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European Cruise

by Michael Korn

This puzzle is an encrypted wordsearch. The diagram can be divided into a 15x14 grid of cells, where each cell contains one of 26 different patterns. Each pattern corresponds to some letter; solvers will have to figure out which pattern corresponds to which letter. It is then possible to locate the names of the 31 given countries in the grid. The first 7 countries read left-to-right in the grid. To find the other countries, the grid must be rotated first, but then the countries read left-to-right as before. (See image below.) There are no diagonals.

After finding all of the countries, there will be 27 unused cells in the grid. Reading these in the standard order, they spell ENCRYPT THE TWO MISSING NATIONS. It turns out that the given wordlist consists of 31 of the 33 non-landlocked European countries (clued by the title "European Cruise"). The missing two are SWEDEN and TURKEY. Since each wordlist was presented in reverse-alphabetical order, it follows that the the correct ordering of these is TURKEY, then SWEDEN. Forming the patterns for each of these, and arranging them into a 2x6 rectangle (with TURKEY on top) forms a decent representation of the word DIAL, the answer to the puzzle.