Spy harder: GCHQ sets fiendish quiz to mark the launch of Alan Turing £50 note… but experts say it could take you SEVEN HOURS to solve the riddle
- Britain’s spy centre GCHQ devised a quiz to celebrate the new Turing £50 note
- The note itself contains coded references to the mathematician and his life
- The quiz features 12 problem-solving puzzles leading to one ultimate answer
It is an enigma worthy of our greatest code breaker.
Britain’s spy centre has devised its ‘toughest ever’ quiz to celebrate Alan Turing becoming the new face of the £50 note by the Bank of England.
If that was not enough for keen cryptographers, the note itself also contains a number of coded references to the celebrated mathematician and his life.
The Turing Challenge has been compiled by intelligence staff at GCHQ based on the design of the new banknote and Turing’s work breaking the German navy’s Enigma codes in the Second World War.
On the note itself, eagle-eyed sleuths will also spot a line of ticker tape showing a binary code made up of ones and zeros
The quiz features 12 problem-solving puzzles leading to one ultimate answer. Some require general knowledge, while others need logic to solve.
But all are fiendishly difficult, with experts saying the challenge should take even the most experienced puzzlers seven hours.
And on the note itself, eagle-eyed sleuths will also spot a line of ticker tape showing a binary code made up of ones and zeros.
Once cracked and converted into decimal figures, the numbers will reveal a significant date in modern cyber espionage.
The puzzles in the quiz are all based on the new note, which features the technical drawings for the code-breaking machine, the British Bombe.
Another puzzle is inspired by the sunflowers that grew outside Hut 8 at Bletchley Park where Turing was based during the War.
The puzzles in the quiz are all based on the new note, which features the technical drawings for the code-breaking machine, the British Bombe
GCHQ’s chief puzzler, known only as ‘Colin’, said: ‘Alan Turing has inspired many to join GCHQ, eager to use their own problem-solving skills to help to keep the country safe.
‘So it seemed only fitting to gather a mix of minds from across our missions to devise a seriously tough puzzle.
‘It might even have left him scratching his head, although we very much doubt it!’
Turing joined the forerunner of GCHQ in 1938 and led the team in the famous Hut 8 at Bletchley Park, helping develop the machine which deciphered the Nazis’ codes and revealed the movements of U-boats.
Historians believe his work helped shorten the war by as much as two years, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.
Another puzzle is inspired by the sunflowers that grew outside Hut 8 at Bletchley Park where Turing was based during the War
After the war he went on to lay the groundwork for the modern computer.
But his achievements were overshadowed by his private life when he was prosecuted in 1952 over his homosexuality. Two years later he took his own life.
GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming said: ‘Alan Turing’s appearance on the £50 note is a landmark moment in our history.
‘Not only is it a celebration of his scientific genius which helped to shorten the war and influence the technology we still use today, it also confirms his status as one of the most iconic LGBT+ figures in the world.
‘Turing was embraced for his brilliance and persecuted for being gay. His legacy is a reminder of the value of embracing all aspects of diversity, but also the work we still need to do to become truly inclusive.’
Visit www.gchq.gov.uk/information/turing-challenge for the full puzzle
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