The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) released a string of "fiendish" puzzles in time for Christmas.
GCHQ is an intelligence and security organisation that provides signals intelligence and information assurance to the government and armed forces of the United Kingdom.
Created by a team of in-house masterminds, the seven puzzles are aimed at secondary school teenagers interested in science, tech and engineering. The puzzles are based on the seven disciplines of languages, engineering, codebreaking, analysis, maths, coding and cyber security – critical skills needed within GCHQ.
The puzzles are featured on their director's Christmas card, which is sent to partners in the UK and around the world who work with them to counter threats, including hostile state activity, terror groups and organised crime gangs.
Director GCHQ Sir Jeremy Fleming said: "From breaking Enigma to harnessing the latest cutting-edge technology, our brilliant people have worked together throughout our history to help keep the country safe.
"This year’s GCHQ Christmas Card Challenge gives an insight into the skills we need every day as part of our mission – from languages to coding.
"But skills alone won’t be enough to crack this one. Puzzlers need to combine a mix of minds to solve the seemingly impossible."
If you want to have a go before we reveal all, youcan download GCHQ's Christmas challenge here.
Cyber-security answer: Rudolph’s route is: South, East, Ascend, West, East, East, Descend. The initial letters spell SEAWEED.
Language answer: An ailurophile likes cats, and ‘chat’ is French for ‘cat’. Similarly, a cynophile like dogs and the Polish for ‘dog’ is PIES.
Analysis answer: All but one of the words in this question have an odd number of letters. The odd one out, which has an even number of letters, is, appropriately, DIRECTOR.
Engineering answer: Turning the wheels 20 places clockwise, anticlockwise, anticlockwise, clockwise, clockwise respectively results in the letters at the top spelling out PICKY.
Code-breaking answer: Taking the letter (or number) before each letter (or number) in the codetext gives ‘what3words address is outboard.grid.rejoins’.
Mathematics answer: The letters of ‘two’ appear backwards in ‘growth’ and the letters of ‘six’ appear backwards in ‘exist’. The letters of ‘nine’ appear backwards in OPENING.
Front-of-card answer: CHRISTMAS GREETINGS.
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