It's an Alphabet - Poker crossover event! The theme answers display, within the circled letters, the alpha equivalent of FULLHOUSE poker hands. I'm going with GRASSSEED for the win, as the S's are the "highest" in the alphabet. On the other hand, Scrabble-tile-wise, THREEEGGOMELET has the greatest point value (7 versus 5). I guess it's an OPENDEBATE.
Once again, I was duped by a self-referential clue, in this case,"Lots of fluff?" (EFFS). They get me every time. I thought this one was a pretty good exemplar of the genre. "Pictures created with needles, informally" (TATS) was nice twist on an old chestnut and "Throws on the floor?" (AREARUGS) was very clever, but today's ace in the hole has to be "Lip or cheek" (SASS) - ha!
Some of the fill also URNS praise:
SERAPHIC - you don't see that everyday, unfortunately. 😥
OOLONG - a nice product and a good looking word.
SLEUTH - nothing says Nancy Drew like this word. Am I right?
EXCORIATED - a personal favorite.
There were a couple of wild cards in the pack. I thought the clue/answer pairs "Startle" (ALARM) and "Ambience" (AURA) weren't perfect matches, but IBEX others will call me on that.