How much information does a definition need to convey, and how far does a question mark go toward allowing it to stretch? For me, the two main considerations are the clarity of the wordplay and how common the intended meaning is. I think some might argue that there’s a missing “e.g.,” here to go with “Denver,” but I think the ? works as intended in telling you that it’s not your standard Denver, and if you get that far (and eat breakfast out every now and again) you’ll probably crack (the egg) of this clue: O(MELE[-e])T. I also loved 5D, Match made in beer garden, going head over heels (5), because it takes two romantic bits–“match” and “head over heels”–and uses them in another sense, once as an indicator and once as a definition: bEER GArden<. And of course, I will continue to advocate for the type of wordplay seen in13D, Chargrilled bit of nutmeg added to dressing (5). “Chargrill” may be a compound word, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still address each part separately, and the flavorful surface really sells it: RA(N)CH*. I think that’s probably better than having to put some chopped char (and nutmeg) in a dressing, but I’m not a gourmand.
- Kyle Dolan, Beneath the Surface Midi #4, 3/14/23