I have found in a dictionary the meanings of the idiom "make a meal (out) of something":
P5. to make a (also †one's) meal of:
a. To consume as a meal, to devour; (in extended use) to take advantage of, exploit, ravage, etc.
b. fig. To treat with undue fuss or attention, esp. for effect; to make (a task, etc.) unduly laborious.
["make, v.1". OED Online. March 2016. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/112645?rskey=KbJCp2&result=2&isAdvanced=true (accessed March 11, 2016).]
What I would like to know is whether I understand correctly that the inserted expression "something of a" does not modify the meaning of the original substantially, i.e., it only weakens the original idiom.
I want to be certain that I correctly understand this sentence:
Indeed, one way to sum up Mackie's argument [...] is to say that Russell made something of a meal out of 2+2=4.
(Mathematics, Education and Philosophy: An International Perspective, 1994, edited by Paul Ernest, p.30.)