GCHQ Christmas Challenge Harder Than Ever
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 22 December 2023

This year the GCHQ Christmas Challenge has been designed for schools and colleges. However, GCHQ is encouraging the wider public to take on the challenge, which it claims is the toughest yet, and both the Challenge and its solution is available.


GCHQ is the UK's national security agency, concerned with espionage and counter-espionage, cybersecurity, code breaking and encryption. Its Christmas Card is special in that it contains puzzles.

Introducing the 2023 Christmas Challenge, Director GCHQ Anne Keast-Butler, said: 

"Puzzles have been at the heart of GCHQ from the start. These skills represent our historic roots in cryptography and encryption and continue to be important to our modern-day mission to keep the country safe.

GCHQ’s history at Bletchley Park is represented in this year's Christmas card as a reminder of the role this historic place has played in our wartime efforts but also as home to this year’s AI Safety Summit.

Our puzzlers have created a Challenge which is designed for a mix of minds to solve. Whether you are an analyst, an engineer or a creative, there is a puzzle for everyone. This is one for classmates, family and friends to try to solve together."


As explained in this video by GCHQ Chief Puzzler, Colin, the Challenge consists of seven brain teasers, the answers to which are single words that can follow "Christmas". Once you have these words, use the design on the front of the card to place certain letters in the grid at the bottom of the card. This reveals the final answer and a special Christmas message.

Colin advises:

"Don't worry if you get stuck. After all the puzzles have been put together by some of our finest minds. Teamwork is key here bringing together a mix of minds will give you the best chance of completing the challenge."

In case you and your friends and family want to take on the challenge follow the links below to see the card - and give it a go before you look at the Solution.




More Information

The GCHQ Christmas Challenge 2023

2023 GCHQ Christmas Challenge (pdf)

Solution (pdf)

Related Articles

Christmas Challenge From GCHQ (2021)

Can You Solve GCHQ Xmas Puzzle?


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Last Updated ( Friday, 22 December 2023 )