But conspiracy theorists will be hard put to connect the dots.
Well, after he sloped for the border Bonita an' I were hard put to it to keep alive.
But each man was hard put to it to check an expression of astonishment.
Fords talent for invention was deficient to the extent that he was hard put to it for plots.
"You will be hard put to it, with your nature, Charles," she told him critically.
Anyone trying to find a fresh discomfort for us now, that would make us wince, would have been hard put to it.
Whereupon I was hard put to explain that there was no room for him.
The Peasants are so hard put to it to preserve their Corn that they are oblig'd to watch it day and night.
When these became exhausted I was hard put for reading matter.
She burst into weeping, and sobbed so grievously that Robin was hard put to it to keep back his own tears.
Old English heard "solid, firm, not soft," also "severe, rigorous, cruel," from Proto-Germanic *hardu- (cf. Old Saxon and Dutch hard, Old Norse harðr "hard," Old High German harto "extremely, very," German hart, Gothic hardus "hard"), from PIE *kortu-, (cf. Greek kratos "strength," kratys "strong"), from root *kar-/*ker- "hard." Meaning "difficult to do" is from c.1200. The adverb sense was also present in Old English.
Hard of hearing preserves obsolete Middle English sense of "having difficulty in doing something." Hard liquor is 1879, American English (hard drink is from 1810; hard cider is from 1789), and this probably led to hard drugs (1955). Hard facts is from 1887; hard news is from 1938. Hard copy (as opposed to computer record) is from 1964; hard disk is from 1978. Hard up (1610s) is originally nautical, of steering (slang sense of "short of money" is from 1821), as is hard and fast (1680s), of a ship on shore. Hard times "period of poverty" is from 1705.
Hard money (1706) is specie, as opposed to paper. Hence 19c. U.S. hard (n.) "one who advocates the use of metallic money as the national currency" (1844). To play hard to get is from 1945. Hard rock as a pop music style recorded from 1967.