18
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Solve the clues and fill the grid. Each clue is missing a different European capital city.

enter image description here

Across

1. Funny beret men strike $??$ to convene (4)
3. Containers found in a $??$ plaza (4)
5. Ten $??$ site's leaders return after first state, shortly (4)
6. Ethnic group is $??$, locally (4)
7. Dmitry's $??$ chamber first for union's capital (4)
8. Hideout between left and right, return $??$'s finals (4)
9. Certain banks of $??$ river encircle central dome (4)
10. $??$'s extremities leave metals for baseballers (4)
11. Stalk Dorothy's aunt following the heart of $??$ (4)
13. Moody people's fringe expressions outside $??$'s borders (4)
14. Half-heartedly, $??$ first lady makes money (4)
15. In the middle of chaotic $??$, doctor gets cut (4)
16. Asteroid buried in the back country of $??$ (4)
17. Constituents of $??$'s republic passed with flying colours (4)
18. Arrest $??$'s top three; capital punishment follows (4)
19. Listen, Sparta $??$ to be overflowing (4)

Down
1. Created the second-to-last little $??$ statue with no rim (4)
2. Wanting an I, $??$ head master leads to transport (4)
3. Friends immediately south of $??$, third one climbing up (4)
4. $??$ couple hides in tube below street under pressure (8)
5. Head of state visits Namib and Gobi for $??$ Fingers, among others (8)
11. $??$'s central assistants preparing leaders for strike (4)
12. $??$'s central trio on top-tier market, briefly (4)
13. Henry IV leaves the last bits of $??$ cheese (4)

Note:

For the purposes of this puzzle I did not include Baku, Nicosia, Tbilisi or Yerevan (all of which could be European depending on which definition one uses).

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  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Ah, you did a neat thing again. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Mar 1 at 13:21
16
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  1. Funny beret men strike ?? to convene (4)

Insert BERN; solution is MEET: (BERETMEN-BERN)*

  1. Containers found in a ?? plaza (4)

Insert BERLIN; solution is POTS, found in POTSdamer Platz

  1. Ten ?? site's leaders return after first state, shortly (4)

Insert ATHENS; solution is DECA: AC(ropolis) backwards after DE(laware). I'm not terribly confident about this one.

  1. Ethnic group is ??, locally (4)

Insert ROMA; solution is ROMA (Italian name for Rome)

  1. Dmitry's ?? chamber first for union's capital (4)

Insert MOSCOW; solution is DIMA: DUMA with I in place of U

  1. Hideout between left and right, return ??'s finals (4)

Insert SOFIA; solution is LAIR: IA between L and R

  1. Certain banks of ?? river encircle central dome (4)

Insert PARIS; solution is SOME: banks of S(ein)E encircle (d)OM(e)

  1. ??'s extremities leave metals for baseballers (4)

Insert LJUBLJANA; solution is METS (METALS minus AL)

  1. Stalk Dorothy's aunt following the heart of ?? (4)

Insert PRISTINA; solution is STEM: EM after ST

  1. Moody people's fringe expressions outside ??'s borders (4)

Insert MONACO; solution is EMOS (ES outside MO)

  1. Half-heartedly, ?? first lady makes money (4)

Insert RIGA; solution is RIAL (RI(g)A + L)

  1. In the middle of chaotic ??, doctor gets cut (4)

Insert MADRID; solution is AMID: (MADRID-DR)*

  1. Asteroid buried in the back country of ?? (4)

Insert BUCHAREST; solution is AMOR, found backwards in ROMANIA

  1. Constituents of ??'s republic passed with flying colours (4)

Insert SKOPJE; solution is ACED, found inside (North) MACEDONIA

  1. Arrest ??'s top three; capital punishment follows (4)

Insert STOCKHOLM; solution is STOP: STO(ckholm) + P(unishment)

  1. Listen, Sparta ?? to be overflowing (4)

Insert PRAGUE; solution is TEEM (apparently "Sparta Prague" is a sporting team; thanks to Fillet for finding this)

Down

  1. Created the second-to-last little ?? statue with no rim (4)

Insert COPENHAGEN; solution is MADE: (Little) MERMAID with its second letter moved to the end (MRMAIDE) and letters of RIM removed

  1. Wanting an I, ?? head master leads to transport (4)

Insert TIRANA; solution is TRAM: T(i)R(an)A + M(aster)

  1. Friends immediately south of ??, third one climbing up (4)

Insert VADUZ; solution is PALS: ALPS with third letter P climing up to top

  1. ?? couple hides in tube below street under pressure (8)

Insert BRUSSELS; answer is STRESSED: SS in REED below ST

  1. Head of state visits Namib and Gobi for ?? Fingers, among others (8)

Insert VIENNA solution is DESSERTS: S inside DESERTS

  1. ??'s central assistants preparing leaders for strike (4)

Insert OSLO solution is SLAP: (o)SL(o) + A(ssistants) P(reparing)

  1. ??'s central trio on top-tier market, briefly (4)

Insert SAN MARINO; solution is MART: MAR on top of TIER

  1. Henry IV leaves the last bits of ?? cheese (4)

Insert AMSTERDAM; solution is EDAM: ERDAM minus IVth letter of HENRY

Grid:

      M E E T     P O T S
D E C A     R O M A     T
E     D I M A     L A I R
S O M E     M E T S     E
S                       S
E     S T E M     E M O S
R I A L     A M I D     E
T     A M O R     A C E D
S T O P     T E E M

Notice that

the solutions, not merely the spaces, are rotationally symmetrical.

Credit where due:

I didn't figure out 19a myself and probably never would have; Fillet found it; please consider upvoting their answer if you like this one.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hm, second should of course be "first" in 7a... Fixing that now. $\endgroup$ – jafe Mar 1 at 13:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1, very impressive, I think I have the correct explanations for 19a and 1d in my answer. $\endgroup$ – Fillet Mar 1 at 13:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I just figured out 1d (though I think the clue is broken); haven't looked at your answer but will do so now. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Mar 1 at 13:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Looks like we agree on 1d. Your answer to 19a sounds very plausible and I'll edit into my answer with appropriate credit. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Mar 1 at 13:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No indirect anagram in 1d, it's another type of wordplay :) I think I get the confusion, though... The indicator would probably make more sense after the thing it modifies, not before. $\endgroup$ – jafe Mar 1 at 14:21
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Given that

The ?? is to be replaced by a european capital city for each clue

Here are a few:

1a Funny beret men strike ?? to convene (4).

Meet (City is Bern, anagram of beretmen - Bern)

8a Hideout between left and right, return ??'s finals (4)

Lair (City is Sofia, last two letters backwards between l and r). Nicosia would also have fit if the definition of Europe had included it.

  1. Stalk Dorothy's aunt following the heart of ?? (4)

Stem (Aunt Em from Wizard of Oz following Pristina)

15a. In the middle of chaotic ??, doctor gets cut (4)

Amid (City is Madrid, anagram without dr)

17a. Constituents of ??'s republic passed with flying colours (4)

Aced (City: Skopje, capital of [North?] Macedonia)

18a. Arrest ??'s top three; capital punishment follows (4)

Stop (City is Stockholm, giving Sto, then p from punishment)

19a. Listen, Sparta ?? to be overflowing (4)

Teem (City is Prague, Sparta Prague is a team)

1d Created the second-to-last little ?? statue with no rim (4)

Made (City is Copenhagen, statue there is Mermaid (mermaid - rim = mead, move the e from second to last position = made)

4d. ?? couple hides in tube below street under pressure (8)

Stressed? St for street, and a reed? Not sure of the city though?

12d. ??'s central trio on top-tier market, briefly (4)

Mart (City is San marino + top tier)

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice start! I've added a note regarding 8a. $\endgroup$ – jafe Mar 1 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ 4d: rot13(Jbhyqa'g gur ghor ersre gb Ybaqba?) $\endgroup$ – JAD Mar 1 at 16:00
3
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13down:

Henry IV = fourth letter of HENRY = R, city = Amsterdam (Netherlands), last bits of AMSTERDAM = ERDAM, ERDAM - R = EDAM (a cheese from Holland!).


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