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A grandmother is going to a store and making a list of what to buy. She's discussing the list with her friend.

Candy. I'll buy messy candy. That's what my grandchildren would like. Messy candy. If you'd had grandchildren, Mellie, they'd have been children who never ate between meals, who were sickly.

Now, basically, dictionaries indicate that "messy" is somethning dirty or causing a mess. But the last sentense makes me think that "messy" could mean some sort of food which makes children not "sickly", but roly-poly or something.

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If you have ever seen what a small child looks like after eating anything that contains chocolate... that's what messy means.

Like this...

enter image description here

I think that the comment about sickly is a criticism of Mellie's potential abilities as a grandparent, and does not relate in any way to the sweets.

  • A picture paints a thousand words. – V.V. Dec 3 '16 at 11:20
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"messy candy" means, to the grandmother, a specific candy, which in all probability is, itself, messy.

There is, for example, a dessert called "Eton Mess". It is broken fragments of meringue mixed messily into a gloopy mixture of cream and pulped (and/or chopped) berries.

The candy is likely to have a disordered, untidy or confused appearance, but there's an outside chance it simply makes a mess when eaten, and an even slimmer chance it is served in a pulpy state.

But "messy candy" is just a specific type of candy, as are rock candy, boilings, tablet, toffee, hard candy, etc.

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