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A Right Royal Puzzle - the answers

Last Updated: 13 Jun 2016
Our maths wizards worked their magic again in honour of Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday. How did you do in solving their fiendish puzzles?

The overall puzzle was made up of seven individual challenges, which ranged in difficulty from 1 through to 5 on the Enigma Rotor Scale.

The answers to the seven questions are all names of British monarchs. In particular, the answers take the form of the monarch's regnal name (e.g. Elizabeth) and the monarch's regnal number (which is 2, in the case of Her Majesty the Queen). 


Question 1      

enigma-rotor-scale-1.jpg

Colour-coded scale indicating puzzle difficulty. Level 1

The items listed are all anagrams of ingredients in the cocktail known as a 'Bloody Mary'.

  • CLAY KESTREL  -  CELERY STALK
  • CRYSTAL EEL  -  CELERY SALT
  • CUBA SEACOAST  -  TABASCO SAUCE
  • CUBIC SEE  -  ICE CUBES
  • JAM TOO, CUTIE  -  TOMATO JUICE
  • LEWD GENOME  -  LEMON WEDGE
  • P. E. PREP  -  PEPPER
  • REOCCURS, WEATHERISES  -  WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
  • D. V. OAK  -  VODKA
  • JOULE MINCE  -  LEMON JUICE

Bloody Mary was the nickname of Mary I, which is the answer to this question.


Question 2 

enigma-rotor-scale-2.jpg

Colour-coded scale indicating puzzle difficulty. Level 2

The people listed in this question all had different titles:

  1. Count of Savoy (1178 – 1233)  -  Thomas I
  2. King of England (1284 – 1327)  -  Edward II
  3. ???
  4. Alexander (1743 - 1827)  -  4th Duke of Gordon
  5. King of Scots (1512 – 1542)  -  James V

If you spotted all the train-related clues on the question, you might have then guessed that this question has to do with locomotives from the Thomas the Tank Engine stories. Thomas the Tank Engine had a 1 painted on his side, Edward was the number 2 engine, Gordon was number 4, and James was number 5. Number 3 engine was Harry, and so the answer to this question is Henry III.


Question 3  

enigma-rotor-scale-2.jpg

Colour-coded scale indicating puzzle difficulty. Level 2

Here are the original names with their celebrity pseudonymiser counterparts:

  • JOHNS OGOGO  -  ANTHONY HOPKINS 
  • ULYSSES BONNEVILLE  -  HUGH GRANT
  • NATHANIEL PARGETTER  -  NIGEL HAWTHORNE
  • MERRILEE CHAUCER  -  GEOFFREY RUSH
  • BOONE REDFORD  -  ROBERT CARLYLE

 These actors won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in the years 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997.

Nigel Hawthorne won his for his role as George III in the film The Madness of King George, and so the answer is George III.


Question 4  

enigma-rotor-scale-3.jpg

Colour-coded scale indicating puzzle difficulty. Level 3

  1. HJAFUW, JLCHWY, LNEJYA, NPGLAC, ?
    The first letter of each of these four strings of letters is H, J, L, and N. J is two above H in the alphabet, L is two above J, and so on, and so the next letter in the sequence is P. The same rule applies to the letters in the strings e.g. the second letters are J, L, N, and P, and so on. If you work out what the next letter is for each position then you get the word PRINCE, which is therefore the next string in the sequence.

  2. F, S, Mn, Kr, ?
    These are the chemical symbols for fluorine, sulfur, manganese, and krypton. Their atomic numbers are, respectively, 9, 16, 25, and 36, which are successive square numbers. The next square number is 49 and the element for which that is the atomic number is indium. The chemical symbol for indium is In.

  3. The Magician, The High Priestess, The Emperor, Strength, ?
    These are cards from the Major Arcana suit in a Tarot deck of cards. Their numbers are, respectively, 1, 2, 4, and 8, which are the powers of 2 in order. The next power of 2 is 16 and the card that corresponds to that number is The Tower.

If you put the three answers together you get: PRINCE In The Tower. Hopefully by now you will have worked out the theme that the answers to these questions are all historical monarchs, and so this leads to the answer to this question being Edward V.


Question 5  

enigma-rotor-scale-4.jpg

Colour-coded scale indicating puzzle difficulty. Level 4

The headlines in this puzzle have all been encrypted using a simple substitution method:

Plain:        KINGCHARLESTWOBDFJMPQUVXYZ
Encrypted:    ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

by which we mean that K encrypts to A, I encrypts to B, and so on. These are the headlines that you should have found:

  • GENERAL STRIKE CAUSES CHAOS IN BRITAIN
  • EDWARD VIII ABDICATES - GEORGE VI IS NEW KING
  • TRYGVE LIE IS APPOINTED FIRST SECRETARY GENERAL OF UN
  • SWITZERLAND WINS THE FIRST EUROVISION SONG CONTEST
  • ENGLAND DEFEAT WEST GERMANY IN WORLD CUP FINAL
  • DROUGHT CONTINUES IN BRITAIN'S HOTTEST SUMMER
  • JEAN-CLAUDE DUVALIER IS OVERTHROWN AS PRESIDENT OF HAITI
  • BREAKTHROUGH IN GENETICS: DOLLY THE SHEEP IS CLONED
  • PLUTO LOSES ITS STATUS AS A PLANET
  • QUEEN ELIZABETH CELEBRATES NINETIETH BIRTHDAY

These headlines are taken from events that occurred in 1926 (the year of the Queen’s birth), 1936, 1946, and so on, up to 2016.

The encrypted headlines were signed off as ‘ABCDEFGHIJKLMN’ which decrypts to KINGCHARLESTWO and so the answer to this question is Charles II.


Question 6  

enigma-rotor-scale-4.jpg

Colour-coded scale indicating puzzle difficulty. Level 4

This question comes in two parts.

  1. Here are the pairings for this part:

    q6-p3-solution.jpg

    Some words preceded, some followed, by their pairing word, eg 'Berlin' precedes 'Wall'
    ©GCHQ 2016


    The groups:

    • Family relations (by changing one letter): aunt, daughter, father, mother, sister, son
    • Capital cities: Berlin, Brussels, London, Paris, Stockholm, Warsaw
    • Farm animals: cow, donkey, goat, horse, pig, sheep
    • People with regnal names and a middle initial: Edward G. Robinson, George W. Bush, James T. Kirk, John F. Kennedy, Stephen K. Amos
    • Soap operas: Eastenders, Hollyoaks, Crossroads, Brookside, Coronation Street, Doctors

    All the groups have six members except the group for people with regnal names and a middle initial. Remember that what we’re ultimately trying to do is work out where the word GRANT fits into the table of words. The most famous person called Grant that we could think of with a regnal name and a middle initial was Richard E. Grant. So GRANT fits between GUINEA and CROSS.

  1. The sequence of numbers is the regnal numbers of the monarchs of England starting from William I in order. Where a king had no number (e.g. King John) we signified this in the sequence with a hyphen.

    The last three monarchs in the sequence are: Henry VI, Edward IV, and Edward V. The next monarch is Richard III and so the next value in the sequence is III.

Combining the answers to (A) and (B), together with the knowledge that you are looking for a monarch leads to Richard III as the answer.


Question 7  

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Colour-coded scale indicating puzzle difficulty. Level 5

Here is the completed grid:

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A very cryptic crossword grid - the answers
©GCHQ 2016

Click here for a downloadable version of this image.

The extra letter from each clue read in order yields:

DAVID THE SECOND, KING OF SCOTLAND

and so the answer to this question is David II.


Solving the last part

To summarise, here are the answers to the seven questions:

  1. Mary I
  2. Henry III
  3. George III
  4. Edward V
  5. Charles II
  6. Richard III
  7. David II

We asked you to convert each answer to a letter using the same process each time. The secret to this is to take the letter of the regnal name in each case which corresponds to the associated regnal number. So, Mary I becomes ‘M’, Henry III becomes ‘N’, and so on.

Here are the letters for all the answers:

Mary I   >   M
Henry III   >   N
George III   >   O
Edward V   >   R
Charles II   >   H
Richard III   >   C
David II   >   A

Take these letters and unscramble them to get the final answer to the whole set of puzzles: MONARCH