This is part 15 of the puzzle series Around the World in Many Days. Each part is solvable on its own.

Deаr Puzzling,

The numbers in blue here form a Nurikabe puzzle. Shade some cells in the grid so that each unshaded area of connected cells contains exactly one number, which is equal to the size of the area. No 2x2 square is fully shaded in the grid. Unshaded areas cannot share an edge, but they can touch at a corner. The shaded cells must form one orthogonally connected area.

Today I have walked in a dark, uncanny forest that’s supposed to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. Not sure I’m ready to believe all the stories, but the atmosphere here is definitely unsettling for some reason. Can you guess where I am?

Love, Gladys.

Empty crossword/nurikabe grid
Crossword on Penpa+
Nurikabe on Penpa+

1. One appears in the middle of eighties song getting a lot of airtime (3)
3. Place near Houston, Texas to abolish rodeo, at last (4)
6. Greta from Hollywood is a rubbish collector in Australia (5)
7. Medium-sized cooling system for computer (3)
8. Announcer's hairy fringe (4)
10. The writer would look back to find someone to look up to (4)
12. Mr Tatum, who played jazz music, for example (3)
13. White fruit with bulky core (5)
15. Brit with conservative views that's on the spectrum (4)
16. Visiting Salisbury, learn about city surrounding famous cathedral (3)

1. The morally righteous choose this greeting to provoke, getting HR involved (4,4)
2. Mariner that could make runway with 7 across (3)
3. Maybe Phoebe's getting one size smaller in the near future? (4)
4. Steamy film actress who danced with John barefoot, bottomless, remained unseen on the outside (5)
5. Doctor Cole, visiting Gladys, will finally try to get popsicle in 3 across? (3,5)
9. Killing of a Taleban covered up (5)
11. A page on Stack Exchange describing architectural feature (4)
14. Had a cube picked up (3)

Gladys will return in Problem Solving in Freefall.


1 Answer 1


Filled crossword grid:

xwd grid

Clue explanations:

clue explanations

Nurikabe logic:

Basic deductions get you here:
grid 1

Next, consider the highlighted cells below. We want to prevent each of these from being a 2×2 shaded square.

grid 2 Blue must be reached by the lower 7 clue; then, the red must be reached by the top-left 7.

This is the only way to do this:
grid 3

Next, we need to prevent a large shaded region from forming in the upper left, so the middle 7 must go left as far as possible and then down. Similar logic lets us finish the puzzle:

filled grid

As seen by reading the unshaded letters in standard reading order, Gladys is visiting

Hoia Baciu Forest, a "hotspot of paranormal phenomena" in Romania.
grids overlaid


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