Meta: If you find this kind of puzzle fun, I'd like to make a complete series with the same style. Let's see how it goes!

The Babel Brotherhood is composed of people from all around the world.

Two members of the Brotherhood, codenames Madrid and Washington, were on a dangerous infiltration mission to retrieve some secret documents. They were already inside the building, and Madrid was deactivating the silent alarm for the door of the office containing the documents. They both knew that if he failed, they would need to abort the mission immediately and run to the exit as fast as possible to avoid getting caught, and if he succeeded, they would need to quickly enter the office and retrieve the documents.

After some time working on the alarm, Madrid suddenly exclaimed a single word. Simultaneously, he opened the door (as he had deactivated the alarm successfully) and Washington started running in panic towards the exit.

What did Madrid exclaim, and why did Washington ran towards the exit?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ When you don't know any spanish $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2018 at 19:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You should write the next one to these; I'd love to write one myself, but I want to ensure I follow the correct formatting! +1 $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2018 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ Just in case: the general idea for The Babel Brotherhood is to create puzzles around linguistic "false friends". The puzzle gets harder the more obscure the involved languages, the involved words or the clues to deduce the involved languages. For example, this puzzle was kind of straightforward because it used two common languages, obvious clues and simple words (one of which is even written in the puzzle). $\endgroup$
    – Racso
    Sep 24, 2018 at 21:16

2 Answers 2


I suspect that Madrid

is Spanish and exclaimed "Éxito!" meaning "success"

whereas Washington

is American and thought Madrid was telling him to head for the exit.


Madrid Said:

Vamanos! (Let's Go!)

and Washington heard:

Vamoose! (American-English slang for "Get out!")


Madrid speaks Spanish, Washington speaks English.

  • $\begingroup$ You were on the right track! $\endgroup$
    – Racso
    Sep 24, 2018 at 19:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There are probably quite a few word pairs that could work. $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2018 at 19:50

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