I was writing, and this happened:
It was a beautiful afternoon in mid-autumn, all chill air and dazzling sunlight.
Is X, all Y considered archaic? I use this construction occasionally, but it seems slightly purple if not actually downright old-fashioned. Then again, the more I speak with people from other areas, the more I realise why people call New England speech quaint!
For some reason I associate this usage of all with the use of full as an adverb meaning fully or the embodiment of; to me, X, all Y implies X is wholly given to or characterised by Y.
Chaucer provides the first example that comes to mind of the use of full I've mentioned:
Bifel that in that sesoun, on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
That is, with full(y) devout heart/spirit. Thoughts?