Yesterday, for the first time in months, I completed the daily Guardian cryptic crossword – all on my own, without a dictionary or Google, and before I’d even reached the station for the train journey home. I was suitably flushed. Even better, it was set by the crème de la crème of setters, Araucaria, and featured a signature Very Long Answer. This anagram – 8 words comprising 33 letters – once solved provided a useful hoard of checked letters, which enabled me to solve my favourite clue from the puzzle:
Mary’s third keeps dog in order — good news about her and another James? (4,5,4)
BOTH DOING WELL
The explanation: Mary Queen of Scots’ third husband was James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell; “dog in” order = doing; and “good news about her and another James?” refers to Mary and her son, James VI, and therefore an expression for mother and child.