News Article

Director GCHQ's Christmas card puzzle - how did you do?

Last Updated: 04 Feb 2016
View the complete answers to the Director's puzzle, with some explanations from the puzzle setters.

News article - 4 Feb 2016

Well over half a million people tried solving Director GCHQ Robert Hannigan’s Christmas puzzle, but no one managed to get all the possible answers correct.

Three members of the public came the closest; rising above the 30,000+ others who reached the final stage and came within a whisker of providing all the possible correct answers.

They will be rewarded with a GCHQ paperweight and a copy of the recent biography of Bletchley Park codebreaker Alan Turing, signed with a personal message from Director, as well as major bragging rights!

Two 41-year-old men, one from Scotland and the other from Belgium were among the three winners.

The fiendishly challenging puzzle demanded a mix of mathematical, linguistic and problem-solving skills that gripped social media and technology forums when the first stage was launched early in December.

Since then, more than 600,000 people successfully attempted the first stage - a QR code - which led them to questions testing their analytical prowess and knowledge of phonetics, semaphore, French, snooker, The Lord of the Rings, plus much much more!

As Robert Hannigan said: "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 approach problem-solving from every possible angle".

The answers  are now available for you to check how many you managed to work out. It also includes explanations from the puzzle-setters that should hopefully make things a little clearer ... or not.

Alongside the teasing puzzle, Director encouraged participants to donate to his chosen charity, the NSPCC.

Thank you to everyone who took part; we hope you enjoyed the challenge!

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