Put The Screws Meaning

(idiomatic) To apply pressure (to something)

Example: 1962, John F. Kennedy, quoted in 2003 by Sheldon M. Stern in Averting 'the Final Failure': John F. Kennedy and the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis meetings (ISBN 0804748462):
  If in fact […] they put the screws on Berlin in the way that Gromyko said they were going to, then we are... I know that we were bound to invade Cuba under those conditions.
2013 October 13, Erik Adams, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Lisa’s Wedding” (season six, episode 19; originally aired 3/19/1995)”[1], The Onion AV Club:
  Near the end of a year when Fox was putting the screws to The Simpsons, the extra effort required of “Lisa’s Wedding” was justly rewarded, earning the episode the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animation.