Posted by Henry on May 29, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Down to the wire posted by ESC on May 27, 2003
: : : Greetings
: : : could anyone tell me the meaning and origin of "down to the wire"
: : It is generally attributed to the wire above the finishing line at a race course. The wire was to help judges decide close finishes. Decisions thus went down to the wire.
: Here's what it says in the archives, courtesy of "bob":
: Horse racing. A wire is stretched above the finish line so that a camera above can take a picture at the moment the first horse crosses to settle the order of finish even in a close race ... the metaphor is extended to many kinds of contest, including elections where one can win by a nose, get nosed out, finish out of the money, be an also-ran, and any of a number of race-related terms.
Be careful! Race-related terms are altogether different today.