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This is part 41 of the puzzle series Around the World in Many Days. Each part is solvable on its own.


Dear Puzzling,

This is a Word Nurikabe puzzle. Shade some cells in the grid. Shaded cells must form one orthogonally connected area, and no 2x2 square can be fully shaded. Each unshaded area forms a snake-like shape that has a start and end point and does not cross or touch itself. (More formally, exactly two cells in each unshaded area have one unshaded neighbour, and all other cells have exactly two unshaded neighbours. Note that this also means there can be no 2x2 square entirely unshaded in the grid.) Write in the given answers into the unshaded areas, each starting at one end point and ending at the other. Answers can be written in any direction. Given letters cannot be shaded, and every unshaded area contains exactly one given letter.

ANTIQUED
CROWN JEWEL
DIG OUT
FRECKLY
FOXY
JUMPING JACK
KIBBUTZ
QUIZ
SHANGHAI
VAMPISH
VEXING

Today I have admired colourful lakes, rivers and waterfalls in a high-altitude nature reserve. Can you guess where I am?

Love, Gladys.

Empty Word Nurikabe grid
Solve on Penpa+


Gladys will return in E Rebus Unum.

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1 Answer 1

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Gladys is in

Jiuzhaigou

First let's look at

the bottom right. No word has F_K or K_F, so the squares between them must be shaded. The word starting or ending must be FOXY or FRECKLY so must be at least four long.
enter image description here

If it were

FRECKLY then it would have to continue into one of these red cells
enter image description here
and it would touch other letters, so it must be FOXY.
enter image description here

Now let's look

at the top. Similar to before, there are no words with N_K or K_N so we shade between them. There are no words that have S_Z or Z_A so they must be separated by shaded cells. Every shaded cell must connect to others so we can start drawing those out. And we can draw out unshaded cells for as long as a word starting or ending with those letters might be.
enter image description here

And we know

what some of those words must be. enter image description here

There is no way

to use the given V an N to make VEXING, so can't connect. Nothing starts or ends with N so the cell to the left must be part of it. The shaded cells above it must connect to the left.
enter image description here

Then,

the C in the top left must be CROWNJEWEL. Also, the A in the top right must be part of VAMPISH so our V on the left must be VEXING.
enter image description here

Now we notice

the U on the right cannot connect to either of the K's for JUMPINGJACK so it must be part of DIGOUT. So all of our words are accounted for. There is a little green cell on the bottom left to prevent a 2x2 shaded area and it must connect to one of the existing words. It can only be JUMPINGJACK. Then the upper K must be KIBBUTZ.
enter image description here

From here

it is relatively straight-forward to complete.
enter image description here

Then we

read across the middle row.
enter image description here

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It doesn't affect the solution much, but you appear to have missed the rule that "every unshaded area contains exactly one given letter". $\endgroup$
    – fljx
    Sep 28, 2023 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ @fljx ah yes I missed that. $\endgroup$
    – caPNCApn
    Sep 28, 2023 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ How do you deduce that rot13(gur N va gur gbc evtug zhfg or cneg bs INZCVFU)? I know that it is after solving it, but I took a different solve path and am not sure how you knew that at that point $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Sep 28, 2023 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ @samm82 rot13(FUNATUNV tbrf jvgu gur F, WHZCVAT WNPX tbrf jvgu bar bs gur Xf, naq NAGVDHRQ tbrf jvgu gur A. V bevtvanyyl qrqhprq gung abar bs gubfr pbhyq ernpu gur N, ohg nf sywk cbvagf bhg, gurer'f bayl bar tvira yrggre cre hafunqrq nern naljnl.) $\endgroup$
    – caPNCApn
    Sep 29, 2023 at 4:10
  • $\begingroup$ Ahh, yes - that makes sense 🙃 $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Sep 29, 2023 at 5:09

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