GCHQ is asking recruits to solve this puzzle - can you?

Clara Hill@clara_ish
Thursday 22 April 2021 17:12

GCHQ posted a problem in a recruitment drive

(PA Archive)

What does the sequence below of numbers and letters in the picture mean to you? Is it in a language you speak? Well, if the answer is yes, you could be exactly what GCHQ is looking for.

GCHQ describes itself as “a world-leading intelligence, cyber and security agency with a mission to keep the UK safe.” so if that sounds like an institution you want to work for, you better get your paper and pencils out and start thinking...

Don’t scroll to the bottom unless you are sure you’ve got the answer if you don’t want spoilers.

GCHQ posted this conundrum as a recruitment measure


The following sequence was posted on their Instagram, and if you know the answer, the hours are slipping away as Instagram Stories only stay up for a maximum of 24 hours.

Last month, to celebrate number-crunching hero Alan Turing appearing on the new £50 note, they posted the Turing Challenge with this quote as the first hint “We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”

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Turing was instrumental to cracking the enigma code which is thought to have been vital in the Allies winning the Second World War. However, Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for being gay and is believed to have died by suicide in 1954.

This one is a little less like a scavenger hunt but still tricky and something meaty to sink your mathematical teeth into.

The answer to the problem was “MI5 JOINS INSTAGRAM”


The answer is the news today that Mi5 has joined the 21st century by debuting its Instagram page.

The message was encoded using the hexadecimal system, which we gave up trying to put into plain English and have instead decided to link to its Wikipedia page.