The final piece of the puzzle was posted at 5am my time while I was happily sleeping. I awoke to a long string of messages from my fellow collaborators who’d already sent their email in. Frantic to make up the lost hours, I gathered my bits of paper with answers scribbled in multicoloured pens. I retrieved a couple from the children’s drawing pile, I could still make out the vital bits underneath the drawing of a butterfly.
I contemplated having coffee first but then argued with myself that I’d wasted enough time already. This was my first big mistake! Perhaps if I’d been less bleary eyed I’d have noticed the advances of my littlest for morning cuddles. Of course cuddles will always take priority, even over the US Navy but it did result in a random email being accidentally sent by a wriggly rascal.
I resent the email and sat back for the agonising wait for America to wake up and go to work. It was a few hours before I realised it was Sunday and I’d have another day to wait. When my email finally came, it was a ‘close, please try again‘ response. Undeterred, I tweaked my answer slightly and resent it. I then second guessed the first tweaking, retweaked and resent (a couple of times). Thank goodness the US Navy are patient and have a sense of humour!
- Never attempt to email before you’ve had second coffee.
- Never email with a wriggly child within cuddling distance.
- Don’t attempt to proof read an important email while getting three children to bed.
Eventually I got the congratulations email I was hoping for. Wuhoo!
So we saved the world again! We foiled the dastardly plans of the APRG baddies by cracking their secret codes and communications. We took lateral thinking to a whole new level and stretched our multitasking skills to their limit. We forged alliances, collaborated and made friends. All in all it was a fun challenge and I’m pleased I was able to take part in it again.
I would like to thank the talented team at Lowe Campbell Ewald who devised the project and the clever team at Puzzabilty who are responsible for creating the amazing puzzles; they make a great partnership.
While we had great fun it’s important to remember that this is a recruitment exercise for the US Navy. The scenario and the puzzles were designed to attract the right kind of minds, tenacious creative thinkers, into a career as a navy cryptologist. Last year’s Project Architeuthis was incredibly successful in its recruitment aims. I hope this year’s challenge does as well. If I was a little younger this is definitely a career I would consider.
But back to the challenge… just when we thought it was finished, each of the winners received an email:
Thanks to your high intelligence, brilliant skills and valiant efforts, the Abyssal Plains Research Group has been taken down. All their bases belong to us now. And, Master Chief Clark has been extracted safely from their tropical island base. You have performed an invaluable service for America’s Navy. However, stay tuned. One of the APRG leaders escaped. Capturing him is our new top priority.
It’s not over yet…