortunately) we must acknowledge an equally graded trajectory from crank to demagogue. When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.stephen jay gould
You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. What is wrong with you?jon stewart
Life gets boring, someone invents another necessity, and once again we turn the crank on the screwjack of progress hoping that nobody gets screwed.larry wall