GCHQ Twitter football puzzle: How to know if you got the Euro 2016 brainteaser right

The agency referred to the game as ‘soccer-doku’ – and it really is just a slightly more complicated version of sudoku

Andrew Griffin
Monday 16 May 2016 16:07
The government has not commented on whether GCHQ is monitoring parliamentarians' communications
The government has not commented on whether GCHQ is monitoring parliamentarians' communications

GCHQ has used its brand new Twitter account to send out a dastardly puzzle.

Fresh from being mocked all over the site, the government’s spy agency sent out a special football-themed puzzle ahead of Euro 2016.

The game is something like a sudoku, requiring people to fill in a series of boxes by working out the relationships between each of the squares. But it is further complicated by being based around football games, and requiring people to do a bit more work.

GCHQ’s puzzle is below. Scroll down further to find out the answer and how to get to it.

Getting to the answer is a matter of thinking about the game like a slightly complicated sudoku, rather than anything to do with actual football. (Though it is probably helpful to remember that it is themed around football, since it can make it easier to conceptualise how the table would come together.)

The first thing to do is use the complete bits of information that you have. GCHQ has helpfully provided Wales’s goals against and goal difference, which means that you can work out that it must have scored eight in total.

Since you know that Wales scored 8 in total, and that 2 of those were against England while 1 was against Slovakia, you know that they must have scored 5 in their other game against Russia. The rest of it continues in that manner, like a Sudoku: work out what you do know and what gaps that leaves.

Some other useful information: the table is laid out in points order (which is to say that GCHQ thinks England and Wales are going to get out of the group stage).

The rest is up to you, though here’s The Independent’s solution if you’d rather not take the time working it out yourself.

It isn’t clear what GCHQ intends to do with the puzzles – since the solution will make its way across the internet quickly, it’s probably not for recruitment. Instead, it’s likely to be part of the GCHQ Twitter account’s mission to get it more involved in public life – the agency promised to send out more puzzles similar to its viral Christmas card, and the original tweet appeared to indicate that such questions might be coming each Monday.

The new puzzle follows the huge success of GCHQ's viral – and much harder – Christmas card.

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