Puzzle Book

Pit your wits against the people who cracked Enigma

Last year, GCHQ set a challenge to the public in the form of a cryptic Christmas card.

This year, they went one step further and wrote a whole book full of puzzles. The answers to most of these puzzles are in the book, but there are one or two challenges that they haven’t revealed the solutions to…yet.

Penguin Random House and GCHQ went on a hunt for Britain’s smartest puzzler, and this quest began with The GCHQ Puzzle Book, in which the first part of The GCHQ Puzzle Book Competition appeared.

Like last year’s competition, this one had various parts to it, and these required both puzzle-solving and codebreaking skills. As you proceeded, the instructions for entering the competition became clear.



The GCHQ Puzzle Book Competition – Results!

The winner of the GCHQ Puzzle Book competition was Angus Walker. Congratulations, Angus!

Many congratulations also to the runners up, who made it through to the tie-breaker round:

  • Jessie Wheat
  • Alfie Baines
  • Selim Barhli
  • George Attwood
  • Catherine Baines

Special mention should also go to Wim Hulpia for scoring very highly in the competition. Wim was one of the joint winners of the puzzle set by GCHQ at Christmas in 2015. Congratulations from the teams at GCHQ and at Penguin Random House.


Even though the competition has now closed you can still get yourself a copy of The GCHQ Puzzle Book and test your wits against the nation’s best codebreakers!




To have a go at the tie-breaker questions, download the puzzle below. The answers will be posted in seven days

Tie Breaker Puzzle


Competition Terms and Conditions:

  1. No purchase necessary to enter the promotion but the competition does require entrants to read “The GCHQ Puzzle Book” published by Promoter.
  2. This promotion is open to UK residents aged 13 years or over, with the exception of employees of the Promoter, their families, agents and anyone else connected with this promotion.
  3. Entries must be received by 11:59p.m on 28th February 2017.
  4. To enter you must complete the competition puzzle set out in “The GCHQ Puzzle Book” published by Promoter, the answer to which will reveal the website address for the competition website. You must then visit that competition website and follow the instructions there to reveal further competition puzzles and what to do next. The answer to the final puzzle must be submitted to the competition website by no later than the closing date.
  5. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for any entries that are incomplete, illegible, corrupted or fail to reach the Promoter by the relevant closing date for any reason. Proof of posting or sending is not proof of receipt. Entries via agents or third parties are invalid. Entries become the property of the Promoter and are not returned.
  6. No entrant may win more than one prize.
  7. All correctly completed entries will be forwarded to a judging panel made up of members of GCHQ. The winner will be the entry that, in the opinion of the judges, has answered the final puzzle in the most efficient way.
  8. If more than one person reaches the same most efficient final answer, a tie breaker will be sent to those people. If more than one person reaches the same most efficient answer to the tiebreaker then a further tiebreaker (or tiebreakers) will used to determine a single winner, again based on most efficient answers. The ultimate winner will provide the best answer or answers in the opinion of the judges.
  9. The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  10. The winner shall receive a specially commissioned prize.
  11. Promotional items are subject to availability. In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the Promoter reserves the right (a) to substitute alternative items of equivalent or greater value and (b) in exceptional circumstances to amend or foreclose the promotion without notice. No correspondence will be entered into.
  12. The prize is non-transferrable and no cash alternative will be offered.
  13. The successful entrant or entrants will be notified via email or post by 28th March 2017 and must claim their item within 14 days of the Promoter sending notification. If an entrant fails to claim their promotional item before this time expires, their entitlement to them will lapse and the Promoter reserves the right to offer the unclaimed item to a substitute entrant selected in accordance with these rules.
  14. To obtain details of the winner please email stating the name of the competition in the subject heading 4 weeks after the closing date.
  15. The Promoter will use any data submitted by entrants only for the purposes of running the promotion, unless otherwise stated in the entry details. By entering this promotion, all entrants consent to the use of their personal data by the Promoter for the purposes of the administration of this promotion and any other purposes to which the entrant has consented.
  16. The winner agrees to take part in reasonable post event publicity and to the use of their name and photograph in such publicity.
  17. By entering the promotion, each entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  18. The Promoter is Penguin Books Limited, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL.
  19. These terms and conditions are governed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales.