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Submitting & Getting Feedback

The Countdown Above the text of a live challenge you will find a countdown to the final deadline for it. You can see the intermediate deadlines by clicking on the Deadline link at the top right, and read any hints or important information issued with the challenge by clicking on the Tips link.

If you are not logged in as the team captain you can’t submit the solution and you will not see the submit button. You will see a reminder of that in the submission box. Once the team have agreed on a solution make sure the Captain submits it for you. If they will not be available to do that ask them to delegate the captaincy to you so you can do it for the team. They can find out how to do that on the Team tab in their account page!

If you are the team captain you will see a box below that either contains a congratulations message if you have already submitted a correct solution to that part, or a blank box and submission button allowing you to submit if you have either not yet entered that round, or you have not yet completely solved the cipher.

After pressing the submit button you will see your submission below the challenge. If we have feedback switched on then you will see your score and if there are any mistakes then the first one will be highlighted. Here the second letter s in the word class has been missed so our marking system sees the h in hotel as an error. There is nothing wrong with the word hotel, but the missing letter s confused it. You can then resubmit, correcting that mistake and any others you find.

You MUST make sure you are entering the right decrypt in the box. Is it from the correct round (1-10) AND is it for the right part (A or B)?

If you are happy that it is then paste it in the box and press the Submit Answer button.

If you make a mistake you can submit again and that will never lower your mark, but please don’t overload the system or to try to brute force the answer by guessing loads of times!

Why can’t I see the answer box?

If your captain has already submitted a correct solution to a round you will not see a submit box. You can’t increase your mark any further and can’t submit again. Well done! Note that this applies separately to part A and to part B in each round. If you have submitted a correct solution to the current Challenge part A, but not yet to part B then the captain will still see the submit box and button on the part A page but not the part B page.

If the final deadline for that round has passed you cannot submit your solution, but you will be able to compare it to the official decrypt that will be published on the page.

What should I put (or not put) in the answer box?

You should ONLY enter a letter-for-letter decrypt of the message in this box.

You should NOT enter anything else into the submission box. We are NOT looking for a description of how you cracked the cipher, what sort of cipher it is, or any commentary on it.

It is a good idea to check that you have decrypted the ENTIRE challenge. Sometimes you need to scroll down to see the end.

Our solution checker will strip out any punctuation and spaces and will convert the result to uppercase. It has already done the same to our answer, and it will compare the two to see how similar they are. If they match then you have cracked the cipher and scored 100%.


Checking your score Once you have submitted a solution it will appear, together with your score under the Your Submissions tab on your account page. They will be listed with their score and a small downwards arrow next to each one.

If live feedback is switched on or you have passed a points deadline since submitting the solution then when you click on an arrow next to a submission it will include a copy of the submission with the first mistake highlighted as shown here. Read it carefully to see if it helps you to improve your answer. You can never get a worse mark for trying again!.

You can click on the up arrow to close the feedback.

And breathe …

Once you have completed a challenge you will get a congratulations message. If live feedback is turned on then you will see it on the Challenge page when you submit and it will appear immediately on the feedback in Your Submissions.

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