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. (Touch paper is a strip of paper treated with potassium nitrate that is used as a fuse for explosives.) Primarily heard in UK. Their goal late in the first half seemed to light the blue touch paper for the team—they've 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 ?
I don't think at 56 I'm going to be lighting the touch paper of anybody's imagination." Nick has been linked to a string of women in the past.
In his final round, Tarren made a stuttering start with three hardfought pars before lighting the touch paper with back-to-back birdies at the 184-yard par-three fourth and 545-yard par-five fifth.
All was well but when Kevin Keegan publicly announced he was to send the full first team squad it was like lighting the touch paper. It meant for the vast majority of United fans the first opportunity to see new signings Ginola and Les Ferdinand.
It was an incredible finish to an absorbing battle between these two former European champions, with two tries inside the opening nine minutes lighting the touch paper.
The two sides met in game two and it was a close encounter with Matt Weaver lighting the touch paper for the Panthers only for Liam Farrell to pull it back for the Cougars.
6 Furry Vengeance (PG) A tenacious racoon and his forest friends, including a rowdy bear, fight back to protect their stomping ground, lighting the touch paper on a titanic battle between man and beast.
FURRY VENGEANCE (PG, 91 mins) Despite its mawkish sentiments, the kids will love this story of a tenacious racoon and his forest chums fighting back against real estate developer (Brendan Fraser, left) to protect their stomping ground, lighting the touch paper on a titanic battle between man and beast.
However, a tenacious raccoon and his forest friends, including a rowdy bear, fight back to protect their stomping ground, lighting the touch paper on a titanic battle between man and beast.
The St Helens stylist was promoted up into the top 10 in the British ratings following his heroics at York Hall, climbing from 28th place and, hopefully, lighting the touch paper on is pro career.
In June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, lighting the touch paper for the start of the First World War.
Keeping his composure, Porteous started the back nine with five successive pars before lighting the touch paper again for a fabulous birdie at the 514-yard par-five fifteenth - and at five under par, looked set for a comfortable sub-70 score.
go games." And lighting the touch paper for an explosive final day in the Championship, Bairns midfielder Kerr said: "At Easter Road we had boys coming up and apologising and saying they didn't say things in the papers.
However, a tenacious raccoon and his forest friends fight back to protect their stomping ground, lighting the touch paper on a titanic battle between man and beast.
When Dan's boss orders him to destroy vast swathes of the forest, a tenacious racoon and his forest friends, including a rowdy bear, fight back to protect their stomping ground, lighting the touch paper on a titanic battle between man and beast.