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This is part 3 of the puzzle series that started at Living the traveller's dream. Each part is solvable on its own.


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Dear Puzzling,

As I'm sure you know, I am pretty much an all-round traveller. I'm just as interested in climbing mountains as I am in visiting cathedrals or lying on a beach somewhere. There are, however, some things I'm not really cut out for. It turns out whitewater rafting is one of those activities!

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 walked in lush rainforests, seen a historical place of internment, watched a space launch from afar, tried out some exciting examples of Creole cuisine, and chickened out of rafting on a rather scary-looking river. Can you guess where I am?

Wish you were here!
Love, Gladys.

Across
1. City is not located in ultimately harmonious, neutral ground (5-7)
8. Game presents fanged creatures (8)
9. Foxy ladies terrorised Vin's ex (6)
10. City of Oz fantasy character with Sauron's first power rings (5,7)
12. Long and thin stone jewellery item with glossy finish (7)
14. Pianist Garland has always shown respect (7)
16. Member of a Native American tribe; he made a city at the mouth of an eponymous river (7)
17. Pay cook to get cooked water flowing along the border (7)
19. Penal colony for sportsmen from NJ and NY, except three (6,6)
23. Spooner's fixed fruit conserve and it's been thrown into the sea (6)
24. I try principally to keep limits to nakedness in court, which is natural behaviour (8)
25. Tina shook President Bush being held by extremists in Swiss town (5-7)

Down
1. Temporary shelter discarded (4)
2. Getting drug injection, heart rate goes under; I'm prone to making rash decisions (9)
3. Ms. Braxton, who sings about water (5)
4. Evaluate female donkey? (6)
5. On the other hand, entire verse lyrically described (9)
6. Reject running for president (5)
7. German settlement in centre of Nice damaged substantially (2,7)
11. Stood on both sides of prison I escaped, confused (9)
13. Well-behaved male European giving up resistance for lent, surprisingly (9)
15. Backed by grand piano in arrangement of an index that's becoming longer (9)
18. Mr. Amin, having taken the place of Uganda's leader, executed underground (6)
20. Five apes dancing to Scooter (5)
21. Catch girl with ultimate bit of bravado (5)
22. Book of popular musical swapping leads (4)


Gladys will return in Gladys loves Pink Floyd.

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Gladys is in

French Guiana

where she has visited

Saint-Laurent, Saint-Georges, Devil's Island, Cayenne, and the Oyapock River.

Grid:

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Explanations (brief because I should have been in bed some time ago):

Across 1. AINT in S + NEUTRAL*. 8. PRESENTS*. 9. VINSEX*. 10. ALICE + S P RINGS. 12. ST + RING + Y. 14. RED containing EVER. 16. CHEYENNE with HE made A. 17. PAYCOOK*. 19. DEVILS + ISLAND(-ers). 23. SET JAM spoonerized. 24. IT containing NS, plus IN CT. 25. TINA* + GEORGE, in SS.
Down 1. ddef. 2. PULS(IV)E under IM. 3. TONI + C. 4. Pun. 5. Substring. 6. NIX + ON. 7. ESSEN in NICE*. 11. ST(-i)R + ADDLED. 13. GERMAN with R -> LENT*. 15. P in ANINDEX* "backed" by G. 18. IDI replaces U in HUNG though surely it's "hanged". 20. V + APES*. 21. LASS + O. 22. CATS with first two letters swapped.

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    $\begingroup$ Ouch, I hadn't realised there was a distinction between hung and hanged. Thanks for letting me know. $\endgroup$ – Jafe May 14 at 4:07
  • $\begingroup$ I think Webster says that either hung or hanged is ok, unless the verb was being applied to you. $\endgroup$ – SteveV May 14 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ In modern English "hanged" only refers to the method of execution. The normal past tense of the verb "hang" is "hung". You can't say "I hanged my coat on the door" (unless you are being facetious, and you are going to destroy the coat somehow!) $\endgroup$ – alephzero May 14 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ @alephzero I like what the M-W Guide to English Usage says: "If you make a point of observing the distinction in your writing, you will not thereby become a better writer, but you will spare yourself the annoyance of being corrected for having done something that is not wrong." $\endgroup$ – SteveV May 14 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, to be explicit I wasn't claiming that "hanged" is better than "hung" in general, only that when the specific meaning is "executed" it's more correct. As for whether it is, I'm not 100% convinced by M-W (though I agree with them that saying "hung" isn't outright wrong as, say, saying "heng" would be). They cite a few people using "hung", including e.g. William Faulkner (though the fact that two of their examples are from Faulkner seems like an indication that they hadn't many examples from eminent writers to choose from). [... continues] $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan May 15 at 13:36

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