10
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Empty crossword grid

Letters from Gladys are geography-themed standalone crosswords. Each puzzle has five thematic answers, which are places, sights or landmarks in or around a certain location (in this case, a chain of mountains). Each thematic answer is notable enough to have its own article in the English Wikipedia, although not necessarily under the same name that is used here. The goal is to fill the grid, identify the thematic answers and guess the name of Gladys’s destination, which is not indicated in the grid.

Dear Puzzling,

I have once again visited several tropical islands, but it’s by no means an ordinary sun-and-sea vacation this time. I have specifically taken an interest in volcanoes. The ones I have seen on this trip tend to dominate the landscape and offer some rather contrasting environments compared to the surrounding areas. Apparently they are also in a pretty unusual formation, geologically speaking. Can you guess where I am?

Wish you were here!
Love, Gladys.

Across
1. Cooks entertaining women athletes (8)
5/35. What, a Magritte painting is not about amazing drop & iconic peak? (4,2,8)
10. Old, Old Dominion's counterparts to 1 across? (3)
11. Organisation headquartered in Manhattan: Agent was offended by being not included in portrayal (13)
13. Type of business in which people can sell shares of body parts to comedian Louis and other associated people (5,5,7)
14. Music for dancing mazurka not entirely boycotted by king (5)
16. Decorated soldier essentially unseated leader in decline (3,2)
17. More than one saying "Yes, finally!" after this horror film hit the theatres in 2004 (4)
20. Bohemian flower enthusiast listing biological and environmental tips (4)
21. Measures against cyber attack extremely efficacious (5)
22. Ski with detainees to see someone from the Southern Alps? (4)
25. Festive cockatoo's tail trimmed (4)
26. Its regular use can prevent health issues such as gingivitis and fluorine deficiency (5)
28. OPEC utilises downtown headquarters? That's better (5)
29. Man pursued by fake monster – he is caught by stray elastic band (8,9)
32. To intensify love in romance, order revealing top (5,8)
33. Style of music that's dryly humorous according to the audience (3)
34. Poor man's symbol painted on Russian tanks rates badly in the West (6)
35. (See 5 across)

Down
1. Who's produced woollen sweater for trained horse? (4,6)
2. Backers to order CIA HQ to feed Second Gulf War combatant, perhaps (5)
3. Peak of UK autonomy stripped in rebellion (5,3)
4. Film, starring Bruce Willis, that's about Euro sailor running to the north, given new classification (7)
6. First convict's starting to break out, with second in tow, getting outdoor views of the Siberian winter? (9)
7. Give overweight Poles possibly endless dish made out of potatoes in public (8)
8. Ancient port, after losing northern entrance, is not very revolutionary (5)
9. Current Nordic epic given happy ending instead of its original one (4)
12. Revolutionary intellectual property legislation one old book displays (it is highly prominent) (4,2,3,4)
15. A wild thing that's almost completely shameless, with feet raised above head (5)
18. Part of a person's body is buried inside temple (5)
19. Gladys is seen, with sociable stranger following, closer to Bishop Peak (4,6)
21. Conclusion for one rebellious party (9)
23. Couple's being cut by Argentine blades (8)
24. "Aim at his head!" – Russian special police surrounding one of the Germans (4,2,2)
27. Mark told to get help (7)
29. Scoring using headers? That is associated with Mohamed Salah's sport (4)
30. Violet from Auvergne's picked up (5)
31. Techies from Texas initially invited to cross Golden Gate (5)

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1 Answer 1

5
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Gladys is visiting:

the Cameroon Line in Africa, taking in along the way the sights of Mount Cameroon and Mount Oku in Cameroon, Pico de São Tomé and Pico do Príncipe in São Tomé and Príncipe, and Pico Basilé in Equatorial Guinea. This range of volcanic mountains is particularly geologically unusual in extending through both the ocean and the continental crust.

Cameroon Line on a map
Image from Wikipedia

The completed grid:

Completed grid

Clue explanations:

Across:
1. Cooks entertaining women athletes (8) SWIMMERS = S(W)IMMERS
5/35. What, a Magritte painting is not about amazing drop & iconic peak? (4,2,8) PICO DO PRÍNCIPE = PI(DROPICONIC*)PE
10. Old, Old Dominion's counterparts to [swimmers]? (3) OVA = O (Old) + VA (Old Dominion = Virginia)
11. Organisation headquartered in Manhattan: Agent was offended by being not included in portrayal (13) UNREPRESENTED = UN + REP + RESENTED
13. Type of business in which people can sell shares of body parts to comedian Louis and other associated people (5,5,7) JOINT STOCK COMPANY = JOINTS + TO + CK + COMPANY
14. Music for dancing mazurka not entirely boycotted by king (5) MUZAK = MAZU(-r)K(-a)*
16. Decorated soldier essentially unseated leader in decline (3,2) DID UP = DI(_D_ + U_)P
17. More than one saying "Yes, finally!" after this horror film hit the theatres in 2004 (4) SAWS = SAW (this horror film…) + (-ye)S
20. Bohemian flower enthusiast listing biological and environmental tips (4) ELBE = E_ L_ B_ E_
21. Measures against cyber attack extremely efficacious (5) DOSES = DOS (cyber attack) + E_S
22. Ski with detainees to see someone from the Southern Alps? (4) KIWI = _KI WI_
25. Festive cockatoo's tail trimmed (4) GALA = GALA(-h)
26. Its regular use can prevent health issues such as gingivitis and fluorine deficiency (5) FLOSS = F (fluorine) + LOSS (deficiency)
28. OPEC utilises downtown headquarters? That's better (5) OUTDO = O_ + UT_ + DO_
29. Man pursued by fake monster – he is caught by stray elastic band (8,9) SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA = + (M + PHONY + ORC + HE’S) in STRAY*
32. To intensify love in romance, order revealing top (5,8) MOUNT CAMEROON = MOUNT (to intensify) + ROMANCE* containing O (love)
33. Style of music that's dryly humorous according to the audience (3) RAI = “wry”
34. Poor man's symbol painted on Russian tanks rates badly in the West (6) ERSATZ = RATES* + Z (symbol painted on Russian tanks)
35. (See 5 across)

Down:
1. Who's produced woollen sweater for trained horse? (4,6) SHOW JUMPER = WHOS* + JUMPER (woollen sweater)
2. Backers to order CIA HQ to feed Second Gulf War combatant, perhaps (5) IRAQI = I(_R _A _Q)I
3. Peak of UK autonomy stripped in rebellion (5,3) MOUNT OKA = UK(-a)UTONOM(-y)*
4. Film, starring Bruce Willis, that's about Euro sailor running to the north, given new classification (7) REARATED = RE(E+TAR)<D
6. First convict's starting to break out, with second in tow, getting outdoor views of the Siberian winter? (9) ICESCAPES = I (First) + C_ + ESCAPE + S (second)
7. Give overweight Poles possibly endless dish made out of potatoes in public (8) OVERMAST = OVER(MAS(-h))T
8. Ancient port, after losing northern entrance, is not very revolutionary (5) OSTIA = AI(-n)TSO<
9. Current Nordic epic given happy ending instead of its original one (4) EDDY = EDD(a → _Y)
12. Revolutionary intellectual property legislation one old book displays (it is highly prominent) (4,2,3,4) PICO DE SAO TOME = IP< + CODES (legislation) + A (one) + O (old) + TOME (book)
15. A wild thing that's almost completely shameless, with feet raised above head (5) ZEBRA = BRAZE(-n) with ZE put before BRA
18. Part of a person's body is buried inside temple (5) WAIST = WA(IS)T
19. Gladys is seen, with sociable stranger following, closer to Bishop Peak (4,6) PICO BASILE = (-bisho)P + I (Gladys) + SOCIABLE*
21. Conclusion for one rebellious party (9) DEFENDANT = DEF(i → END)ANT (thanks to @user39583 in comments)
23. Couple's being cut by Argentine blades (8) MACHETES = MA(CHE)TES
24. "Aim at his head!" – Russian special police surrounding one of the Germans (4,2,2) HOME IN ON = H(-is) + OM(EIN)ON
27. Mark told to get help (7) SUCCOUR = “sucker”
29. Scoring using headers? That is associated with Mohamed Salah's sport (4) SUMO = S_ U_ + MO (Mohamed Salah)
30. Violet from Auvergne's picked up (5) MAUVE = _M AUVE_
31. Techies from Texas initially invited to cross Golden Gate (5) TORII = T(OR)I + I(-nvited)

Highlights of this puzzle for me: 10A is very amusingly worded, 5A has a very clever art reference, and 29A was particularly pleasing to find!

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1
  • $\begingroup$ @user39583 Genius - thank you! :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jun 21, 2022 at 9:41

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