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This is part 7 of the puzzle series Around the World in Many Days. Each part is solvable on its own.


Deаr Puzzling,

This time I have a shingoki puzzle for you. Draw a single loop that passes through all the black and white circles in the grid, going horizontally or vertically through centres of cells without crossing itself or branching out. Each of the letters W, X, Y and Z stands for a different number 2–5. Numbers indicate the sum of the lengths of loop segments continuing straight from the circled cell. For example, if a circled cell has the number 3, the loop continues for one cell before turning in one direction and for two cells before turning in the other direction. The loop must pass straight through a white circle and must make a turn in a black circle. The loop will not pass through every single cell in the grid; some of them will be left unvisited.

Today I have visited a city on ancient trade routes, home to kings of centuries past. Can you guess where I am?

Love, Gladys.

Empty crossword/shingoki grid
Crossword on Penpa+
Shingoki on Penpa+

Across
1. Manly dictator besieging Switzerland (5)
5. Man mostly unaffected by detonation (3)
8. Japanese company scraping bottom in the Mediterranean? (4)
9. Head of Khivans (a people from Asia) (4)
11. Flying is a no-brainer? Foolishly not taking into account the extremes in aviation (8)
12. People on the web site finally seen coming around to embrace Asian philosophy (8)
15. Almost a way to affirm love, for the Spanish players (4)
16. One who wanders from place to place, they say? (4)
17. To football league's backers, a way to cheer the Spanish players (3)
18. Stop taking MDMA to be calm (5)

Down
1. Old lady got green light to make a pot of coffee (4)
2. A singer pinching Gladys – that's relatively painful (6)
3. Central Asian nomad's sweetheart (3)
4. Go slower to capture Nordic city (4)
5. Orders from above say: Fahrenheit units finally starting to be replaced with Celsius (7)
6. European writer without a shred of tolerance (4)
7. In Washington I'm recruiting trained leaders close to worldwide period of conflict (7)
10. Woman ultimately taking place of man (one serving time in prison) – it's natural (6)
12. Hero in film embraces king (the ruler of a large empire) (4)
13. Turncoating, heartless person from Qatar (an Arab country) (4)
14. Must... rent... adult... films... (4)
15. Saint Anthony's cross towards agnostics' and unbelievers' principal characters (3)


Gladys will return in In Remembrance of Dark Times.

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1 Answer 1

8
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Gladys is in

Kano, Nigeria

Completed crossword:

crossword grid

Clue explanations:

Across
1. Manly dictator besieging Switzerland (5) - MA(CH)O
5. Man mostly unaffected by detonation (3) - DUD(-e)
8. Japanese company scraping bottom in the Mediterranean? (4) - SE(_G)A
9. Head of Khivans (a people from Asia) (4) - K_ + HAN &lit!
11. Flying is a no-brainer? Foolishly not taking into account the extremes in aviation (8) - AIRBORNE(-an)*
12. People on the web site finally seen coming around to embrace Asian philosophy (8) - (_N ETI(ZEN)S)<
15. Almost a way to affirm love, for the Spanish players (4) - TE AM(-o)
16. One who wanders from place to place, they say? (4) - ROMA (~roamer) &lit!
17. To football league's backers, a way to cheer the Spanish players (3) - _O _L _E
18. Stop taking MDMA to be calm (5) - QUI(E)T

Down
1. Old lady got green light to make a pot of coffee (4) - M(OK)A
2. A singer pinching Gladys – that's relatively painful (6) - A + CH(I)ER
3. Central Asian nomad's sweetheart - HUN ddef (3)
4. Go slower to capture Nordic city (4) - _O SLO_
5. Orders from above say: Fahrenheit units finally starting to be replaced with Celsius (7) - DE(_g -> C)REES
6. European writer without a shread [sic] of tolerance (4) - DAN(-t)E
7. In Washington I'm recruiting trained leaders close to worldwide period of conflict (7) - WA(R_ T_)I'M + _E
10. Woman ultimately taking place of man (one serving time in prison) – it's natural (6) - IN(m -> _N)ATE
12. Hero in film embraces king (the ruler of a large empire) (4) - NE(R)O
13. Turncoating, heartless person from Qatar (an Arab country) (4) - IR(-at)AQ<
14. Must... rent... adult... films... (4) - SMUT*
15. Saint Anthony's cross towards agnostics' and unbelievers' principal characters (3) - T_ A_ U_

Completed shingoki:

shingoki grid

where z = 2, w = 3, y = 4, x = 5

Shingoki explanation:

Let's start with some basic deductions:

shingoki step 1

Now, you'll notice that the bottom row is already full. We can't connect the y to the z directly, because then they would both be on the same length-5 segment, and would have to have the same value. Therefore, those two ends need to make corners, giving z the value 2. We also know that the y must continue straight into x, as otherwise it would be 2, the same as z. Thus, we can assign y the value 4 and x the value 5, meaning it needs to corner off immediately. Obviously, w must now be 3, so I'll just go ahead and use numbers the rest of the way:

shingoki step 2, now with numbers!

We can quickly connect the 4 in the upper right to the neighboring 5. We can also resolve both 3s - the upper one has to be vertical, as with the black 4 next door, it can only be two cells long if it's horizontal. This stops it just short of the lower 3, which now must be horizontal since the whole segment would be too long if it were vertical. This now also forces the path in the lower right to connect up to the 4, satisfying that:

shingoki step 3

Now we need to look at the 5s in the upper left. The black one only has at most 2 cells worth of room going up, left, or right, so it must go down at least 3. This means the white 5 must go vertically, and we can lock it in, as connecting it to the segment at the bottom would make it length 6. With this, we can finish off the other 5 and connect their two paths:

shingoki step 4

Now, let's examine the remaining 4. It can't go right and can only go up 1, so it must go down 2 and left 2. That segment to its left must now turn, and it can't turn into that black 5 without making it a 6, so it must turn down into the black 2 and immediately make two more turns to satisfy the 2:

shingoki step 5

All that's left to do now is connect these ends up into a single loop. The end at the top center must head right to connect with the white 3, forcing the two ends along the right wall to connect. The end coming from the black 2 must connect to the white 5 in order to not close the loop prematurely, meaning the two ends below them must connect as well. The last connection in the lower left may seem ambiguous, but remember that the segment coming down from the black 5 must make a turn to avoid being too long, and that closes off our loop!

completed shingoki (now with numbers!)

Now, if we

overlay one onto the other, we see that only four letters are not crossed by the loop:

the crossword grid with the shingoku loop on top

These letters, read from top to bottom, spell KANO!

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ if there's enough demand I will return and add a full shingoki explanation but it is 3 am here on canon coast and I really should be asleep right now $\endgroup$
    – juicifer
    Jan 14, 2023 at 7:59

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