1. Unit of rock strata ERATHEM The competition word has a fairly friendly structure. Clue-writers will probably find themselves choosing between a word ending in -ERA and one starting with THEM-, or both, in the undevilled reading.
6. Showing kind Nes/tor will always encourage pupils SAMEN ‘Kindness’ is easy to spot, but the rest is more elusive.
10. As craftsmen they are trained in t/ally, well qualified HEART-SORE Longer words are always harder to solve in P.D., especially when they break down into several smaller words in the undevilled reading, as there are many ways it could go.
11. Those naughty kids have got involved in ar/k ASHLAR
12. We now have moles in the garden, a nex/t nuisance TRAPES One of the less fluent undevilled readings (‘an extra pest nuisance’), but Azed sets this bar particularly high.
13. You’ll find what chef calls far/e (king of garlic stuffing) CIRE (…farci reeking…) Dr Watson spotted this one straight off. ‘Stuffing’ was the giveaway.
16. Downing his last pin/ts alone in the empty bar TSOTSI The repetition of ‘pint(s)’ isn’t ideal, but could have been hard to avoid. Azed has devilled TSOTSI a number of times in his career.
17. As drum-major he carries the b/one ATONAL Another word with a long pedigree in P.D. puzzles.
19. Not being judg/e – nothing objectionable in others’ deeds MENTALISE This is the solution not in Chambers. ‘Judgmental’ is well spotted.
20. The army receives pay increase so batta/s are lifted LIONHEART The insertion point is easy to find. Just a question of which LION- word makes most sense.
25. A citizen of Kolkata by the maid/s around ANIMES (…maidan I mess…) A tough solve unless you’re familiar with ‘maidan’, an urban open space in India.
26. If I l/ope, regularly for wild-life programme MANTEL A good example of the devilled reading making less sense than the undevilled.
29. Never having said goodbye, he’s just sto/ut LENO
30. This is where I go out, and by this do/er ORIENT
31. After diagnosis of this a de/mise is unlikely NOMADE An adenoma is a type of benign growth.
32. The troops were ordered to sur/round offensive RENDERING P.D.s are often most satisfying when the insertion point sits inside a longer word.
33. The area offers pres/entable flats for high earners TIGER A great penny-drop here when ‘prestige’ is spotted.
34. I’ve rarely heard magistrates criticis/e in summing up MASTERS Fellow solvers have pointed out that TIGER and MASTERS in the bottom row is surely a reference to Tiger Woods’ appearance in the US Masters golf a week after the puzzle appeared. AMEN in the top right corner may also be a message of support.
1. We’re worried about her – she’s be/ing strange of late ENACT A smooth piece of devilry, though without much change in meaning.
2. My passionate secretary shows heart with love’s fi/ling RESISTING It needs a passionate secretary to contain the sense of both readings.
3. After shower every morning one’s in b/ed, ripping? ATHROB It’s good to be able extract the solution from a single word occasionally.
4. One strains to over/tones, keen to join in HEARSE (…overhear set one’s…)
5. With inexperienced cast I f/ound inarticulate EARLINESS Dr Watson was certain the insertion point would be in the final word, so it took a while to work this one out.
6. The cameramen need the ro/ller for extra height STRATA (…rostra taller…)
7. W/ing lost in church crisis ÅSAR A short clue, but it gives nothing away on first reading. ‘Church crisis’ is a bit of a vague context for the loss of a ring.
8. In TV cookery programme chef shows his de/n, starting recipe MOPANI A demo pan is something no TV chef should be without.
9. It’s better to keep ho/t pork pies, undermine one’s reputation NESTLES The way a P.D. should be done, with a lovely pun on ‘pork pies’.
14. Furious madam at her toilet fired tal/l domestic! CATAMENIA Another classic type of P.D. with a comic and just about plausible scenario established for the undevilled reading, in this case a madam firing talc.
15. Verily they approached us with gentle words and low/ly responded EASTENDER The opening ‘verily’ sets up the sentence for the ‘lo’ that’s needed later.
18. The safari guide had to finish off – I’m p/ally, wounded ALAMORT The poor impala had no chance of remaining hidden, though it’s initially a guess as to where in ‘pal’ the solution fits..
21. Wretches collecting rock fragments t/ravel pits OILING
22. How otherwise refer to whey-faced nuisance? As/k, perhaps HENNER (…ashen nerk…)
23. It’s said an emperor chose his horse, fo/ul RACONS A nicely worked reference to Caligula.
24. Once you’ve had a ta/d, wine like this will win you over STEARE
27. To recondition some wheels, get the fel/t ripped off LOESS The solution requires ‘felloes’, curved pieces that made up the rim of a wheel.
28. Preparing cookers one probably needs to have co/ach REDE The last word is the obvious candidate for the insertion point, but the solution isn’t apparent until one realises cookers are cooking apples.