N Candy AA II: Round of 64, Flight 4
October 21, 2010

Last night, I binged on Nibs, mini-Twix, mini-peanut M&Ms, and then more Nibs. All before dinner. I don't think we need to worry about having too much leftover Halloween candy since I'm now worried we'll run through this before trick-or-treaters even hit our front door.

Confused? Hungry? Searching for answers? Look no further. Bracket is here, voting is now.

1 Twizzlers/Nibs vs. 16 Liquorice All-Sorts. I would really love to vote for the bottom seed, because I extra-love black licorice, and in a perfect world, I wouldn't have to choose between the perfectly textured, densely chewy Nib and the annoyingly spelled All-Sort. [Don't you mean Liquorice All-Barfs? Black licorice is one candy that actually makes my physically ill. Meanwhile, Twizzlers are my absolute favorites. --Keckler] (At Candy Mountain in Toronto, I didn't have to choose; their bulk Nibs came in red and black.) But choose I must, I suppose, and I choose Twizzlers. You can use them as straws and they offer a chocolate flavor. Also, almost everyone else hates black licorice. We're done here.

8 PayDay vs. 9 Dots. PayDay's late-'80s ad jingle, accompanied by animated footage of gorillas and elephants freaking out on a sugar high, is a horrendous earwig. "Totally nuts! Totally nuts about Paaay-DAAAAAAAY!" The PayDay itself is really good, though; it's like peanut brittle, but fatter (PayDay is sweeter than the Planter's version), and it's not everyone's thing, but I like them. Dots, however, can shut up, especially the "fun" size, which comes in the tiny boxes that frequently contain only one measly Dot, or two Dots fused together like Chang and Eng…Dot. Not that you want more Dots than that, because it's like chewing a wad of rubber cement, except less tasty. ["Nooooo! Dots are my go-to movie candy! Their lime is the best lime candy I've ever had. But I agree on the fun size asshattery." --Keckler]

5 Kraft caramels vs. 12 Nips. Ooh, a tough one. I like a Nip well enough (hew), especially the coffee flavor, and Nips come in enough varieties that it could carry the day -- but I'm voting for Kraft caramels, which have the perfect consistency and shape (aw, teeny cubes!) and fetched a premium in the post-trick-or-treat trade market. Their only down side: the wrapper sometimes got caught in a fold of caramel (hew) and I had to waste precious time extracting it. (…Or to risk my life by eating it anyway. Hey, I was in a hurry!) I also associate Nips -- wrongly, I know -- with those creepy chocolate Riesen ads where the grandma seemed to be having inappropriate feelings about her grandson and her candy. Hew.

4 Swedish Fish vs. 13 Cow Tales. We probably should have listed Cow Tales and bull's-eyes together; a Cow Tale is basically a bull's-eye in braid/tube form. (Or in strawberry form…? I can understand the caramel-apple flavor, I guess, kind of, but the strawberry verzh is baffling to me.) I love me a bull's-eye, too, but for some reason, the proportions in a Cow Tale are somewhat off. So is the spelling: why "Tale"? It's supposed to look like a tail, obvi; are children meant to enjoy it while telling stories around the campfire?

It's not like Swedish Fish actually come from Sweden, so that isn't a hair worth splitting, in the end…and yes, we considered putting the Fish in the Gummiverse, but I maintain that SFs do taste different from their Gummi/Haribo equivalents. I sprained my jaw trying to chew a stale Fish (hew) last year, but I still love those sweet little guppies. I'm betting y'all agree (and that many of you are grossed out by the "crème" -- hew -- in Cow Tales). ["Wait, Swedish Fish aren't Swedish?!" --Keckler]

6 Jelly Bellies vs. 11 Chuckles. Jelly Bellies will win handily, no doubt, and I don't dislike them -- well, the popcorn ones are deeee-sgusting -- but I don't really care that much about jellybeans generally. I like the big white vanilla ones, I like the black licorice ones, and the others, whatever. Chuckles, I actually buy, even though the green one is clearly some kind of stealth marketing campaign for Lysol. What busted corner of the Edison, NJ flavor lab did that thing creep out of, seriously? "Okay, the mint/lime combo isn't quite working, but if we add a top note of mercurochrome, the kids'll LOVE it"? All the other Chuckles rock my world, however, especially Big Black -- and if you feel strongly about the absence of spearmint leaves or orange slices, 1) I love those too, and I'm sorry, and 2) you are hereby given leave to vote for Chuckles in their stead if you would like.

But they still won't win. Sigh.

3 candy corn vs. 14 Laffy Taffy. If we could rank things higher than 1, I would have ranked candy corn there. It is so good; it is so perfectly chewy. It has a hint of creamsicle to it, and you know how I feel about those. Laffy Taffy, meanwhile, is stupidly named and tastes like dirty Tupperware regardless of the flavor (except, strangely, for the banana kind, which can usually be counted on to be the most revolting of any given candy style). And when you do find yourself forced by mid-afternoon-snack circumstances to settle for an LT, it takes heroic acts of laparoscopy just to get the goddamn wrapper off. ["I can't eat Laffy Taffy after seeing my older sister barf purple into the tub post-grape LT binge." --Keckler] I know some people super-hate the corn, but fuck that.

7 fruit slices vs. 10 Lemonheads/lemon drops. Lemonheads are fine, I've got nothing against them, but I just ordered a five-pound bag of the little kosher fruit guys from Candy Direct. This is called "dinner." I defy your petty judgments; end of discussion.

2 Starburst vs. 15 Choward's Violet. I really like the CV gum, despite its tendency to deflavorize milliseconds after it's moist enough (hew) to actually chew on; the candy is just okay. But Starburst is straight-up brilliant. I remember when they introduced the cherry flavor and how much discussion that caused among me and my friends, because we prized the strawberry 'bursts above all others, and we looked forward to an equally transporting experience with the new pale-pink 'burst cube. It's not as good, but it's one of the few cherry-flavored candies I can stand, and if you tuck a lemon Starburst into your molars and drink a vodka tonic through it, friends, you are in for a treat. It wouldn't surprise me if Starburst won the whole shooting match; it wins here handily.

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