put a spanner in(to) the works

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put a spanner in(to) the works

To disrupt, foil, or cause problems to a plan, activity, or project. We had everything in line for the party, but having the caterer cancel on us at the last minute really put a spanner in the works! It will really put a spanner into the works if the board decides not to increase our funding for this project. You would think the rise of cheap electric cars would put a spoke in Big Oil's wheel, but they actually seem to be embracing the change.
See also: put, spanner, work