16
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Which two capitals are missing from this list? Explain why.


Budapest (: : ; : : ; : :)
? (: : : ; : : : :)
Oslo (؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛)
Khartoum (: : ; : : ; : :)
Tbilisi (: ; : : : : ; :)
Montevideo (: : : ; : : : :)
Dublin (: : ; : : ; : :)
? (; : : : : : : ;)(: : ; : : ; : :)(; : : : : : : ;)
Buenos Aires (؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛)
Warsaw (: : ; : : ; : :)
Windhoek (: ; : : : : ; :)
Athens (: : : : ; : : :)
Tegucigalpa (: ; : : : : ; :)
Cardiff (؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛)
Bishkek (: ; : : : : ; :)
San Salvador (: : : ; : : : :)
Nairobi (; : : : : : : ;)
Astana (: : : : ; : : :)
New Delhi (: : : : ; : : :)
Port of Spain (: ; : : : : ; :)
Niamey (: : : : ; : : :)
Lisbon (؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛ ؛)
Quito (: : : ; : : : :)
Brussels (: : ; : : ; : :)
Jakarta (: ; : : : : ; :)
Bucharest (; : : : : : : ;)
Belfast (: : : ; : : : :)

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1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Congrats on topping the HNQ list!!! $\endgroup$
    – user79541
    Oct 15, 2022 at 19:34

1 Answer 1

16
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The two missing capitals are ...

... Muscat, the capital of Oman and Doha, the capital of Qatar.

The patterns ...

... consist either of eight colons and semi-colons or of eight upside-down semi-colons. There are not many patterns. They boil down to only six, sketched below. (I've used 9 and 6 here for the normal and upside-sown semicolons and a dot for the colon. That makes the patterns clearer.)

      4 times (. . . . 9 . . .)
      5 times (. . . 9 . . . .)
      6 times (. . 9 . . 9 . .)
      6 times (. 9 . . . . 9 .)
      4 times (9 . . . . . . 9)
      4 times (6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6)

Now if we ...

... organize the capitals by these patterns and also look up their countries, we get:

             Astana (. . . . 9 . . .) Kazakhstan
          New Delhi (. . . . 9 . . .) India
             Niamey (. . . . 9 . . .) Niger
             Athens (. . . . 9 . . .) Greece

                  ? (. . . 9 . . . .)
         Montevideo (. . . 9 . . . .) Uruguay
              Quito (. . . 9 . . . .) Ecuador
       San Salvador (. . . 9 . . . .) El Salvador
            Belfast (. . . 9 . . . .) Northern Ireland

           Brussels (. . 9 . . 9 . .) Belgium
             Dublin (. . 9 . . 9 . .) Ireland
           Khartoum (. . 9 . . 9 . .) Sudan
           Budapest (. . 9 . . 9 . .) Hungary
                  ? (. . 9 . . 9 . .)
             Warsaw (. . 9 . . 9 . .) Poland

            Bishkek (. 9 . . . . 9 .) Kyrgyzstan
           Windhoek (. 9 . . . . 9 .) Namibia
            Jakarta (. 9 . . . . 9 .) Indonesia
            Tbilisi (. 9 . . . . 9 .) Georgia
        Tegucigalpa (. 9 . . . . 9 .) Honduras
      Port of Spain (. 9 . . . . 9 .) Trinidad & Tobago

          Bucharest (9 . . . . . . 9) Romania
                  ? (9 . . . . . . 9)
                  ? (9 . . . . . . 9)
            Nairobi (9 . . . . . . 9) Kenia

             Lisbon (6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6) Portugal
       Buenos Aires (6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6) Argentina
            Cardiff (6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6) Wales
               Oslo (6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6) Norway

We see ...

... that the patterns are the starting positions or files of the six chess pieces. The pawns (6) are on the second row or rank; the other pieces (9) are on the first row. (That's also what the title suggests: Capitals turned into pieces.)

The countries' first letters spell the names of the pieces, pawn, rook, knight, bishop, queen and king. Clearly, we are missing a Q for queen and and O for rook and bishop.

There is only one country that starts with O, Oman, and only one country that starts with Q, Qatar. The capitals of these two countries, Muscat and Doha, must fill the spaces.

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3
  • $\begingroup$ you see more than me, o great one! :) $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Oct 14, 2022 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ This is the correct answer, well done! $\endgroup$ Oct 14, 2022 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ Being nitpicky - The starting position for white, not black (K and Q) $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Oct 14, 2022 at 11:15

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