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Samantha Akkineni wore the hottest blue printed lehenga and you can’t miss it

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She is the hottest actor down south and her unique sartorial picks have a huge role to play in making her a household name. Besides being a talented actor, Samantha Akkineni is also a rising fashionista and she continues to slay one look at a time. We are currently crushing on her latest lehenga look, which is trendy and hot at the same time.

Last week, the actress was completely in a festive mood and shared a lot of pretty ethnic looks and one look that we totally loved was a printed lehenga worn by her.

Samantha stunned in a bright blue printed floral lehenga. The chiffon lehenga was courtesy designer, Mrunalini Rao and one of the prettiest printed ensembles that we have seen in a while.

Styled by Preetham Jukalker, Samantha finished her lehenga with a royal blue sleeveless choli.

The actress accessorised her ensemble with a statement choker and earrings. When it came to her make-up, the natural beauty stuck to a bold lip colour and a neat ponytail. She looked super hot and festive.

We loved Samantha’s blue lehenga look, tell us how did you like it in the comment section below.


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Rachel Roddy’s recipe for chestnut, mushroom and potato soup | Food

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We can’t eat the spiky-coated horse chestnuts scattered all over the piazza. Nor the mushrooms that suddenly billow like bald umbrellas at the base of the nearby trees. Both, however, are daily reminders that now is the time that their sweet and edible siblings can be bought at the market and in shops. Then there is Augusto’s cabinet at his restaurant La Torricella, filled, as it is every year, with chestnuts from trees on his land in the neighbouring region of Abruzzo. Only this isn’t every year.

Once I have seen them, chestnuts call out to me at this time of year. Maybe because I know that a kilo, scored around their curve and roasted until the nut tries to escape, a bottle of red wine and a bar of chocolate is such a balanced meal, with no washing up. I might be contradicting previous columns in being undecided as to what is best – roasting chestnuts in a frying pan (which requires a lot of shaking) or in the oven (which requires moderate shaking) – so I swing between the two. Either way, I tip the hot, roasted chestnuts into a brown paper bag, then wrap it in a tea towel for 15 minutes, in which time the heat turns to steam, which eases the shells away and makes them easier to peel.

Red wine also makes chestnuts easier to peel. Red wine for the peeler to drink, that is (though there are, in fact, several recipes for chestnuts boiled in red wine from Abruzzo). The enthusiasm you can summon for peeling nuts when they are for immediate consumption is quite incredible. As is the speed at which one can do so: it’s similar to what one friend calls the pistachio race – don’t stop until the bowl is empty.

It is hard to summon anything near the enthusiasm, or speed, for chestnut peeling when they are for a recipe, however. Which is where vacuum-packed chestnuts step in. Resembling tiny brains pressed against tight packets, they are the most brilliantly useful thing – for soup, stews, stuffings, cakes and puddings. Chestnut flour, too, is a brilliant store-cupboard ingredient, for adding (cautiously) to pasta dough, cakes and bread.

Today, though, a soup inspired by a chestnut, mushroom and potato soup we ate in Abruzzo several years ago (at the same meal, incidentally, as the mystic cherry liquor). Chestnuts function like beans in soup – that is, they are soft and substantial, but also floury – which can be turned up a notch by blending them, or some of them, to thicken the consistency. Porcini bring two things: their rich, leathery flesh and a well-flavoured broth, both a great match for chestnuts (what grows together, goes together). Porcini also love potatoes, which themselves are rarely a bad idea in soup.

You could add some pasta to this soup in the last minutes of cooking – orzo, broken tagliatelle, or maltagliati (offcuts of fresh egg pasta), though the exact cooking time will depend on the shape. Otherwise, croutons fried in a mix of butter and olive oil, or toast rubbed with garlic and zigzagged with olive oil are also good. As is a bottle of red wine.

Chestnut, porcini and potato soup

Serves 4

20g dried porcini
3 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
1 small onion,
peeled and diced
1 large potato
, peeled and diced
250g peeled chestnuts (use vacuum-packed ones, for ease)
Salt and black pepper

Soak the porcini in 500ml warm water for 30 minutes, then drain, reserving the soaking liquid, and roughly chop the porcini.

In a soup pan, warm the olive oil and butter, then fry the onion gently until soft. Add the potato, chestnuts and a pinch of salt, and cook for a minute more.

Make the porcini soaking liquid up to 1.2 litres by adding warm water, then add to the pan, along with another pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for 20 minutes.

If you want, take out half the soup, blend smooth, then return to the pan, to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking, and serve with toast.


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Crossword blog: the French don’t talk about brassières | Crosswords

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In the sample clues below, the links take you to explainers from our beginners’ series. The setter’s name often links to an interview with him or her, in case you feel like getting to know these people better.

The news in clues

There was an extra treat in a prize puzzle from Brendan. Here are the clues for the middle row:

17ac First to go on board with partners securing success (5)
[ wordplay: abbrevs for west and east (bridge ‘partners’) containing (‘securing’) synonym for ‘success’ ][ WE containing HIT ][ definition: first to go on (a chess) board ]

19ac Ordinary man’s book abridged (3)
[ wordplay: book of the Bible without its last letter (‘abridged’) ][ JOEL – L ][ definition: ordinary man ]

20ac Legislative assembly, in practice, following call to attend (5)
[ wordplay: synonym for ‘practice’, after (‘following’) call demanding attention ][ USE after HO ][ definition: legislative assembly ]

And here’s what you saw:

Guardian prize puzzle 28,291 by Brendan.
Guardian prize puzzle 28,291 by Brendan.

That makes a change, doesn’t it? Because it’s a prize puzzle, there’s a full explanation of all the other answers, of which many are also thematic, in the annotated solution.

Latter patter

Here’s the first clue from a quiptic, the Guardian’s weekly “puzzle for beginners and those in a hurry”. It’s by Carpathian:

1ac Support section of the orchestra that is backing the Queen (9)
[ wordplay: one part of orchestra, then abbrev. meaning ‘that is’ after (‘backing’) abbrev. for Elizabeth Regina (‘the Queen’) ][ BRASS, then IE after ER ][ definition: support ]

As new solvers soon learn, “support” in a crossword often indicates a BRA, here in its fullest form BRASSIERE, as the French say. Or rather, as they don’t, as learners of French soon discover, wondering why the English word looks so French when the lingerie shops of Paris talk of the soutien-gorge.

It’s really an American word: needing some term to describe this novel device, advertisers and magazines at the turn of the century reached for a French word which, my Petit Robert tells me, was then used for an infant’s shirt …

Petite chemise de bebe
From Le Petit Robert

… which combines euphemism with aren’t-foreigners-fancy? in a way we haven’t seen since we opened the kimono. Let’s stick with underwear for our next challenge. It’s also been used as a phrase for a long table, a kind of doughnut and a tall tree, and the etymologist Michael Quinion thinks it might be a tribute to the boxer John L Sullivan: reader, how would you clue LONG JOHNS?

Puzzling elsewhere

Enigmatist sets quizzes as well as puzzles, and as you would expect if you’ve solved his crosswords, they involve cryptic and lateral thinking. This year, they have of course moved online and they support a different charity every Tuesday evening.

If you follow @enigmatistelgar and/or @OldDairyN4Quiz on Twitter today, you’ll see the details for tomorrow. This has been going on since 1987, or as Enigmatist describes it: “when Only Connect was but a glint in the milkman’s eye”. There is indeed a lot of connecting to be done.

Cluing competition

Many thanks for your clues for BOVVER. Chameleon takes the audacity award, not because the wily Smylers got there earlier, but for the business of slicing a W into Vs in “Trouble as violinist is broken-hearted”. It must be said that “Over-55 shielding inside as autumn months end, resulting in aggravation” is neither unaudacious, nor Montano’s only topical reference.

The runners-up are Phitonelly, who uses “drunk” not in the normal way in “Frightful bore, very, very drunk, causing trouble on the street” and Catarella’s “Gove’s content to back British minister over bullying”; the winner is Flatrod’s calming “Not taking sides – above every sort of aggro”.

Kludos to Flatrod; please leave entries for this fortnight’s competition – and your picks from the broadsheet cryptics – below. And our latest offering of Healing Music Recorded in 2020 to Accompany a Solve or Even Listen to comes from a near-empty Wigmore Hall.

Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Huw Watkins perform Beethoven, Huw Watkins, Janácek and Knussen.

Clue of the Fortnight

I was reminded of our lively discussion about whether the nine of diamonds (or a tasty sandwich) counts as “a thing” by a clue from Vlad.

1/18ac He dealt with state affairs a lot – wrong description of Boris? (1,6,2,2,5,3)
[ wordplay: anagram (‘dealt’) of HESTATEAFFAIRSALOT, then X (‘wrong’) ][ definition: description of Boris Johnson]

The answer, A FATHER OF AT LEAST SIX, was not coined specially for the puzzle: you can find it in the wild, describing not just Johnson but also various hip-hop artists and a promiscuous Spanish playwright. It’s certainly not in the dictionary, but: who would want to deny solvers the pleasure of Vlad’s reveal?

My first puzzle collection, The Shipping Forecast Puzzle Book, can be ordered from the Guardian Bookshop, and is partially but not predominantly cryptic

Here is a collection of all our explainers, interviews and other helpful bits and bobs



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My boy has become the great dictator, laying claim to whatever takes his fancy | Parents and parenting

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My son has recently become a boy king, owner of all he surveys. ‘MY bag’, ‘MY dinner’ and especially ‘MY train.’ He says the latter in relation to the battery of small locomotives he carries about his person at all times, just so he can loudly declare them his property to anyone nearby.

In those cases, at least, he’s speaking accurately. Those are his trains and we have the receipts to prove it. Such claims get slightly less defensible when he says the same about actual, people-carrying trains. Sometimes I bring him down to the platform just so he can settle his nerves. ‘MY train,’ he snarls cheerfully to random strangers as they disembark, generating a pleasant response from people who don’t know him well enough to recognise the avarice behind these words.

Before I had kids, I always hated parents who laughed off kids’ antisocial behaviour as normal, because I didn’t find my shins being kicked quite so quirkily delightful as they did. Now, I go too far the other way, apologising for my son’s strops every few seconds. ‘I’m sorry,’ I’ll say to the shopkeeper, as my son shouts, ‘MY chocolate!’ sweeping the lower shelves with an arm. ‘He thinks he’s emperor of the universe.’

We know it’s normal and try to speak to him, softly but firmly, about the need to share. But this feels like trying to stop a speeding train with a thoughtfully worded poem. I’m informed that tantrums of this sort are a key step in grappling with your identity as an individual. As heartening as that sounds, it’s hard to chalk this behaviour up as a necessary stage of development when you’re the person introducing this shouting, 2ft-tall oligarch to public spaces.

It puts me in mind of something I call the Parenting Problem Paradox. This operates in stark contrast to the better-known ‘Dr Google Paradox’, which states that any medical ailment you have – a light sweat, a sore knee – is always fatal. ‘Ah, a chesty cough AND a stiff wrist?’ your search results will solemnly intone, ‘let’s just say I wouldn’t be buying any green bananas if I were you.’

The Parenting Problem Paradox goes the opposite way; the more you research any antisocial childhood behaviour, the more the internet will try to convince you that everything bad is perfectly normal. Lying? Creative cognition! Biting? Assertive dominance! Killing small animals and arranging their skulls in pyramids? A subversive artistic streak!

It’s not that I want my son to have some specific personality disorder, I’d just rather there were better, more lasting remedies to his tantrums than telling him sharing is good and waiting it all out. But that’s where we are at. Waiting, on a platform near our house with nowhere to go, my son lightly simmering as the trains steam by.

‘MY trains.’ he reminds me loudly, as they chug on past regardless.


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