During the development of multicellular organisms, many events occur with precise timing. In Drosophila melanogaster, pupation occurs about 12 h after puparium formation and its timing is believed to be determined by the release of a steroid hormone, ecdysone (E), from the prothoracic gland. Here, we demonstrate that the ecdysone-20-monooxygenase Shade determines pupation timing by converting E to 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) in the fat body, which is the organ that senses nutritional status. The timing of shade expression is determined by its transcriptional activator βFtz-f1. The βftz-f1 gene is activated after a decline in the expression of its transcriptional repressor Blimp-1, which is temporally expressed around puparium formation in response to a high titer of 20E. The expression level and stability of Blimp-1 is critical for the precise timing of pupation. Thus, we propose that Blimp-1 molecules function like sand in an hourglass in this precise developmental timer system. Furthermore, our data suggest that a biological advantage results from both the use of a transcriptional repressor for time determination and the association of developmental timing with nutritional status of the organism.