play hell with something

play hell with something

or

play merry hell with something

mainly BRITISH
If one thing plays hell with another or plays merry hell with another, the first thing has a bad effect on the second one or causes great confusion. Divorce and remarriage play hell with property and inheritance law. Slugs play merry hell with growing plants.
See also: hell, play, something

play (merry) ˈhell with somebody/something

(British English, informal) disturb, upset or trouble somebody/something very much: These storms play merry hell with our TV reception.