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Difference between Go down to the wire and Go under the wire

go down to the wire —(also: come down to the wire) continue to the very last moment or the very end:

  • The game will go down to the wire but in the end the Uconn Huskies should pull away as national champions.

go under the wire —(also: come under the wire)

1. be at the finishing-line of a racecourse:

  • Like an irresistible, perfect piece of mechanism she sailed on; and went under the wire a clear winner….

2. come at the last possible moment:

  • It was not front page news and I guess went under the wire many places. The timing of this announcement was indeed bad.

3. get free from detention camp (surrounded by barbed wire) by flight:

  • He hasn’t assimilated. He doesn’t want to be here. And he might go under the wire first chance he gets.