22nd Apr, 2021

Can you solve GCHQ's toughest ever puzzle?

Rugby Editorial 26th Mar, 2021

GCHQ has created its toughest puzzle ever in honour of Alan Turing appearing on the new £50 note.

The Bank of England revealed the note’s design featuring the scientist and mathematician on Thursday, as GCHQ officials said their new treasure hunt involving 12 puzzles “might even have left him scratching his head.”

The puzzles are based on the unique design elements of the new banknote, such as the technical drawings for the British Bombe, the machine designed by Mr Turing to break Enigma-enciphered messages.

Mr Turing’s great-nephew, James Turing, described the puzzle as a “wonderful tribute” which his family would be attempting to complete themselves.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it’s a wonderful recognition, and a bit reminiscent of the famous crossword that they used for recruiting at Bletchley Park back in the day.

“So, a wonderful tribute and certainly something we’ll be having a go at shortly.”

GCHQ officials said the full challenge could take an experienced puzzler seven hours to complete.

Colin, a GCHQ analyst and its chief puzzler, said: “Alan Turing has inspired many recruits over the years to join GCHQ, eager to use their own problem-solving skills to help to keep the country safe.

“So it seemed only fitting to gather a mix of minds from across our missions to devise a seriously tough puzzle to honour his commemoration on the new £50 note.

“It might even have left him scratching his head – although we very much doubt it.”

The answers will be announced publicly in the coming weeks.

The puzzle can be found at www.gchq.gov.uk/information/turing-challenge.

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