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nuts and bolts, the

The essential or basic aspects of something, as in They have lofty goals but don't specify the nuts and bolts of how to achieve them. This expression alludes to basic working components of machinery. [ Mid-1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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