I bet the third winner was Vladimir Putin, using his nefarious KGB skills. The entry wasn't announced because it's highly radioactive...
Anonymous because that's Vlad's next challenge.
GCHQ has posted the answers to its Xmas puzzle, a five-part crypto extravaganza that saw 600,000 people start but just three win – and even they didn't get it all right. The lucky winners, one from Scotland, one from Belgium and another unnamed, will be given a GCHQ paperweight (presumably with a bug implanted), a biography of …
Charmed as I am that GCHQ have nothing else to do with their time. Shouldn't they actually, let's say, do what they are being paid to do?
Really, does nobody have anything better to do with their time than this (and I say this even as a regular poster to this site!).
This sort of thing could be a very useful way of training the mind and thought patterns. Often thinking about something else let's you gain inspiration about the problem you are actually needing to solve.
Besides, they have already said that the puzzles were designed in people's spare time.
Subject H is in the bath singing to the bugged rubber duck:
"Rubber Duckie, joy of joys,
When I squeeze you, you make noise!
Rubber Duckie, you're my very best friend, it's true!"
Meaning unknown - leak suspected. Recommend replacement of subject with in situ clone due to possible infiltration of red cypher. Replacement programme currently scheduled to begin early 1993. Continue monitoring until then. Mission abort phrase confirmed as Rainbow Connection
But didn't visit this one.
I've no interest in helping GCHQ's transparent attempts to rebrand itself as 'Jolly Old Uncle M', wearing his novelty Christmas Jersey and playing riddles in with the children, in front of a roaring log fire.
[Ironically, I just noticed, on proof-reading this, that my Android swipe keyboard had misinterpreted "roaring log fire" as "rotating log fire" —which sounds like just the kind of thing, behind which Jolly Old Uncle M would hide his mass communications monitoring equipment]
I found it interesting that they made it progressively harder to cheat on the puzzles, they could have made it impossible to cheat from the start, but chose not to (brute forcing #2 was made possible when they could have just hashed the answer like they did in #3.. for instance. I took this as a sign that cheating was allowed and did so to get to level 4... then I gave up, because I couldn't work out how to cheat and I hate number sequence puzzles.
"It didn't help that the final part was deliberately kept "open-ended by ensuring that a definitive complete solution could not be readily identified" – or in other words, utterly confusing on purpose."
Not really. The words making up the final part have no connection, to ensure each puzzle was solved on its own.
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