Last time, I was at the office when my friend John, who is a big fan of riddles and traveling, came up to me with a sly smile and a little piece of paper in his hands.

"Hey, you like to hang around on PSE, right?

-Yes, what do you want? You're afraid of introducing yourself on this website? Poor little thing.

-Shut up already, and solve me this. What is the link between the countries written on that paper?

-Oh, a puzzle? Nice, let me think a bit about it...

-Just before you start, I can tell you that Germany and Morocco don't share the link either, but Slovenia does."

Here are the countries I found on the paper :


Can you help me to find the link between these countries?

Edit (I hope this edit and the new hint will narrow this puzzle. I will drop another one later): My friend John just contacted me, and told me that these countries also share the link :


He also told me that these ones don't share the link :

Switzerland (talking about red and white...)

Hint (it has changed!) :

My friend John and I are working in IT. You could say we are sort of webmasters, and we spend much time on the Internet.

  • $\begingroup$ They all have an 'a' in their name. Scratch that. $\endgroup$ – tuskiomi Aug 2 '16 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ @tuskiomi "Germany" does not share the link $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Aug 2 '16 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ No, but here's an interesting useless piece of information: (From etymonline.com/index.php?term=Madagascar) "Madagascar" large island off the east coast of Africa, from Mogadishu, the name of the city in Somalia, due to an error by Marco Polo in reading Arabic, whereby he thought the name was that of the island. There is no indigenous name for the whole island. $\endgroup$ – John Aug 2 '16 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanAllan No, "Belgium" doesn't share it. $\endgroup$ – EKons Aug 3 '16 at 7:34
  • $\begingroup$ @ΈρικΚωνσταντόπουλος - 1. That does not stop Germany thwarting the "a" theory; and 2. Belgium was not there when I posted that. $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Aug 3 '16 at 7:37

My goodness.

Each of these countries has

A domain extension corresponding to an element on the periodic table.

These are as follows:

Spain: .es (Einsteinium)
Canada: .ca (Calcium)
Madagascar: .mg (Magnesium)
Portugal: .pt (Platinum)
Namibia: .na (Sodium)
Russia: .ru (Ruthenium)
Laos: .la (Lanthanum)
Belgium: .be (Beryllium)
France: .fr (Francium)
Thailand: .th (Thorium)
Senegal: .sn (Tin)
Slovenia: .si (Silicon)

The countries that don't share the link are:

Switzerland: .ch
Denmark: .dk
Finland: .fi
Ireland: .ie
Germany: .de
Morocco: .ma

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  • $\begingroup$ Fulfill the answer with Slovenia, Germany and Morroco, +1 $\endgroup$ – z100 Aug 2 '16 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ Well, we have a winner! I am curious about the "my goodness" at the beginning though :)... $\endgroup$ – IAmInPLS Aug 3 '16 at 6:13
  • $\begingroup$ Also, did the hint give too much away? $\endgroup$ – IAmInPLS Aug 3 '16 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ That hint seems to make it way easier but it could just be me seeing it after knowing the answer. $\endgroup$ – Topple Aug 3 '16 at 17:31

They are all countries

which have official names that, in their official language(s), end in a vowel sound

Like so:

Spain - Spanish: Reino de España
Canada - English: Canada OR French: Canada, [ka.na.da]
Madagascar - French: République de Madagascar (silent r) OR Malagasy: Madagasikara
Portugal - Portuguese: República Portuguesa
Namibia - English: Republic of Namibia
Russia - Russian: Российская Федерация, "Rossijskaja Federacija"
Laos - Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ (ວ is a long monophthong open-mid vowel)
Slovenia - Slovene: Slovenija, [slɔˈʋéːnija]
Gabon - French: République gabonaise

...but not:
Germany - German: [ˈdɔʏtʃlant]
Morocco - Arabic: المغرب‎‎ al-Maghrib (ب is a bāʼ, pronounced "b") OR Berber: ⵍⵎⴰⵖⵔⵉⴱ (ⴱ also being a "b")

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  • $\begingroup$ Not sure about Madagascar, but the rest looks really good $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Aug 2 '16 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, the only one I'm unsure of now is Gabon "...Gabonaise" is a nasal fricative I think. hmm $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Aug 2 '16 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I'm a native french speaker, and I can say that the r is not silent, just quiet :P. But I noticed afterword that you have malagasy up there too, so it's probably good to go. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Aug 2 '16 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ ...that should say "voiced alveolar fricative", but I'm not sure if the "aise" ending is considered a vowel sound (there is a pathway in the mouth as we make it, so ...maybe?) $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Aug 2 '16 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ @dcfyj well we can ask Lord of dark about the "r" - but I reckon it ends in a sound made with an open pathway in the mouth - AKA a vowel sound. $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan Aug 2 '16 at 20:01

A wrong answer, as one of the countries doesn't fit and the pattern also applies to Germany:

Each of the countries contains two consecutive consonants in the alphabet:

Spain: N, P
Canada: C, D
Madagascar: R, S
Portugal: P, R
Namibia: M, N
Russia: R, S
Laos: ?

and, unfortunately, Germany: M, N, and Slovenia does not fit the pattern.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not at all. Remember that Slovenia has to share the link also. $\endgroup$ – IAmInPLS Aug 2 '16 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ So, Pqortugal, then? ;) $\endgroup$ – João Mendes Aug 3 '16 at 13:08

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