Can you crack it? GCHQ releases Alan Turing mural with hidden cryptic codes - see how many you can solve

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Alan Turing - Joe Hill/GCHQ
Alan Turing - Joe Hill/GCHQ

GCHQ spies have been given the chance to break 15 Alan Turing-inspired codes hidden inside a new painting of him unveiled at Britain’s cyber headquarters.

But one of the codes had to be corrected at the last minute after an error in the painting was spotted by The Telegraph.

The giant LGBT+ inspired artwork of Turing in the middle of GCHQ’s Cheltenham home - affectionately known as the ‘Doughnut’ - celebrates his legacy as the father of modern computing.

Turing was a pioneer in artificial intelligence and instrumental in breaking the German Naval Enigma cipher at Bletchley Park, GCHQ’s wartime home during the Second World War.

GHCQ Alan Turing mural - Joe Hill/GCHQ
GHCQ Alan Turing mural - Joe Hill/GCHQ

Unveiled today, on what would have been his 109th birthday, the 10m x 10m artwork, created by specialist 3D artist Joe Hill, features the iconic image of Turing inside wheels from the British Bombe, the machine he designed to break Enigma-enciphered messages during the war.

The Bombe was the first special-purpose British cryptanalytic machine and made a major contribution to the exploitation of Enigma. Like the artwork, its ‘drum’ wheels were also colour coded.

The combination of the Bombe and perseverance of those working at Bletchley Park led to the breaking of Enigma.

15 cryptic codes hidden in artwork

The artwork has been designed in consultation with staff from GCHQ’s Pride network, and it features 15 hidden codes staff can attempt to decipher during lunch breaks from their online intelligence work.

The Telegraph has pointed out seven of the codes for readers to attempt. They use a number of cryptological tools including Morse and binary codes, anagrams, Base64 code and Braille.

Alan Turing - GCHQ
Alan Turing - GCHQ

There are a further eight cryptic clues contained within the mural which can also be attempted by professional and amateur sleuths alike.

The Telegraph detected that the solution to Cryptic Clue 7 - which uses an alphanumeric cypher - was an LGBT term with two of the letters switched. It has now been revised on the painting and forms a direct translation.

'Turing was a genius who helped shorten the war'

Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ, said: "Alan Turing was a genius who helped to shorten the war and influence the technology that still shapes our lives today. He was embraced for his brilliance but persecuted for being gay.

"Turing’s legacy reminds us every day that diversity is essential and inclusion is mission critical to our organisation. Turing was and remains a beacon of hope for all who dare to live and think differently."

In January 1952, Turing was prosecuted for indecency over his relationship with another man in Manchester.

Alan Turing - Joe Giddens/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Alan Turing - Joe Giddens/WPA Pool/Getty Images

During the trial, Hugh Alexander, the head of cryptanalysis at GCHQ, was given official approval to go and speak as a character witness on Turing’s behalf, saying in court that he was a national asset.

In March 1952, Turing pleaded guilty to the charges and was given a choice between imprisonment and probation; he chose probation which was conditional upon him undergoing hormonal treatment intended to reduce his libido.

On the June 8, 1954, Alan Turing took his own life.

Skylar, head of GCHQ’s Pride Network, said: "Though we should never forget the tragedy of his life being cut short, we should always endeavour to learn from his legacy and create a safer and better future for LGBT+ people."

"I am proud to see GCHQ recognising the importance Alan Turing has for LGBT+ people, owning its shared history with our community and doing so in such a public and bold way."

CRYPTIC CLUE 1

CRYPTIC CLUE 2

CRYPTIC CLUE 3

CRYPTIC CLUE 4

CRYPTIC CLUE 5

CRYPTIC CLUE 6

CRYPTIC CLUE 7

Can you spot the remaining eight cryptic codes?

Alan Turing - Alan Turing /GCHQ
Alan Turing - Alan Turing /GCHQ
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