Tony Green asks:

“The thinking woman’s guide to fashion” (Cover, 19 February). Surely the most oxymoronic headline yet, given that the point of fashion is to mindlessly spend money on whatever you’re told you should be wearing?

Not at all! So many things are “in fashion” at any one time that spending money on them mindlessly would be impossible for all but the very wealthy. For most people, it’s necessary to make choices about particular trends and decisions about how to respond to them, which intrinsically requires a degree of thought.

If Tony wants evidence that it’s possible to think deeply about fashion, he might like to have a look at the work of  historians like James Laver and Heather Vaughan, philosophers like Malcolm Barnard and Lars Svendsen, and novelists like William Gibson.

Emma Smith asks:

Re Which royal are you? (19 February). Carole and Pippa Middleton – royals? Are you kidding me?!

It doesn’t seem that the Guardian set out specifically to kid Emma, or anyone else for that matter, but their flowchart certainly uses an unorthodox definition of “royals”: roughly “people who are at least slightly well-known, and loosely connected to the royal family”. In a more formal context, readers could certainly expect them to be more rigorous with the term!

Katherine Schofield asks:

Want to play our Yotam Ottolenghi game? From the title of the recipe, guess which impossible-to-buy ingredient will be included. Last week, verjuice and sumac. This week…

Sure! When we gave the game a try,  we guessed that Blood Orange and Anchovy Salad would include a fermented anchovy sauce, and that Crunchy Root Vegetables would include a particularly arcane type of squash. Unfortunately we lost both games: the first recipe suggested a particular, and slightly hard-to-source, type of anchovy, but gave details of a website where the brand could be ordered; and the second included kohlrabi, a cabbage cultivar.

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