a devil of a time

a devil of a time

and the devil of a time
n. a very difficult time. I had a devil of a time with my taxes.
See also: devil, of, time
References in classic literature ?
I was observing at the time and I couldn't make out what the fuss was about; but they seemed to be having a devil of a time in a section of trench on their left.
You've been a devil of a time," said Griffiths, with a smile of welcome.
So, sir," said Wemmick, smiling again, but seriously too, as he shook his head, "if you can suppose the little place besieged, it would hold out a devil of a time in point of provisions.