tighten the screws
see under turn up the heat.
9 Synonyms For “Screwing Up”We’ve all had moments where we’ve really and truly screwed something up. An epic mistake (OK, maybe not on a historic, global scale like the February 26, 2017 Oscars). But still, we’re human, and mistakes do happen. There are a lot of words to describe things going south in a hurry. We’ve gathered a few here. You’ll notice they’re all very close in definition. Maybe …
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.