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We often get lovely emails from competitors telling us how much they have enjoyed the competition, but not many of them come with full colour images showing us what the team are up to. You will be able to imagine our delight at receiving the message and photos below. Thanks to the team for sending them, if anyone else would like to share their passion for codebreaking, do get in touch. PS< we love the team name!


A year ago, I wasn’t a fan of codebreaking; I wasn’t even good at it, and yet, I ended up spending my 2021 Christmas and New Year deciphering Mission 10A from the 20th National Cipher Challenge. Registering in late December and not having much experience, this was the only mission I could attempt, and I wasn’t going to let it go. 

But why did I do it? Why would I spend my holiday staring at 2500+ characters of incomprehensible and non-sensical English alphabets? And the answer…

There’s certainly an enriching aspect about participating in the Cipher Challenge. For me, it was the phenomenal feeling of finding a crib after spending hours on end computing large numbers to calculate a key length; it was that sensation of satisfaction and achievement after seeing the cipher text on my screen transform into readable plaintext. I started Mission 10A in my bedroom in India, continued to work through it on my return flight to England, and almost a day before the challenge deadline, managed to decipher it! I had come incredibly close to giving up, but through resilience and persistence, managed to crack it eventually! It will remain one of the most cherished moments of my life. 

I’m very grateful to those in the Forums who provided hints and clues (and Harry of course!); to my teacher’s friend who suggested I register for this challenge, and I’m looking forward to this year’s missions by working alongside my team!”


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