Martin Postranecky | 30 Jan 00:02 2016

Fwd: GCHQ Christmas Puzzle solution : How to solve the brainteaser

Friday 11 Dec 2015

GCHQ Christmas Puzzle solution : How to solve the brainteaser
  - and the four further parts of the puzzle it unlocks

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS. A puzzle sent out by the director of GCHQ
with his official Christmas card has got quizzers hooked. If you're
struggling, let us help
- GCHQ puzzle
   The GCHQ Christmas puzzle has become an obsession for some

By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter

For some quiz lovers, the GCHQ Christmas puzzle is the best present they
could have had. For others, it has taken them to a new level of frustration.

Released on Wednesday by the intelligence agency's director Robert
Hannigan, the brain-teaser is the first of five stages, each of which
must be solved in order to unlock the next. Ominously, each level is
harder than the one before.

Part 1

The first puzzle, included in Mr Hannigan's official Christmas cards,
consists of a grid of 25 x 25 squares, each of which must be either
black or white.

A series of numbers beside each row and column indicate how many black
(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 29 Jan 22:49 2016

OBITUARY : Sir Brian Tovey GCHQ

28 January 2016

OBITUARY : Sir Brian Tovey

Tovey became an adviser to Plessey

Controversial director of GCHQ who predicted the Soviet invasion of 
Czechoslovakia in 1968

Brian Tovey retired early from the directorship of the Government 
Communications Headquarters when the arrangement governing the exchange 
of intelligence between the United States and Britain was under threat 
because of the conviction of the Soviet “mole” Geoffrey Prime.

At the same time, the morale of GCHQ staff was soured by rumours that 
they might be subjected to polygraph ( lie detector ) checks and denied 
trades union membership after the security breach.

Tovey “fell on his sword” after spending the whole of his professional 
life with the espionage agency.....

(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 10 Jan 03:18 2016

How the Nazis were fooled by a cracking read

Saturday January 09 2016

How the Nazis were fooled by a cracking read

Magnus Linklater

Magnus Linklater finds that a popular novel written by his father was
used by spies to hide a top secret code

In 1943, a secret code was developed at Bletchley Park — the centre of
Britain’s wartime decoding operation — to allow messages to be exchanged 
with the country’s agents abroad.

To ensure that it was unbreakable, the spymasters picked a popular novel 
of the day to conceal the code, on the ground that no one seen carrying 
the book would be regarded as suspicious.

The novel they chose to monitor operations in Spain and North Africa —
as the latest issue of the Bletchley Park Magazine reveals — was written 
by my father.

"Poet’s Pub", by Eric Linklater, had first been published in 1929....

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Martin Postranecky | 4 Jan 02:22 2016

OBITUARY : Lieutenant Commander David Balme

Sunday 03 Jan 2016

OBITUARY : Lieutenant Commander David Balme

Leader of the boarding party which recovered an Enigma machine from a 
German U-boat in 1941

Lieutenant Commander David Balme, who has died aged 95, led a boarding 
party which captured the secrets of Enigma from a German U-boat during 
the Battle of Convoy OB138 in May 1941, a turning point in the Battle of 
the Atlantic.

At midday on May 9 1941 Commander Joe Baker-Cresswell, captain of the 
destroyer Bulldog, was about to order the ships of the 3rd Escort Group 
to leave west-bound trans-Atlantic Convoy OB318 in order to refuel at 
Iceland, when two merchant ships were torpedoed in quick succession. The 
torpedoes were fired from U-110, commanded by the U-boat ace 
Fritz-Julius Lemp, who failed to notice the proximity of the corvette 
Aubretia. Before his second salvo of torpedoes struck, Aubretia’s 
Lieutenant Commander Vivian Smith commenced a counter-attack with depth 
charges which blew U-110 to the surface.

The destroyer Broadway attempted to ram the surfaced U-boat and all 
three British ships opened fire with their guns. There was panic in 
U-110 and the crew abandoned ship: 15 men were killed or drowned 
including Lemp, and 32 survivors were picked up and hurried below deck 
in Aubretia. The action was over in minutes, and when Baker-Cresswell 
stopped Bulldog alongside the U-boat he found it wallowing stern-down in 
the Atlantic rollers.
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Martin Postranecky | 29 Nov 00:50 2015

OBITUARY : Professor S Barry Cooper

Tuesday November 24 2015

OBITUARY : Professor S Barry Cooper

Mathematician who championed the cause of Alan Turing, the disgraced 
wartime codebreaker who has since been acclaimed as a hero

Without the tireless efforts of the mathematician S Barry Cooper, the 
story of Alan Turing, the brilliant but ill-starred computer pioneer and 
wartime codebreaker, might never have re-emerged, enabling him to be 
recognised globally as a British hero.....

(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 19 Nov 23:38 2015

OBITUARY : Douglas Nicoll - Wartime codebreaker who took Britain’s spymasters

The Times 
Thursday 19 November 2015

OBITUARY : Douglas Nicoll

- British soldiers lying prostrate after surrendering to Argentine forces
  in the Falklands in 1982. Nicholl later pinpointed the reasons why the
  invasion took the intelligence services by surprise

Wartime codebreaker who took Britain’s spymasters to task in the weeks 
before the Falklands conflict.

Douglas Nicoll was an intelligence officer who highlighted the 
shortcomings of Britain’s spymasters in the 1980s, particularly in the 
months before the Falklands conflict. Some of his work is still 

He was the author of a secret report in 1982 that demonstrated how 
aggression by foreign powers often took the intelligence services by 
surprise; the report was presented — but not acted upon — 29 days before 
Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and deepened the government’s sense 
of embarrassment as the British task force set out for the South Atlantic. 
Nicoll, who was a codebreaker at Bletchley Park during the Second World 

Nicoll, who was a codebreaker at Bletchley Park during the Second World 

(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 28 Oct 10:11 2015

For your eyes only : The Times goes inside GCHQ


The Times 
Wednesday October 28 2015

For your eyes only : The Times goes inside GCHQ

Ben Macintyre

Britain’s most secretive organisation, the eavesdropping headquarters of 
GCHQ, has given unprecedented access to The Times as parliament prepares 
to debate groundbreaking legislation to set out the future of spying in 
the digital age.

The newspaper was allowed inside the agency’s HQ in Cheltenham and its 
top-secret London offices to see the scale of the intelligence-gathering 
operation. I was furthermore shown “the Cage”, which houses the machine 
that generates government encryption codes and is the most secret part of 
the country’s £2 billion espionage machinery...../snip/

- Going into The Cage

- Post-Snowden rebuilding

- From Bletchley to today
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Michael Bilow | 5 Oct 01:57 2015

Mechanical Bombe simulator and Enigma wrist watch

Simon Jensen (asciimation) in New Zealand shows off his completed
mechanical Bombe simulator made with a Raspberry Pi and stepper motors,
including a 20-minute video:

(Direct link to video: )

He previously built a three-rotor Enigma machine wrist watch with an
Arduino, and a 12-minute video:

(Direct link to video: )

-- Mike

Martin Postranecky | 8 Aug 00:29 2015

Son makes war-hero dad a wheelchair built like a tank (fwd)

05 Aug 2015

Son makes war-hero dad a wheelchair built like a tank

A devoted son has built his 96-year-old war-veteran father a unique 
all-terrain motorised wheelchair which resembles an armoured tank

By Telegraph Men, video source SWNS

A frequent complaint of wheelchair users is the difficulty in tackling 
uneven or unstable terrain, which means a trip to the beach is often out 
of the question.

But not for widower Edde Shaw, a 96-year-old veteran of the Second World 
War and Korean War, whose son Peter, a semi-retired plumber from 
Ellesmere, Shropshire, has built him a specially adapted all-terrain 
wheelchair which resembles an armoured tank, complete with caterpillar 

....As a fluent German speaker, he was recruited by British intelligence 
service in 1943 to work on decoding secret Nazi communications.

While working in Algeria, he helped decrypt an intercepted message which 
led to the discovery of a U-Boat containing a crucial piece of Enigma 
machinery - used to send highly classified orders from the German high 

Between 1950 and 1953 Korean-speaking Eddie was hired by British 
intelligence again to interrogate prisoners of war.....
(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 7 Aug 20:20 2015

Can you solve the code in the sword ? British Library appeals for help

07 August 2015

Can you solve the code in the sword ? British Library appeals for help in 
cracking enigmatic 'NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI' inscription on mysterious medieval 

- A 13th century sword, found in 1825, has a cryptic 18-letter message 
  on it
- NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI is engraved down the weapon's central groove
- It is on display at the British Library as part of the Magna Carta 

By Sarah Griffiths and Sam Tonkin For Mailonline

A medieval sword that carries a mysterious inscription has baffled 
historians for centuries.

Little is known about double-edged weapon, least of all the meaning behind 
a cryptic 18-letter message running down the central groove which reads: 

Now The British Library have appealed for the public’s help in cracking 
the conundrum..../snip/

Read more :

(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 3 Aug 15:16 2015

'Decoding the war' : Letters to The Telegraph, 'Y' service

Letters to The Telegraph
16 Nov 2014

Decoding the war

SIR – The story of Alan Turing and his team at Bletchley Park is very 
interesting, but it is only part of the story.

The origins of decoding can be found in the First World War, when wireless 
was in its infancy. Mata Hari, the Belgian courtesan and dancer, was 
caught by a wireless operator passing vital information to the Germans. 
She was tried and shot. Winston Churchill heard about the incident and 
encouraged the Armed Forces to set up wireless intercepting units.

My father was a railway telegraphist and a 1914 volunteer to the Army. The 
First World War ended and he came home safely. In 1938 he responded to the 
government’s appeal for civilian wireless enthusiasts. He was interviewed, 
signed the Official Secrets Act, and was accepted, becoming one of 1,600 
top-secret civilian “Y” outworkers around the British Isles. Bletchley 
Park became top secret station “X”.

As a family we knew nothing of this. I remember hearing the Morse code 
sounds, wireless whistles and shushings coming from under the stairs and 
thinking it was Dad’s hobby.

M I Osbourne
Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire
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