GCHQ Christmas Puzzle Solutions Part 2 Meta Puzzle

GCHQ Christmas Puzzle Solutions Part 2 Meta Puzzle

Part 1 led us to need an 8 character answer from the meta puzzle: a collection of 8 picture clues form a puzzle hunt and they should all give a short phrase or word. Putting them together will form some meta answer which we require for the main competition.

Here are the answers so far:

Puzzle Length Answer
1. Six Non Bonds (6,6) Casino Royale
2. Warmup (4) Heat
3. Fish (4) Tank
4. I Spy (8) ?
5. Word Hunting (8) Hrunting
6. Countdown (4,7,2) ?
7. On The Level (8) Flatland
Alphabetimal (9) Dragonfly
Meta (8) Octagram

Progress so far:

Each of these describes a bond film with one letter changed. Putting them in the order from 0 to 5 stars we have:

Tomor(r)ow Never Dies -> Tom or (C)ow Never Dies

Mo(o)nraker -> Mo(a)n Raker

For (Y)our Eyes Only -> For (S)our Eyes Only

Skyf(a)ll -> Sky F(i)ll

License to Kil(l) -> License to Kil(n)

Live and L(e)t Die -> Live and L(o)t Die

Taking all the letters these changed into gives CASINO and all the letters they changed from gives ROYALE.

These are all classic puzzles and they aren't too difficult to have a go at yourself. Each gives the picture of a letter. Reading left to right then top to bottom we get HEAT.

The first one which we solved. Each is a cartoon of a type of fish:

Cat (t) Lemon (o) Rainbow (a) Sword (d) Toad
Saw (s) Zebra (a) Pineapple (n)Beard (d) sAnd
Flat (l) Medusa (u) Bone (n) Angel (g) luNg
Fire (r) Dog (o) Clown (c) Monk (k) rocK

Naming each type of fish and then taking the letter which corresponds to its number of bubbles gives a different type of fish. The diagonal of these spells out TANK as in a Fish Tank.

This is in braille, however some of the characters don't translate properly. Those that do seem to be a word search of surnames of famous spies.

b s m a l h s i l g n e l
o b o u r n e p h o ? t d
n o u s a r c h e r l r a
d ? ? ? f ? ? c ? ? ? e r
d b y s p n i k a y r u k
p o w e r s i w c ? ? a i
s m i l e y i w ? p ? b s

Bond, English, Bourne, Archer, Powers, Smiley, Bauer, Kuryakin, Dark found so far. ?s are untranslatable. Possibly a combination of backwards and upside down? Maybe they give the keyword?

The grid contains all of the digits 0-9 and also the letters a-f. However each other letter of the alphabet appears once and only once on the grid apart from Q. This really was a print it out and draw on it sort of puzzle. Going down the list we can come up with an example of each thing, for example A Deity is Goddess. The word Goddess can be found on the grid written as g0dde5, but it is missing one of the S's. Taking the letter which is missing from each word we get the phrase "Sword given to Beowulf". I haven't found all of the individual words yet, but I have enough of the letters to be able to guess that phrase. There were two eight letter swords given to Beowulf, Naegling and HRUNTING, but only the latter works with the title of the puzzle.

Three, Two, One in different languages with extra letters in between. Needs someone to sit down with Google Translate. Ok, some progress made including one of my students pointing out Tri Du Unu as Esperanto, but no solution found yet. 

A nested maze where every time you go into the middle you level up and come in off the edge again collecting letters as you go. If you go off the edge you level down and come back in the middle. The object is to not only get to the finish but to do so still at level 0.

The path I've found is Start-> W (level 1) -> H (level 2) -> S (1) -> G (0) -> E (-1) -> K (0) -> J (1) -> V (0).

This is the required length, but WHSGEKJV isn't a word. Doing a Caesar Shift doesn't work and neither does a Caesar Shift with the letters which are up or down some levels adjusted appropriately. Needs something clever to complete it.

Update! I was trying to pick either the first letter or the second on each of the nodes, but if you just pick the one going the opposite direction to you every time then from start to finish this spells TURNBYPI. Previously this puzzle had whole swathes of unused connections, but if we put each level inside the one before it but upside down (turning Pi radians) then we'll probably get something interesting.

OK that kind of worked. Using the arrows going the opposite way and having each circuit board nested in a rotated way gives FLAND. Either this should be interpreted as F Land, as in Flatland, or possibly I should have done some extra loop to get all the letters legitimately. Either way this answer fits the theme of the puzzle, so it is probably correct.

The x and the z were the way in for this puzzle. The names of animals (or anagrams thereof) can be found on each line. Each of the letters in the hexagons are used only once. The lines travelling from bottom left to the top right give fox, frog, zebra, newt and yak. The other diagonal give cat, goat, camel, lion and cow. Finally the vertical lines give pig, deer, lemur, hare and dog. If you pick the letter on each tile where that letter was part of that animal you get fyalngdro. This anagramises to DRAGONFLY.

Those decimals are common fractions where the denominators of each correspond with the lengths of the 8 answers n order. Starting with the top we can write them as 8/12, 3/4, 2/4, 3/8, 8/8, 7/13, 4/8 and 2/9.

Answering the eight meta questions gives:

  1. 1 and either 4 or 6
  2. 7 and either 4 or 6
  3. 2 and 7
  4. 2 and 5
  5. 5 and 8
  6. 3 and 8
  7. 3 and either 4 or 6
  8. 1 and 6

These all form pairs and so we can join up these points with lines. The thick lines are ones we had worked out, while the dotted lines seemed sensible guesses which fit the possible conditions: 

We seem to have an eight pointed star. Starting at the top (since it was a different colour) and take each of answers in the order that the start dictates then we get 1, 4, 7, 2, 5, 8, 3 and 6. Taking the first letters didn't do anything, but we haven't used the numerators yet. Taking the letter of each answer which corresponds to each numerator gives O?TAGRA?. This looks like it is OCTAGRAM which also fits with the shape of the puzzle. Very meta.


GCHQ Christmas Puzzle Solutions Part 3 Website

GCHQ Christmas Puzzle Solutions Part 3 Website

GCHQ Christmas Puzzle Solutions Part 1

GCHQ Christmas Puzzle Solutions Part 1