UK spy agency challenges 'wise men and women' to solve Christmas card puzzle

The UK's largest spy agency...

Posted: Dec 18, 2020 9:49 AM

The UK's largest spy agency GCHQ has sent out its annual Christmas card complete with a brainteaser.

Try and solve the puzzle by completing a series of letter sequences, then fill in your answers on the special Christmas bauble.

"Problem solving is at the heart of what we do. Taking on this Christmas cracker gives puzzlers an insight into the skills you need to be a GCHQ analyst," said a GCHQ spokesperson in a statement published Friday.

"Bring together a mix of minds by sharing it with the wise men and women in your household to find the solution."

The instructions are as follows: "Complete the following nine sequences and plot your single-letter answers in the corresponding golden nodes on the bauble. Follow the flow of the arrows from somewhere frosty to unlock a message."

The sequences are: GFEDCB_; NOHHPQ_; MDCLXV_; POIUYT_; DPLLMS_; HHELIB_; NAMWON_; EOEREX_; and GMRDPR_.

If you want to keep testing your skills, check out the GCHQ Twitter account, which publishes puzzles on a weekly basis.

The answer to the Christmas puzzle will also be posted on the account, as well as on Instagram and the GCHQ website.

GCHQ is an intelligence, cyber and security agency, according to its website. The agency is perhaps best known for its operations during World War II, when it relocated to Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire.

There, code-breakers including Alan Turing famously decrypted coded German messages sent using the Enigma cipher machine.

More recently GCHQ was criticized by Big Tech for making a "ghost proposal" that would allow them to eavesdrop on encrypted messages.

At the end of 2018, high-ranking officials suggested service providers could "silently add a law enforcement participant" to encrypted group chats or calls.

But in May 2019 advocacy groups, security experts and tech giants including Apple, Google and WhatsApp signed an open letter to GCHQ demanding its spies be banned from accessing private digital messages.

New York

Cases: 2533155

Reported Deaths: 56222
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings33439110849
Queens31559610296
Suffolk2404693613
Nassau2149303300
Bronx2078026754
New York1685484637
Westchester1438522343
Erie1071301956
Richmond890341936
Monroe849411189
Orange57778920
Rockland53278779
Onondaga52461765
Dutchess35776500
Albany31074390
Oneida28870590
Broome24729409
Niagara24203398
Saratoga20485204
Ulster17349280
Schenectady16899229
Rensselaer14947170
Putnam1254198
Chautauqua12526175
Oswego11817115
Chemung11046157
St. Lawrence10701128
Steuben10273173
Ontario9436110
Jefferson900378
Cayuga8722107
Sullivan852683
Wayne827885
Cattaraugus7830118
Genesee7098132
Herkimer6875128
Clinton680740
Tompkins657459
Fulton6432104
Madison6266102
Montgomery6036142
Livingston580071
Warren557184
Cortland540180
Tioga518672
Columbia5043111
Chenango473388
Washington468467
Allegany468298
Otsego461755
Wyoming442858
Greene442087
Orleans440189
Franklin435222
Lewis364938
Delaware359148
Seneca276163
Essex236231
Schoharie232822
Yates167328
Schuyler155417
Hamilton4393
Unassigned15130
Out of NY0319

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4852216

Reported Deaths: 71350
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148510526549
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3678574183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
Out of CA00
You Found Frank!

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00