Support our Nation today - please donate here

Young James Bond wannabes invited to pit their wits against GCHQ puzzle

14 Dec 2022 3 minute read
James Bond actor Daniel Craig PA Images Ian West

James Bond wannabes have been set a festive brainteaser by the UK’s spy agency GCHQ.

The puzzle, which features on the Christmas card sent by the director of Cheltenham-based GCHQ Sir Jeremy Fleming to his contacts around the world, is aimed at testing not only schoolchildren’s knowledge of key subjects but also their ability to work as a team.

A GCHQ spokesman said the Christmas challenge was designed to test problem-solving skills as well as inspire an interest in Stem subjects.

He said: “The puzzle, masterminded by a team of the agency’s in-house puzzlers, features on Director GCHQ’s Christmas card.

“The card is sent to partners in the UK and around the world who work with the intelligence, cyber and security agency to counter threats, including hostile state activity, terror groups and organised crime gangs.

“Secondary school classes across the country will need to work as a team to crack the Christmas challenge, featuring seven fiendish puzzles.

“The puzzles are based on the seven disciplines of: languages, engineering, codebreaking, analysis, maths, coding and cyber security – all key skills needed at GCHQ to help keep the country safe.

“But this year’s challenge comes with a twist, once they solve all seven puzzles, schoolchildren will need to think outside the box, using the design on the front of the card to assemble the answers, forming three separate What3Words locations.

“Joining the three place names together will reveal the special festive answer.

“Based on the seven disciplines featured in the recently published Puzzles For Spies book, the #GCHQChristmasChallenge tests the lateral thinking, ingenuity and perseverance needed by those working at GCHQ across its missions to keep the country safe.”

GCHQ Christmas card featuring puzzles which has been sent by the director of GCHQ Sir Jeremy Fleming

Seemingly impossible

What3Words is a mobile phone app which divides the world into a grid of three metre squares and allocates three words to each square to enable people to share their precise location.

Sir Jeremy 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.”

Schools interested in taking part in the puzzles can find a resource pack on the GCHQ website.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.