light the blue touch paper

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light the (blue) touch paper

To do something that instigates or initiates some intense or widespread action or reaction. Primarily heard in UK. Their goal late in the first half seemed to light the blue touch paper for the team, as they have shown much more energy and aggression on the pitch since then. The proposed law has lit the touch paper for activists, who have been gathering people and resources to protest it en masse.
See also: light, paper, touch

light the blue touch paper

or

light the touch paper

BRITISH
If someone lights the blue touch paper or lights the touch paper, they do or say something which causes people to react in an angry or violent way. This kind of remark is guaranteed to light the blue touch paper with some Labour politicians. Tension between them had been building up for weeks. All it took was Mason to light the touch paper and stand back. Note: The touch paper on a firework is a small piece of dark blue paper attached to one end. When it is lit, it burns slowly until it sets off the firework.
See also: blue, light, paper, touch
References in periodicals archive ?
RAHEEM STERLING has revealed how hours of practice on the training ground helped him light the touch paper on a memorable win over Manchester City.
A team turning out at St James' Park in redand-white stripes could light the touch paper and produce fireworks and I am going to take Alan Pardew's side at 15/8 to brush Mark Hughes' Potters aside by winning at half-time and full-time.
As the recent Arab Spring has highlighted, youths spraying anti-government graffiti, a man setting himself alight or local show of discontent, is all it takes to light the touch paper.
Announcing her dubstep and grime credentials in bold style, her soon-to-bereleased mixtape Prepare4WhenILand should light the touch paper before her major label debut.
Or do we need to light the touch paper and blaze a trail?
I could tell you every team where there's a few who light the touch paper.
Both actions failed to light the touch paper and Nottingham took a fourgoal lead into the break after Stephen Lee scored from the point.
The other strikers have had chances in the early days of the season, and we've waited for someone to light the touch paper.
And she believes the governor feels a large rate cut would simply light the touch paper on inflation - which is by far the Bank's biggest fear.
And to light the touch paper ahead of the clash, Wedi 7 will hold interviews with both coaches and hear about Sir Clive's own Lions experiences as a player when he roomed with the then Welsh captain Ray Gravell.
That, though, seemed to light the touch paper for Moseley, who began what should have been a glorious revival.
We've waited a week for Sri Lanka to light the touch paper and today is the ideal opportunity to put England firmly in their place.
Victory for Mathews could light the touch paper on a memorable weekend for the city with his beloved Liverpool facing Newcastle United less than 24 hours later in the final game of the Premier League season.