GCHQ Christmas puzzle

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GCHQ Christmas puzzle

Postby kiwijam » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 7:45 am

This was mentioned in the local newspaper here.
GCHQ is a UK intelligence/security agency.
I haven't tried it myself yet, but apparently there are a sequence of stages to solve...

http://www.gchq.gov.uk/press_and_media/news_and_features/Pages/Director%27s-Christmas-puzzle-2015.aspx
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Re: GCHQ Christmas puzzle

Postby PuzzleScot » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 1:41 pm

Yeah. Gareth and I have both been asked to appear on Sky News to discuss this.
I solved the hanji quick enough, but the 'next stage' on gchq's site isn't opening very quickly (ie, at all!)
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Re: GCHQ Christmas puzzle

Postby PuzzleScot » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 1:49 pm

ITV has asked if we can get a small group of puzzlers together to film a piece for News at 10 tonight.
Would anyone be up for that? I've asked for details on time/location. Guessing early evening somewhere London or thereabouts...
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Re: GCHQ Christmas puzzle

Postby detuned » Fri 05 Feb, 2016 12:57 am

Gareth has been on the radio a lot recently discussing this!

The solutions have now been posted at the following link:

http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/puzzl ... utions.pdf
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Re: GCHQ Christmas puzzle

Postby dickoon » Fri 05 Feb, 2016 11:46 am

Some of those puzzles are great and others are... less so. Can an answer to a puzzle of "this puzzle has two possible answers" be as satisfying as a single answer to a puzzle where you are satisfied that it is correct? Similarly, any answer document which has to include a comment "No-one found the four additional intended answers involving further reinterpretation of x as a multiplication sign, perhaps indicating that this was not a terribly fair question" does not speak well of that part of the puzzle-setting - it's a bit too "only the setters think this is funny" for my liking.

Still, there were some very imaginative and original puzzles in there, and surely there must be senses in which the existence of high-profile, high-quality puzzles out there has to be better for puzzling in the UK than the non-existence of such puzzles. The challenge must be to get people who took part in (and, better still, did well at) that contest to be involved with other areas of the puzzle community. One of the three prizewinners has been named (e.g. at The Guardian) and, I am aware second-hand, is known in quiz discussion circles on Facebook. Where next?
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Re: GCHQ Christmas puzzle

Postby PuzzleScot » Fri 05 Feb, 2016 7:10 pm

We have all 3 names:
"David McBryan, 41, from Dublin, Wim Hulpia, 40, from Belgium and American-born Kelley Kirklin, 54, who lives in London, will each receive a GCHQ paperweight, pen and signed copy of the book Alan Turing Decoded, written by his nephew Dermot Turing."

The BBC said Byran was from Edinburgh, but there's no McBryan in the BT phone book.
2nd hand connection should be good enough to pass the message to him.

However, I suspect there are many people who like broad challenges rather than straight language-neutral logic puzzles. I feel it's going to be hard to coax them to try our stuff to the point they are hooked. Shame.
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Re: GCHQ Christmas puzzle

Postby sknight » Fri 05 Feb, 2016 8:02 pm

dickoon wrote:Can an answer to a puzzle of "this puzzle has two possible answers" be as satisfying as a single answer to a puzzle where you are satisfied that it is correct?


Yes, but only rarely, and only if the double solution is particularly clever. The classic example from the New York Times Crossword Puzzle was one from the week of the 1996 US Presidential election in which Bob Dole and Bill Clinton were vying for office. One across clue was something like: "Election result: _______ wins!". As it turned out, both BOBDOLE and CLINTON solved the puzzle. Every single down clue that crossed the word had two valid answers that worked with one or the other of the results. If you only noticed one solution, it was an ordinary crossword, and you were sort of annoyed at the constructor for being partisan in the election (there were any number of angry letters about that). If you noticed both solutions, it was absolutely beautiful. And with that sort of double solution, you definitely could be satisfied that you were correct.
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Re: GCHQ Christmas puzzle

Postby dickoon » Sun 07 Feb, 2016 1:35 am

sknight wrote:Yes, but only rarely, and only if the double solution is particularly clever.


Great counter-example; I can remember reading about that, but had forgotten.
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