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Dear Puzzling,

How have you been? I'm excited to tell you about my new trip. For the next three months or so, I will be visiting a total of 65 exotic destinations. I’m so happy to be travelling again! And of course I’m equally happy to be sharing the stories with you. I will try to write to you every Friday to share glimpses of what I have seen and done during the week.

Each puzzle has five "thematic" answers, which are geographical locations all in the same country. Each is notable enough to have its own article in the English Wikipedia, although not necessarily under the same name I use. Your task is to fill the grid, highlight the thematic entries, and guess which country I am currently visiting (which is not indicated in the grid). Some of the answers will be needed in the final part of the series. Except for the last part, all others are solvable on their own without knowledge of the previous puzzles.

This week I have marvelled at colourful underwater flora and danced on the site of one of the world’s biggest carnivals. I have seen humongous palm trees, pristine sandy beaches and rows of skyscrapers high up in the mountains. Can you guess where I am?

Wish you were here!
Love, Gladys.

Across
4. Open on time (5)
6. Appearance tips from spaceman, engineer, moonwalker and businessman Armstrong (9)
10. Battle cry of angry Anglo-Saxon leader at the front (6)
11. Skylines inside of Grand Canyon state captured by short host (8)
12. Man participates in arranged polar cruise passing rivers and half-dome atop building (10)
13. Police exhausted keeping current speed (4)
14. Find oneself in Nazis' imitations (4-3)
15. One terrorist head captured by a mostly rapidly-moving marine (7)
17. No box office success for Little Boy? (4)
19. Kick calories with compound in lemon juice? (10)
21. Looking for answers? Try staring (8)
22. Place for playing a cello (6)
23. Caribbean vacation spot excited a car agent (9)
24. Very silly detective hiding in tree (5)

Down
1. Carrots – grub I'll add with regular intervals for a group of creative people (3,5)
2. Electronic music the con composed (6)
3. Stimulate Jafe's head with a write-up of puzzle, not extremely large (4,2)
5. Kilmer and Chanel hosted by criminal leader showing place to see tall palms (5,2,6)
7. Walls destroyed, calmly, in bar north of a city (12)
8. River boats carrying champagne produced by Louis Roederer (4,9)
9. Innocent penguins cut horribly after drinking a little seawater (12)
16. Broadcast roof being taken down in breakout to get view of the sky (8)
18. Capital in American country, after revolution under Bolívar's lead (6)
20. Managed to include information describing the Loch Ness monster? (6)


Gladys will return in Roaring walls of water.

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COMPLETED GRID

Grid

ACROSS

4 OVERT = OVER [on] + T
6 SEMBLANCE = S_ E_ M_ B_ + LANCE
10 SLOGAN = ANGLO* + S_
11 HORIZONS = HOS(-t) + (-a)RIZON(-a)
12 SEMICUPOLA = POLA(-r) C(-r)UISE* [passing rivers] + M
13 PACE = P_E [police "exhausted") + AC [current]
14 SEND-UPS = END UP [find oneself] + SS
15 AQUATIC = A + QUIC(-k) + A [one] + T_
17 BOMB = ddef. [not a box office hit; Little Boy]
19 CALCITRATE = CAL [calories] + CITRATE [compound in lemon juice] (def. is kick, h/t Deusovi)
21 GOOGLING = ddef.
22 LOCALE = A CELLO*
23 CARTAGENA = A CAR AGENT*
24 APISH = PI + ASH

DOWN

1 ART GUILD = cArRoTs GrUb IlL aDd
2 TECHNO = THE CON*
3 JAZZ UP = J_ + A + PUZZ(-le)< [le = extremely, large...h/t Deusovi]
5 VALLE DE COCORA = VAL + COCO + LEADER*
7 BARRANQUILLA = BAR + (-t)RANQUILL(-y) + A
8 CANO CRISTALES = CANOES + CRISTAL
9 UNSUSPECTING = PENGUINS CUT* + S_ [a little seawater]
16 AIRSCAPE = AIR [broadcast] + (-e)SCAPE
18 BOGOTA = B_ + (A + TOGO)<
20 LEGEND = LED + GEN

GLADYS'S LOCATION

COLOMBIA! Thematic locations are CARTAGENA, BOGOTA, VALLE DE COCORA, BARRANQUILLA, and CANO CRISTALES.

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  • $\begingroup$ How do you get the Gladys' location? $\endgroup$ – justhalf Apr 30 at 9:58
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ From the five thematic answers in the crossword grid. Will amend answer to include details. $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Apr 30 at 10:11
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    $\begingroup$ For 3d, I believe it's "extremely large → L...E", and for 19A, that's just CAL[= "calories", e.g. "1000cal"] + CITRATE. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi May 2 at 0:43
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed on 19A...did not know that definition. 3D, I think mine still works too, using "extremely" as an abbreviation as in EHF (at least that's how I thought of it). $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover May 3 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, shoot...but my way puts them in the wrong order...will amend. $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover May 3 at 21:43

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