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World Bordering Countries Farthest Apart Alphabetically


Name the pairs of countries which border and are the farthest apart alphabetically based on their full common English name (see NAMING NOTE at bottom regarding a few countries). By farthest apart, I’m putting the most weight on the difference between the first letters, then on the 2nd, etc. Number of letters apart the first letters of each country are is shown.

Dependent territories included as part of their countries. Borders included over man-made land, but not bridges/tunnels. Enter countries one after the other in either order, i.e. ‘FranceGermany’ or ‘USCanada’ – use the following abbreviations for answering these countries (however the A-Z is NOT based on these abbreviations): US, UK, DRC, CAR, UAE, and just ‘Congo’ for Republic of the Congo.

NAMING NOTE: For the purposes of sorting countries A-Z, the following country names are used:
Cote d’Ivoire
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo

Enter guesses above to begin.
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6 months ago

>cutoff is 15 letters
>country whose name begins with A bordering a country whose name begins with P doesn’t make it
>A and P are exactly 15 letters apart

That’s Afghanistan and Pakistan, by the way.

6 months ago
Reply to  darin

“By farthest apart, I’m putting the most weight on the difference between the first letters, then on the 2nd, etc.”

That’s the intuitive solution as that indicates how far they are apart alphabetically, but it’s doing something weird.

As an obvious example, Austria/Slovenia is ranked higher than Austria/Slovakia. In practice, that doesn’t matter since they’re both comfortably in the list.

The calculation does matter since the list only includes the top three where the first letter is 15 apart:

#48 Argentina – Paraguay  
#49 Guyana – Venezuela
#50 China – Russia

The first two should be among the lowest ranked 15s based on their second letters Ar/Pa and Gu/Ve. The aforementioned Afghanistan/Pakistan shouldn’t be ranked very high, but it should outrank both as it has negative 5 difference on the second letter. Djibouti/Somalia has a +5 difference, which is even better.

I suspect China/Russia deserves in the top three 15-aparts. If not, it should be close. I don’t think there are a lot of 15-aparts, but I didn’t make an exhaustive list.

The most logical solution to me is to chop the list off at 47 (16 apart), even though 47 isn’t a round number. That’s better than making people guess what random 15-aparts made the list. That’s made more difficult because you don’t have a list of missed guesses for the 15-aparts that weren’t #48-#50.

If you insist on 50, then it should be the 15 that are furthest apart alphabetically.

p.s. FWIW, getting those three 15s didn’t cause me trouble when I played. I guessed the first two before I had internalized where the cutoff was.

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