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GCHQ code breakers’ puzzle book to raise funds for mental health charity

GCHQ code breakers’ puzzle book to raise funds for mental health charity

The code breakers at GCHQ, the UK’s Signals Intelligence and Cyber Security agency, have published its first book of puzzles, which is being sold in aid of mental health charity campaign Heads Together.

The book, to be published on 20 October by Penguin, is giving the public the opportunity to test themselves against Britain’s leading code breakers. In their spare time, GCHQ staff have put together over 140 pages of codes, puzzles and mental challenges. They range from straightforward to very challenging. Puzzles include:

  • ciphers
  • substitution codes
  • tests of numeracy and literacy
  • image puzzles
  • music challenges.

Director’s Card puzzle

The idea for a puzzle book came following the success of last year’s cryptographic puzzle which featured in the Director’s Christmas Card. Around 600,000 people from around the world took up the ‘hardest puzzle in the world’.

All GCHQ’s proceeds from the book will be donated to Heads Together.  Led by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, the campaign aims to tackle stigma, raise awareness and provide vital help for people with mental health challenges.

HRH Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Cambridge, whose grandmother Valerie Glassborow was a codebreaker at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, has written the foreword to the book.

The Duchess wrote:

“William, Harry and I are very grateful that this book is supporting our Heads Together Campaign. I hope it will not only amuse and challenge readers, but help to promote an open discussion of mental health problems, which can affect anyone, regardless of age or background.”


GCHQ Puzzle Book - cover

Pit your wits

The GCHQ Puzzle Book will be on sale for £9.99 in paperback and £9.49 for Kindle.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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