What you see below are two ordered sets of capital cities. There are 5 capital cities missing from each set and your task is to find them and then give me the final 10-letter word.

  • Jerevan

  • Baku

  • Sucre

  • Sofia

  • ... (5)

  • Zagreb

  • ... (4)

  • Tallinn

  • Addis Ababa

  • Libreville

  • Accra

  • Berlin

  • Budapest

  • New Delhi

  • Tehran

  • Baghdad

  • Maseru

  • ... (7)

  • Vilnius

  • Lilongwe

  • Amsterdam

  • Niamey

  • ... (5)

  • Moscow

  • Kigali

  • Belgrade

  • Bratislava

  • Ljubljana

  • ... (5)

  • Damascus

  • Dushanbe

  • Caracas

  • Sana'a

  • ... (7)

  • Yaoundé

  • ... (1)

  • N'Djamena

  • Paris

  • ... (2)

  • Rome

  • ... (11)

  • Bamako

  • Mexico City

  • Chisinau

  • Lima

  • ... (8)

  • $\begingroup$ Is the (5) between Ljubljana and Damascus definitely correct, or are you using something a little more 'historic' in that position? $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 20, 2023 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ i'm using Wikipedia's list sorted in alphabetical order of countries $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2023 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ @newQOpenWid I think there's a different Wiki page you would find more useful... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 20, 2023 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Stiv I think I'll leave it as it is. The idea was one number per missing capital. So you can just post an answer with a notation that I made a mistake on that one. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2023 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ Ready to go! Thanks for the lunchtime mental runaround, even if it didn't all quite go to plan (it happens!)... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 20, 2023 at 12:42

1 Answer 1


The final 10-letter word is:


Find this by noticing that the two lists of capitals provided are...

...the capitals of countries with horizontal tricolour flags (headed by '-'), and the capitals of countries with vertical tricolour flags (headed by '|').

In both cases these are ordered alphabetically by the names of the countries. Thus we need to find the capital cities for the countries that would fit alphabetically into these slots, having the appropriate tricolour flag orientation.

This means our missing capitals are:

Bogo[t]a (of Colombia)
Cai[r]o (of Egypt)
Tripol[i] (of Libya)
Asun[c]ion (of Paraguay)
Pret[o]ria (of South Africa, when using the 1928-1994 flag that appears in the list of tricolours on this Wikipedia page, which I suspect the OP was referring to when creating this puzzle...)


Brusse[l]s (of Belgium)
[O]ttawa (of Canada)
D[u]blin (of Ireland)
Yamoussouk[r]o (of Ivory Coast)
Buchare[s]t (of Romania)

To get the final 10-letter answer, we must...

...use the numbers in brackets to help us extract the letters in that numbered position within the names of the capital cities (e.g. the 5th letter of Bogota is 't') and read them down the list. I have indicated these in the lists in the previous spoiler using square brackets. This gives us the appropriate answer, TRICOLOURS.

(And regarding the title, I expect the 5-letter word missing there is 'FLAGS'...)

  • $\begingroup$ Well done :) And you're correct regarding the missing word in the title. I should've seen that, It's one of the more easier (- - - - -) to recognize. I just followed the list without really looking closely at it. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2023 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Prim3numbah For a while I had 'Madrid' in there - but I'm guessing Spain didn't count because it's not actually rot13(gev-pbybhe, fvapr gjb bs vgf guerr fgevcrf ner erq). This 'historical' possibility was the only one I could make fit to get the letter I needed for the appropriate answer! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 20, 2023 at 12:53
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    $\begingroup$ The wikipedia page notwithstanding, I would not consider the flag of Canada a "tricolor"; it only has two colors. Certainly, if Canada counts, so should Spain. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2023 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ @JeffZeitlin That is a very good point... I think collectively we have good cause to get that Wikipedia page edited properly! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 20, 2023 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ @JeffZeitlin You're right and I see now that there is another one aswell (Peru). That wikipedia list included some but excluded some other for some reason. But again, I should've looked more careful. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2023 at 14:34

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