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Alumnus wins GCHQ Christmas puzzle

Over half a million tried but Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics graduate David McBryan is one of only three people who came close to solving the brain teaser.

GCHQ is a security and intelligence organisation tasked by Government to protect the UK from threats, including cyber attacks. In December Director Robert Hannigan issued a traditional Christmas card with a difference - it contained a grid-shading puzzle which, when solved, led to a series of increasingly complex challenges.

Players were invited to make a donation to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children if they enjoyed the puzzle.

Dave McBryan

Dave studied here between 1992-6 and has since gone on to make a living out of quizzes.

Speaking in 2011 as a finalist in BBC Competition, The Code, he said:

“I'm originally from Dublin but came to university in Edinburgh 19 years ago, and loved the city so much that I never left. Although my degree was in Maths and Artificial Intelligence, ever since graduation I've made a living as a writer and presenter of pub quizzes.”

He went on to win the Channel 4 TV game show Fifteen to One and now writes questions for the programme.

Useful links

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

GCHQ press release

Recent BBC coverage

Article in the Guardian

Article in the Telegraph

Article in the Herald

BBC blog The Code (2011)

Channel 4 TV show Fifteen to One