Can you crack a code? If so, you could join GCHQ.”

A model of the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham

A model of the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve come a long way since Bletchley Park and cryptography has advanced with the increasing power of computer technology.  This challenge is apparently based on pre-1970 technology and coding techniques so you may stand a chance!  My own code at the end is somewhat easier!

A Spook’s Lament

Need the work?
Then crack the code.
Take a look
and get the job,
become a spook,
a cryptographic cipher clerk
living in secret in the dark.

AWVLI, it doesn’t hit you in the eye.
QIQVT, think of a letter, then add three.
QOSQO, no obvious path down which to go.
ELGCV, a hell of a cipher, not plain to see.
IIQWD, the code is still a mystery.
LCUQE, no clear pattern, that’s irking me.
EOEEN, I scrap my notes and start again.
WWOAO, wait a minute, whoa, whoa, whoa.
LTDNU, reminds me of something I once knew.
OTGAW, it’s gone, I’m pissed, I’m through.
TSMDO, pack my bags, it’s time to go.

But I’ll leave the spooks of GCHQ
a special code for them to do:
FCKTHS, really not too hard to guess.
STFFYRCD, deciphered it’s the chop for me.
PYRRFC, for lack of polite diplomacy.
NDGTHLL, and insolence as well.


11th September 2013 – headline from the Independent

Notes:  Can you crack a code? If so, you could join GCHQ.”  Executives at GCHQ, the Government’s secretive national listening post in Cheltenham, recently endured the indignity of being dragged before Parliament to explain why they were requesting information from the US National Security Agency’s Prism snooping programme.  Now they are attempting to generate more positive headlines – and possibly their own secrets – by setting an online challenge to find the next generation of codebreakers.  The “Can You Find It” competition, launched on Wednesday, features a string of 143 characters broken into 28 sets of five and one final set of three. Once cracked, the code provides a trail of clues that will lead participants on a “cyber treasure-hunt” to the final answer – and a possible job at the facility in Cheltenham.


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