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An entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge #42: Wordless Connecting Walls


"Sequence, get in here! Your man's definitely up to something!"

The mood at Headquarters was tense. Sergeant Sequence obediently entered the Chief Investigator's office to find him staring at a map on his wall, tugging at his hair with both hands.

"It's Patrick Terne again, Sequence - we've intercepted transmissions pinpointing 16 of his known associates scattered about Europe. We've just had word that they're now all on the move - but we don't know where they're going! Reading Terne's mind is your area of expertise - tell me, where's everybody going next?"

Sergeant Sequence examined the map and slowly shook his head. "Hmmm, this isn't a standard what-comes-next sequence. This is... something else altogether."

The Chief Investigator began striding about the room, muttering to himself, like a man possessed. "All of these locations are fairly sizeable towns, cities, regions or islands in Europe... That one in Bulgaria is not Plovdiv - it's a little too much to the west... Where are they all heading?!"

"Sir," interjected Sequence. "I think we need to call in... Corporal Connecting-Wall!"

TASK: Resolve this map-based connecting wall into 4 categories, each containing exactly 4 of the locations marked in red. Identify the European city (population >100,000) which satisfies all 4 categories - this is where Patrick Terne's associates are heading!

enter image description here

"Checksum" - The initial letters of the places marked in red (minus accent marks, and in alphabetical order) are ABBEGHHIMOPPSWZZ.

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    $\begingroup$ (NB All cities were placed manually in MS Paint. Most are fairly unambiguous (choose the largest settlement in that approximate spot) although an extra hint was given in the text for the one which has a larger city close by to it.) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Nov 6 '20 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ Should the Isle of Wight be shaded as well, in some sense? $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Nov 6 '20 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ @JeremyDover Can be! Depends on who you ask about the precise definition of the area in question :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Nov 6 '20 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ Got it! Thanks Stiv :-) $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Nov 6 '20 at 14:10
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The places here are:

enter image description here

The categories:

Places with "burg": Edinburgh, Gothenburg, St. Petersburg, Burgundy
Places with animal names: Iceland, Moscow, Perpignan, Heraklion
Places with four consonants in a row: Börsskäret, Zaporizhzhia, Hampshire, Pazardzhik.
Places with a type of fish in them: Östersund, Arkhangelsk, Warsaw, and Zaragoza. (sunfish, angelfish, sawfish, ragfish)

So the final city is

the city of WOLFSBURG, Germany -- it satisfies all four of the criteria given.


Thanks to Misha Lavrov and jafe for helping me finish this off the answer by finding the last category and the final city, respectively.

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  • $\begingroup$ I feel like I'm close, but some of these categories could be wrong. (Especially the third - I regex-searched a list of European cities and couldn't find any with four consonants in a row that also had "burg" in them.) Given the [word-property] tag, I'm guessing that all the categories will be based on the words themselves rather than any other properties of the locations. The mix of cities and regions also seems to hint towards this. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Nov 6 '20 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ Corporal Connecting-Wall listened as Sergeant Sequence laid out what they had deduced so far. "This looks good," she murmured, impressed. "I'd agree with all 4 of your groupings - that fourth one is definitely the most obscure to work out, but I think I've got it. Keep working on the same lines as you already have been and maybe you'll see it soon... Oh, and I think you should be able to pinpoint the target city already - perhaps you can then work backwards to help catch what you're missing..." $\endgroup$ – Stiv Nov 6 '20 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ rot13(Jbysfohet) looks like it could be the final answer? $\endgroup$ – Jafe Nov 6 '20 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ With assistance from @jafe it looks like you're really closing the net around this gang... $\endgroup$ – Stiv Nov 6 '20 at 17:39
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    $\begingroup$ I think the missing category comes from rot13(fhasvfu, natrysvfu, fnjsvfu, entsvfu). $\endgroup$ – Misha Lavrov Nov 7 '20 at 16:44

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