Interested in Language
"Inside, the speeches were almost too clever by half, as if the grand auditions for Oscar voters were in full affect" (From the Dictionary.com website.)
What does the phrase "too clever by half" exactly mean and what does it mean to be "in full affect" in the above sentence?
I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.
It's idiomatic. It means to be too confident or proud of one's supposed wit or intelligence, to the point that it's irritating or obnoxious. It can also carry connotations of deception or deviousness rather than actual intelligence.
In other words the speeches were so pompous they were irritating and obnoxious.
'in full effect' means in full swing, or well underway, at the busiest point.