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throw a spanner in(to) the works

To disrupt, foil, or cause problems to a plan, activity, or project. Primarily heard in UK. We had everything in line for the party, but having the caterer cancel on us at the last minute really threw a spanner in the works! It'll really throw a spanner into the works if the board decides not to increase our funding for this project.
See also: spanner, throw, work

put/throw a spanner in the works

  (British & Australian) also put/throw a (monkey) wrench in the works (American)
to do something that prevents a plan or activity from succeeding We were hoping to get the project started in June but the funding was withdrawn so that rather threw a spanner in the works. The sudden withdrawal of the guest speaker really threw a monkey wrench in the works.
See also: put, spanner, work
References in periodicals archive ?
Based on her knowledge of PDSs, Kelsey, one of the boundary spanner researchers who worked in the district central office, knew the importance of teachers' being commended for their work and of others' providing them with support.
The screwdriver's shaft is stainless steel, while the handle and spanner are made of durable, military-grade Swiss polymer, Bits and Allen wrenches are of premium-grade steel, and are magnetized to help you avoid losing tiny screws.
During a break, Spanner, owner of Spanner Tree and Shrub Care in Pittstown, walked through the forest, batting away weeds and stickerbushes along a swampy path.
After the Spanner ruling, police cracked down on S/M bars and parties nationwide.
The authors describe their new technique, which they dub a fiber-optic spanner (the British term for a wrench), in a paper published today in the Optical Society's (OSA) journal Optics Letters.
When we got in we noticed a very large spanner on the driver's dashboard.
TWO heroes used a belt, ropes and a spanner to save a pensioner from bleeding to death after she was hit by a lorry.
A SERVING soldier who was badly injured while on duty in Afghanistan attacked another man with a spanner after a night out.
Artists: TesseracT, Uneven Structure, Chimp Spanner Venue: Cockpit, Leeds Review by: Andy Duckworth HEADING out for their first headlining tour, having recently undergone a change in line-up, British neo-prog up-and-comers TesseracT could be forgiven for giving a less than stellar performance, given the circumstances.
It is made with an adjustable frame so when the child outgrows it, it can simply be adapted with a spanner.
THERE is nothing more annoying when working on a car than finding you can't quite get a spanner on to a nut because of other bits and pieces around it.
POLICE want to speak to these youths after a raid at a Coventry off-licence in which a worker was threatened with a spanner.
A MARRIED dad-to-be has been cleared of attacking another man with a spanner outside a Teesside pub.
Comma says that men are keen as ever to maintain their macho image, with a further 44 per cent preferring to risk injury by putting all their weight on a spanner to move it, and another six per cent kicking it before they ask for help.
The trouble with trying to remove a battery is that nobody has yet invented a spanner that fits battery terminal clamps.