-"Don't leave us, Barry Poppins!"

The adorable Jade and Nigel don't seem to have taken it too well that I'm leaving. They have followed me around my room as I was packing, weeping and wailing for the whole morning. I'm here now, in front of the Banks' residence, wondering if I've taken everything. Magic umbrella: check. Magic carpet bag: check...

-"You can't just leave us like this" - cries little Jade.

-"There, there, children. You don't need me anymore. Your father has realised that work is not everything and he is now the attentive, caring father you wanted."

-"You know that's not true, Barry Poppins. He's been furloughed by the bank because of the pandemic, he's bored out of his mind and now he forces these ghastly outdoor/educational activities on us."

-"Jade! Nigel!" - the overly cheerful voice of Mr. Banks reaches us from the house - "Let's go fly a kite!"

-"You need to help us, Barry Poppins!" - screams little Nigel, desperately.

-"Sorry kids, you're on your own. There's another pair of annoying brats in need of my mentorship. No offence..."

-"Some taken"

-"I need to go, the wind won't stay favourable forever. This is where I'm going." - I say hurriedly passing a little diagram to them - "I've spelled it out for you, because I know you would forget it otherwise. Drop me an email if you are ever in the area". enter image description here -"What's this supposed to mean?" - shouts Nigel, while I'm already up in the air.

-"Forget it" - says Jade - "he was a terrible nanny anyway. Let's go fly this kite and get it over with."


1 Answer 1


The answer is:


The solution:

The shape of the graph and the use of stars as the vertices suggests the European Union. Comparing against the map, two vertices adjacent if the corresponding countries share a land border. Starting at #1 and going clockwise, the countries are: BULGARIA, CZECH REPUBLIC, AUSTRIA, ITALY, LUXEMBOURG, FRANCE, MALTA, FINLAND, LITHUANIA, ROMANIA, HUNGARY, CROATIA, DENMARK, NETHERLANDS, SPAIN, IRELAND, ESTONIA, GREECE, SLOVAKIA, POLAND, SLOVENIA, GERMANY, BELGIUM, PORTUGAL, CYPRUS, SWEDEN, and LATVIA. Note: IRELAND, MALTA, and CYPRUS border no other EU members, so their orders can be interchanged, but this does not affect the puzzle solution.

Deriving the solution:

The three isolated EU members can be assigned to the degree 0 vertices arbitrarily, and FINLAND and SWEDEN form a pair connected to each other by no other vertices. The maximum degree of any vertex is 8, which corresponds to GERMANY. There is also a single vertex of degree 6, which must be AUSTRIA. There are two vertices of degree 5, which must be FRANCE and HUNGARY; the one adjacent to GERMANY is FRANCE, and the other is HUNGARY. Once these vertices are labelled, the remaining vertices can be determined by inspection against a map.

Finishing off:

Using the first letters of the countries in the order indicated, one gets the city of BASEL in Switzerland, ironically a non-EU country.

  • $\begingroup$ That was fast, well done! $\endgroup$ Jun 22, 2020 at 7:08
  • $\begingroup$ I was about to say you're mistaken about the country of Ireland, but ... yeah ... EU :-/ $\endgroup$ Jun 22, 2020 at 7:14

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