Are you clever enough to solve GCHQ puzzle book?

Intelligence agency releasing new collection of brain-teasers to mark intelligence agency’s centenary

GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Britain’s top codebreakers are offering puzzle lovers the chance to see if they have what it takes to be a spy, with a new collection of brain-teasers.

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) tweeted a series of colourful emojis on Thursday to tease the publication of the book, before comfirming the release today.

See more

Bosses at the surveillance agency hope that The GCHQ Puzzle Book 2, due out on 18 October, will prove as successful as their previous collection, published in 2016.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The original book of brainteasers “proved a surprise hit, selling more than 300,000 copies”, reports The Guardian, and has proved “as frustrating, divisive and annoying as it is deeply fulfilling”. The new collection will reportedly offer more puzzles of an “easy” level, after the first edition proved too difficult for some.

The upcoming release will mark the intelligence agency’s centenary year in 2019, BT News reports.

A spokesperson for Penguin Random House, which is publishing the collection, said: “[The book] adds some historical stories from the organisation’s archives which will give readers a snapshot into the challenges that have faced problem solvers at GCHQ for the past 100 years.”

As with the first edition, all proceeds will go to Heads Together, a charity that helps people who “feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health”.

A GCHQ spokesperson said: “We were delighted with the success of our first puzzle book, which raised over £330,000 for the Heads Together campaign, an important cause to change the conversation around mental health.”

GCHQ has offered amateur code-breakers a tantalising glimpse of the type of new brain-teasers they can expect. See if you can solve this sample question:

See more

Got it? The answer is porch. The clues refer to the adjectives used for various animals. Dog = canine = canal, cat = feline = fell, sheep = ovine = over there, so pig = porcine = porch. Phew!

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.