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This is part 4 of the puzzle series Around the World in Many Days. Each part is solvable on its own.


Deаr Puzzling,

How have you been? I hope you don’t mind me showing up a little early this time around. Just wanted to get this one out before the holidays.

This type of grid puzzle is called Statue Park (Loop). Shade some cells in the grid to form the given five pieces. Pieces can be flipped or rotated. No piece can touch another piece, even at a corner. The cells indicated with a black circle must be shaded, and the cells indicated with a white circle must be unshaded. In addition, draw one continuous loop in the grid which visits all unshaded cells and none of the shaded cells, going horizontally or vertically through centres of cells without crossing itself or branching out.

Today I have visited a place whose wildlife is unlike anything I have ever seen, and walked among giants from a time before Caesar. Can you guess where I am?

Love, Gladys.

Empty grid with both crossword and Statue Park

Statue Park (Loop) on Penpa+
Crossword on Penpa+

Across
5. Able was I ere I saw —
9. A law of nature: Eat or be —
10. —, orchestra instruments or a city in the West Bank
11. Star Wars character, Han —
12. — and flows, consistent periods of decline and increase
15. An optimist's glass is — full
17. Shall I compare — to a summer's day?
19. —'s Game, a novel by Orson Scott Card
21. Louisiana dish, — chicken
22. Snake —, a pair of ones in craps

Down
1. Kept in a short —
2. Powerful crime boss, — di tutti capi
3. Nuclear test site, Bikini —
4. Five countries have — power in the UN Security Council
6. Improvised, ad —
7. — tree, Adansonia gregorii, native to northern Australia
8. "Six pack", trained —
13. Indian vegetarian dish, puri —
14. — Maritime, a French department
16. The Shawshank Redemption character, — Dufresne
17. Hidden explosive, booby —
18. In 1932, Australia fought a war against —
19. All About —, a film starring Bette Davis
20. Fifth Amendment: "...without — process of law"


Gladys will return in Hippos and Horseplay.

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1 Answer 1

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Gladys is visiting:

The Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar

The crossword:

enter image description here

Across

5. Able was I ere I saw ELBA
9. A law of nature: Eat or be EATEN
10. TUBAS, orchestra instruments or a city in the West Bank
11. Star Wars character, Han SOLO
12. EBBS and flows, consistent periods of decline and increase
15. An optimist's glass is HALF full
17. Shall I compare THEE to a summer's day?
19. ENDER's Game, a novel by Orson Scott Card
21. Louisiana dish, CAJUN chicken
22. Snake EYES, a pair of ones in craps

Down

1. Kept in a short LEASH
2. Powerful crime boss, CAPO di tutti capi
3. Nuclear test site, Bikini ATOLL
4. Five countries have VETO power in the UN Security Council
6. Improvised, ad LIB
7. BOAB tree, Adansonia gregorii, native to northern Australia
8. "Six pack", trained ABS
13. Indian vegetarian dish, puri BHAJI
14. SEINE Maritime, a French department
16. The Shawshank Redemption character, ANDY Dufresne
17. Hidden explosive, booby TRAP
18. In 1932, Australia fought a war against EMUS
19. All About EVE, a film starring Bette Davis
20. Fifth Amendment: "...without DUE process of law"

And the Statue Park:

The unshaded cells cannot have a dead-end anywhere, so the top left and bottom right corners must be shaded.
There are six black dots, but only five statues to place, so one of them must cover two dots. This cannot be the bottom two dots, as that would require a pentomino, so the space between them must be unshaded.
So the statue covering two dots must cover R4C6. And it can only be the I going straight up, or the Z going leftward. enter image description here

The Z statue cannot touch an edge of the grid, as it would leave a dead-end, so it must cover one of the two dots in the middle.
It cannot join the two central dots as that leaves no way to cover the R1C6 dot. So it must just cover the R3C4 dot (and only fits one way), and the I statue must join R1C6 and R4C6.
enter image description here

The top left dot must be the L, leaving the two squares for the remaining dots.
And the loop path is forced, completing the puzzle:
enter image description here

Finally:

Superimposing the loop onto the crossword grid, we can read off Glady's location starting from R1C3:
enter image description here

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