The Alan Turing Cryptography Competition

2024 edition. From the people behind the MathsBombe Competition.
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Chapter 2

Ellie's phone made a loud barking sound. She put down her book and picked up the phone. "Mike," she muttered under her breath. "That's the last time I let you adjust my phone settings." Then she took a look at the screen:

 The image has 10 rows.  Each row comprises a sequence of emojis and punctuation characters.  First row: a kissing face with closed eyes, a space, a smiling face with heart eyes, a face with spiral eyes, a woozy face, a face with monocle, a face with rolling eyes, a nerd face, a space, a kissing face with closed eyes, a money mouth face, a space, a face screaming in fear, a face with spiral eyes, a loudly crying face, a space, a smiling face with a halo, a grinning face, a woozy face   Second row: a grinning face, a woozy face, a disguised face, a smiling face with heart eyes, aface with rolling eyes, a nerd face, a space, a partying face, an expressionless face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a disguised face, a space, a pleading face, a loudly crying face, a face with rolling eyes, a disguised face, a partying face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a face with spiral eyes, a woozy face, a question mark, a partying face, an expressionless face, a face with rolling eyes, a space, a ROFL face, a grinning face, a disguised face, a face with rolling eyes, a space, a face with spiral eyes, a money mouth face   Third row: a grinning face, a space, a nerd face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a zipper mouth face, an expressionless face, a partying face, a space, a grinning face, a woozy face, a zipper mouth face, a face with a head bandage, a face with rolling eyes, a face with monocle, a space, a partying face, a nerd face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a grinning face, a woozy face, a zipper mouth face, a face with a head bandage, a face with rolling eyes   Fourth row: a kissing face with closed eyes, a disguised face, a space, a partying face, a smiling face with heart eyes, a face with rolling eyes, a face with a head bandage, a weary face, a face with rolling eyes, a space, a loudly crying face, a woozy face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a partying face, a disguised face, a space, a face with a head bandage, a face with spiral eyes, a woozy face, a zipper mouth face, a comma  Fifth row: a partying face, an expressionless face, a face with rolling eyes, a space, an  expressionless face, a face with rolling eyes, a kissing face with closed eyes, a zipper mouth face, an expressionless face, a partying face, a space, a face with spiral eyes, a money mouth face, a space, a partying face, an expressionless face, a face with rolling eyes,   Sixth row: a partying face, a nerd face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a grinning face, a woozy face, a zipper mouth face, a face with a head bandage, a face with rolling eyes, a space, a kissing face with closed eyes, a disguised face, a space, a woozy face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a woozy face, a face with rolling eyes, a space, a loudly crying face, a woozy face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a partying face, a disguised face,   Seventh row: an expressionless face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a zipper mouth face, an expressionless face, a full stop, a loudly crying face, a disguised face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a woozy face, a zipper mouth face, a space, a partying face, an expressionless face, a face with rolling eyes, a space, a face wearing a cowboy hat, a face screaming in fear,  a partying face, an expressionless face, a grinning face, a zipper mouth face, a face withspiral eyes, a nerd face, a grinning face, a disguised face,   Eighth row: a partying face, an expressionless face, a face with rolling eyes, a face with spiral eyes, a nerd face, a face with rolling eyes, a face vomiting, a comma, a space, a smiling face with heart eyes, an expressionless face, a grinning face, a partying face, a space, a kissing face with closed eyes, a disguised face, a space, a partying face, an expressionless face, a face with rolling eyes,   Ninth row: a face with a head bandage, a face with rolling eyes, a woozy face, a zipper mouth face, a partying face, an expressionless face, a space, a face with spiral eyes, a money mouth face, a space, a partying face, an expressionless face, a face with rolling eyes, a space, an expressionless face, a face screaming in fear, a face wearing a cowboy hat, a face with spiral eyes, a partying face, a face with rolling eyes, a woozy face, a loudly crying face, a disguised face, a face with rolling eyes,   Tenth row: a face with spiral eyes, a money mouth face, a space, a partying face, an expressionless face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a disguised face, a space, a partying face, a nerd face, a kissing face with closed eyes, a grinning face, a woozy face, a zipper mouth face, a face with a head bandage, a face with rolling eyes, a question mark

The image above contains a hidden question. Please enter the answer to the question below.

To deter guessing without thinking, we ask that you also solve the following simple arithmetic problem before checking your answer:

If x = 9, y = 4 and z = 4, what is x × y - z?  

This problem was first solved on Mon 22nd January at 4:11:55pm
Alan Turing Cryptography Competition 2024 is organised by the The Department of Mathematics at The University of Manchester.
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