GCHQ: British spy agency tests children’s puzzle skills in Bletchley Park-themed Christmas cards | UK News


Schoolchildren across the country will put their puzzle-solving skills to the test after the British spy agency launched its annual Christmas challenge.

GCHQ has sent its Christmas card challenge featuring a rare photo of a snow-covered Bletchley Park to more than 1,000 secondary schools.

It includes seven increasingly complex puzzles that test skills such as code-breaking, math and analysis, and encourages students to work as a team to uncover the final festive message.

Undated handout graphic released by Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) for GCHQ Director Anne Keast-Butler's first Christmas card challenge.  The challenge is the toughest yet and challenges people to pit their wits against school kids with the bonus puzzle.  The Christmas card features a rare image of a snow-covered mansion in Bletchley Park, discovered in codebreaker Joan Wingfield's personal family album.  Issue date: Thursday 14 December 2023.

Also included is a maths-based bonus puzzle, which has been described as the hardest yet.

GCHQ Director Anne Keast-Butler said: “Gods have been at the heart of GCHQ from the start.

“These skills represent our historical roots in cryptography and encryption and continue to be important to our modern mission to keep the country secure.

“GCHQ’s history at Bletchley Park is represented in this year’s Christmas card as a reminder of the role this historic site has played in our wartime efforts, but also as the home of this year’s AI Safety Summit.

“Our puzzle has created a challenge designed for a mix of minds to solve. Whether you are an analyst, engineer or creative, there is a puzzle for everyone. This is a puzzle for classmates, family and friends to try to solve together.”

Bletchley Park was the wartime home of GCHQ and the featured photo, taken in January 1940, was discovered in the personal family album of Joan Wingfield, who worked on breaking Italian naval codes.

Now in its third year, the challenge aims to give an insight into GCHQ’s work and inspire young people to study mainstream subjects.

The answers to this year’s challenge will be revealed on the GCHQ website at 7 on Friday.


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