On looking at this on Sunday, I almost gave up without trying. “Printer's Devilry”?! Where do you even start?
Well, after thinking about the basic approach to clues (find the bit in them that looks even weirder than the rest), and doing my level best not to think of any of the clue as a definition... I started with
As soon as the teacher's goon is finished (9)
The weirdest bit in that is definitely “goon”. As soon as the teacher's go, as soon as the teacher's goNE aha. As soon as the teacher's goNE, THE LESSon is finished. Well that makes sense. And Chambers (1993) is happy that NETHELESS is a word, so off we go. Last to fall was 24dn (DALILA), which was the only word in the dictionary; only after its entry did I find ameDAL I LAnded.
- 1ac: Anyone who's awASTER IS Making too little of his life
- 6ac: Some early Huguenot insurgents were known as cAMISards; ref. Camisard
- 10ac: In such, a new developMENT A LISTed building cannot be modified
- 11ac: Did guilt-ridden Paris cry, ‘Pleas forgive, heLEN I ENTreat’?
- 13ac: I always enjoy my mEAL Eating heartily
- 14ac: CHARET: Archaic horse-drawn vehicle
- 15ac: As soon as the teacher's goNE THE LESSon is finished
- 16ac: Devoted to the cap he wears? His beRET IN All weathers
- 18ac: A well-known liAR TAking? Few for a ride
- 20ac: He likes to think he is a good saxophonist but he isnO BECHE't
- 22ac: After a rouch voyage there's many a boSUN DRInking in the quayside inn!
- 25ac: There are many for whoM A NEAT INGle fireplace – really sets off a cosy room
- 28ac: A skilful drover's soon coaxed into rUN A BLEating flock
- 29ac: Increased taxation, waS LIMiting for businesses eager to grow
- 30ac: ‘I really fancy a soldier,’ she said, ‘It's NO TAR I NEed!’
- 31ac: TriBAL LAD IS Teste don? His ability to survive alone in the jungle!
- 32ac: Single scroungers are perhaps forced to bEG ALone
- 33ac: Venues like this: PLACE RAN Top shows for months on end
- 1dn: The new mini model is too small to give my lanky PAL LEGROom
- 2dn: We should make lots in renT ON LETting our second property
- 3dn: Bare hillsides are not tREED ENough to prevent soil erosion
- 4dn: Mums will take drastic action if their kids gaIN NITs at school
- 5dn: The main character in the filM AS HERe portrayed differs a lot from the book
- 6dn: Cruise passengers often like towALK A LINer's deck
- 7dn: Was your entry perMIT REceived in time to ensure access
- 8dn: Not many points were scored – juST A Try unconverted
- 9dn: Police announcing new anti-crime drive – won't pLEASE BANDits?
- 12dn: In the foREST RAIN Tre, espied wagtails (rarely spotted); “trees” used as verb
- 17dn: Pearl fishers may be fine for some but I prefer a nICE BALLet; ref. Pearl Fishers
- 19dn: Will the efforts of ACAS prevent the rALIMEN Taking action?; ref. ACAS
- 21dn: He's the man, she swears – she sHALL ALways love
- 23dn: Over AdUNE A SEa, Holly grows wild; ref. sea holly
- 24dn: Despite commendation for my race performance, it wasn't ameDAL I LAnded
- 26dn: Noble bearing ensures AmaN A BLAzon
- 27dn: BasIC TICket prices won't get you into the favoured spots
- 28dn: Park rangers tagging wildlife only aim to stUN BEars
I think I'd previously been reluctant to engage with Printer's Devilry crosswords before, because they felt qualitatively different from regular cryptic crosswords, and in particular the lack of a definition put me off. But on mature reflection I can see the analogy, and it seems to me that going about solving a PD puzzle depends on the same kinds of ability to handle words as sequences of letters and words as meaningful entities. Let's say I'm open-minded towards them.
My attempt at a clue for 14ac: I come top – I turn to greatness / I come to pitCH A RETurn to greatness. Which is not great, but it at least follows the rules.
Three in a row!