I've had success with using ale yeast and stalling fermentation to produce semi-sweet ciders. I rack after about 2 weeks and this seems to slow everything down to a crawl. (age in secondary) Once it gets down to about 1.008...I bottle it and go on a bender.
The first couple of weeks they are lightly carb'd and semi-sweet. The following couple of weeks they start to get a little more dry and more carb'd. It's not the perfect world...but if you make the same recipe over and over...you will find the "sweet spot" and know when to bottle and consume.
I don't claim any sort of 'recipe' and I can't say it works for everyone...but I haven't had a bomb yet. (knock knock)
My personal opinion is to keep fermentation on the cooler side and not to over prime when bottling. OH...and keep a carboy going at all times. They don't last very long