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Can you solve GCHQ’s latest challenging puzzle?

People have been asked to solve the secret message in a campaign to attract more recruits  (PA)
People have been asked to solve the secret message in a campaign to attract more recruits (PA)

GCHQ has released a challenging puzzle to tempt new recruits. The British intelligence, security and cyber agency created the brain teaser to celebrate its arrival on the networking platform LinkedIn.

The agency, which has its roots in cryptography and encryption, said it had joined LinkedIn to enhance recruitment as it seeks to tackle the threats facing the UK, both real-world and online.

The code is hidden within a colourful city landscape featuring different components such as buildings, cars, animals and people carrying out various tasks.

Hidden within the puzzle are 13 clues of letters which can then be brought together to spell out a message.

The intelligence agency’s puzzle to honour its launch on LinkedIn. Can you solve it? (GCHQ)
The intelligence agency’s puzzle to honour its launch on LinkedIn. Can you solve it? (GCHQ)

Director of GCHQ Anne Keast-Butler, said: “The world is getting more complex and we’re only ever going to stay ahead of those threats by bringing together the right mix of minds that lets us tackle the challenges ahead.

“For us, that means bringing in people with different backgrounds, different experience, different insights, different knowledge, and creating a team where all of us can play our part. For us, it’s clear that diversity is mission critical.

“So we’re on a journey to make sure that we reach out and connect to people who’ve never thought of working with us. And today we’re launching on LinkedIn as a way of starting to showcase a little bit more of the work that we do and some of the amazing people who work at GCHQ.”

Manchester-based artist Justin Eagleton co-created the puzzle alongside GCHQ to celebrate its presence in the city, alongside the hub in the capital and HQ in Cheltenham.

The brain teaser honours the agency’s code-breaking heritage and roots in cryptography and encryption, said the agency.

The recruiters are looking for a wealth of talent from intelligence analysts and data scientists to business support and engineers, they added. It follows the agency’s “toughest ever” Christmas 2023 quiz.

GCHQ has since released the solution to the puzzle which perplexed LinkedIn users.

Helen Turner, a production manager, commented on LinedIn: “I went down a completely different path to most of the comments so am clearly wrong, but have had fun doing it! I took the sound of the letter from the end of the words.”

Kerry Thomas posted: “Some how I got ‘Public Service’ great fun though.” Nicholas Clarke said: “I think nearly everyone on here has failed! How can GCHQ entrust you with the secrets of the nation if you spout out everything you know at the first opportunity?”

Can you solve the puzzle?