crunch time

a period of intense pressure; a critical situation: It's crunch time for high-tech companies. Compare crunch ( def 10 ).

1975–80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

crunch time

A period when pressure to succeed is great, often toward the end of an undertaking. For example, It's crunch timewe only have two more days to finish. This term employs crunch in the sense of "a critical situation or test." [Slang; 1970s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
It's not a huge time savings, but during crunch time on certain tasks, it makes
  a huge difference.
It's getting down to crunch time in the debt ceiling debate.
Dunlap, defensive teammates didn't disappoint in crunch time.
He took full advantage, was still out there in crunch time, and may have
  re-established himself in the rotation.
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