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 for down to the wire
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Wire \Wire\ (w[imac]r), n. [OE. wir, AS. wir; akin to Icel.
     v[imac]rr, Dan. vire, LG. wir, wire; cf. OHG. wiara fine
     gold; perhaps akin to E. withy. [root]141.]
     [1913 Webster]
     1. A thread or slender rod of metal; a metallic substance
        formed to an even thread by being passed between grooved
        rollers, or drawn through holes in a plate of steel.
        [1913 Webster]
     Note: Wire is made of any desired form, as round, square,
           triangular, etc., by giving this shape to the hole in
           the drawplate, or between the rollers.
           [1913 Webster]
     2. A telegraph wire or cable; hence, an electric telegraph;
        as, to send a message by wire. [Colloq.]
        [1913 Webster]
     3. Chiefly in pl. The system of wires used to operate the
        puppets in a puppet show; hence (Chiefly Political Slang),
        the network of hidden influences controlling the action of
        a person or organization; as, to pull the wires for
        office; -- in this sense, synonymous with strings.
        [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]
     4. One who picks women's pockets. [Thieves' Slang]
        [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
     5. A knitting needle. [Scot.]
        [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
     6. A wire stretching across over a race track at the judges'
        stand, to mark the line at which the races end. [Racing
        [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
     Wire bed, Wire mattress, an elastic bed bottom or
        mattress made of wires interwoven or looped together in
        various ways.
     Wire bridge, a bridge suspended from wires, or cables made
        of wire.
     Wire cartridge, a shot cartridge having the shot inclosed
        in a wire cage.
     Wire cloth, a coarse cloth made of woven metallic wire, --
        used for strainers, and for various other purposes.
     Wire edge, the thin, wirelike thread of metal sometimes
        formed on the edge of a tool by the stone in sharpening
     Wire fence, a fence consisting of posts with strained
        horizontal wires, wire netting, or other wirework,
     Wire gauge or Wire gage.
        (a) A gauge for measuring the diameter of wire, thickness
            of sheet metal, etc., often consisting of a metal
            plate with a series of notches of various widths in
            its edge.
        (b) A standard series of sizes arbitrarily indicated, as
            by numbers, to which the diameter of wire or the
            thickness of sheet metal in usually made, and which is
            used in describing the size or thickness. There are
            many different standards for wire gauges, as in
            different countries, or for different kinds of metal,
            the Birmingham wire gauges and the American wire gauge
            being often used and designated by the abbreviations
            B. W. G. and A. W. G. respectively.
     Wire gauze, a texture of finely interwoven wire, resembling
     Wire grass (Bot.), either of the two common grasses
        Eleusine Indica, valuable for hay and pasture, and Poa
        compressa, or blue grass. See Blue grass.
     Wire grub (Zool.), a wireworm.
     Wire iron, wire rods of iron.
     Wire lathing, wire cloth or wire netting applied in the
        place of wooden lathing for holding plastering.
     Wire mattress. See Wire bed, above.
     Wire micrometer, a micrometer having spider lines, or fine
        wires, across the field of the instrument.
     Wire nail, a nail formed of a piece of wire which is headed
        and pointed.
     Wire netting, a texture of woven wire coarser than ordinary
        wire gauze.
     Wire rod, a metal rod from which wire is formed by drawing.
     Wire rope, a rope formed wholly, or in great part, of
     down to the wire, up to the last moment, as in a race or
        competition; as, the two front runners were neck-and-neck
        down to the wire. From wire[6].
     under the wire, just in time; shortly before the deadline;
        as, to file an application just under the wire.
        [1913 Webster]
        [1913 Webster]

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