GCHQ sends out Christmas card featuring challenging festive brainteasers – can you solve the puzzles?

EVERYONE loves a brainteaser at Christmas – but can you outsmart GCHQ’s fiendish puzzles?

The brilliant minds at GCHQ have included seven puzzles for people to get their teeth into as part of their festive greetings card.


This year the STEM-focused quiz is aimed at children and teens aged between 11 and 18 but adults are also encouraged to take part and see if they are cleverer than their kids.

The agency, which works to the keep the country safe, is encouraging secondary schools and colleges up and down the country to today take part in the #GCHQChristmasChallenge.

The aim is to persuade more young people to take an interest in STEM subjects and consider future careers in the intelligence services.

GCHQ director Sir Jeremy Fleming, said: “From Enigma to artificial intelligence, GCHQ's history is full of talented people tackling the country’s most complex challenges. If we’re to help keep the country safe, problem-solving skills and teamwork are absolutely crucial.

“That’s why this year’s Christmas puzzles are aimed at young people.

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“I want to show young people that thinking differently is a gift. It is only with the right mix of minds that they can solve seemingly impossible problems, just like we do at GCHQ.”

This year the card sets a not-so-secret mission for young people through a set of puzzles which increase in difficulty.

Each is aimed at a particular age group and will need young people to think outside the box and work together to find the festive answer.

GCHQ is also encouraging the wider public to take on the challenge and pit their wits against school children to find out, once and for all, if they’re smarter than an 11-year-old. 

To support greater take up of STEM subjects, particularly among young girls, GCHQ has partnered with the organisation Stemettes on several activities over the last few years.

Supporting this year’s Christmas card challenge, CEO of Stemettes Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, said: “No matter your age, STEM skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving are important skills to have.

"In my work across the Stemettes with partners like GCHQ, we want all kinds of people to have the chance to explore these skills, and for those that enjoy this type of challenge to get an opportunity to further themselves in these areas.

“GCHQ’s Christmas Challenge is a fun festive way to do this, and I’d encourage schools and those who work with children to explore this type of activity as another way to engage the next generation in some light-hearted STEM fun.”


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