News Article

As Christmas puzzle deadline looms, GCHQ says 'no winning answers yet'

Last Updated: 28 Jan 2016
Director GCHQ, Robert Hannigan's Christmas puzzle is nearing its closing date of 31 January 2016. So far, approximately 30,000 players have reached the final stage.

News article - 28 Jan 2016

Approximately 30,000 players have reached the final stage of Director GCHQ Robert Hannigan’s Christmas puzzle, roughly 5% of those who started it. Of those, none have fully completed the puzzle, and with the closing date for entries being 23:59 GMT on 31 January 2016, it is unclear whether any successful entries will be received.

The complete solution to all stages of the puzzle will be published on the GCHQ website in early February, after all entries have been received and the competition has closed.

GCHQ's website saw unprecedented levels of visitors taking the challenge over the Christmas period. Nearly 600,000 people successfully completed the opening stage of the puzzle - a nonogram which when completed correctly, creates a QR (Quick Response) code.

The puzzle was designed to amuse recipients of the Director's card, but also encouraged them to make a donation to his chosen charity this year, the NSPCC. The web based version of the puzzle invited site visitors to consider doing the same and carried a link to the charity’s own website.

Robert Hannigan, Director GCHQ, said "I'm delighted that so many people have tried the puzzle and made a donation to the NSPCC.

"With a few days to go no one has cracked it all yet, so my one and only clue is: it’s not as abstract as you think.

"What I hope the stages of the puzzle show is that to deliver our mission and keep Britain safe, we need people from all backgrounds, with all skills, who look at problems from every angle."