The Game is On

Just when we thought that we were in a puzzle drought until next Spring, the BBC alerted us on Thursday to this little treat from the Director of GCHQ. “Game on,” we thought. Alas, we could not get the GCHQ server to play with us. That was OK, we have until 31st January to solve it. We set all thought of puzzling aside until Mr L finishes work for the holidays on Wednesday.

Puzzle from GCHQ
Puzzle from GCHQ – click through to the site for help in completing the grid.

Yesterday a friend sent us the URL to the puzzle. I told him that we already knew of it. He asked what we thought of Part 2 and I had to explain that we had not looked at Part 1 yet…

Well, of course that was it. We found that the page now loaded for us and we printed the puzzle off and took it to bed (at a ridiculously early hour – my, how my knitting suffers for it!).

Part 1 is a purely mechanical exercise but took a while with pencil and paper to complete. It did eventually yield the information required to access Part 2. Part 2 is a succession of multiple choice questions, clicking any of the available answers moves you on to the next question – with no feedback given. Only if each answer has been supplied correctly do you arrive at Part 3. We did so successfully in quite a short time.

Part 3 was a little more taxing. We had answers for all four questions but were unhappy with one of them, although we were confident in the method. Sure enough, when we submitted the form “One or more of your answers is incorrect” – well at least we thought we knew which one. We looked at it again and found a different solution and were through to Part 4 by around 11:30 pm.

Part 4 is a little numerical and I don’t do sums at the best of times, let alone around midnight – so at 12:30, we packed it away. This did not stop our brains from working on the problem however and sleep was troubled. Mr L did though awake with a certainty of how to work the third of the three questions in this section. Two more to go.

We now suspect that there will be a Part 5, with two questions and a final part with a single question but that for now remains but a working hypothesis.

As I said, there is no hurry (other than to beat our friend to the answer, there’s nothing like a little friendly rivalry to goad us on) and we also have the former Logica armchair treasure hunt beginning next Friday.

Today is a simply beautiful one so all thoughts of puzzles must be put aside and we must make the most of the weather. Nell will be taken for a romp later. Unfortunately the tides are working against us, with High Tide at 11:12 am. Couldn’t be worse, really.

And now I must hang some washing out. Make hay and all that.

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