RSS Christmas Quiz 2021: How many puzzles can you crack?

Released on Thursday 23 December 2021

For the last 28 years, the Royal Statistical Society has published a brain-melting Christmas Quiz to baffle and entertain puzzle fans over the festive break – and this year is no exception. You’ll need a combination of general knowledge, logic, lateral thinking, and searching skills to successfully crack this year’s set of eleven puzzles – but as always, no specialist mathematical knowledge is required.

This year’s edition, devised by RSS quizmaster Dr Tim Paulden, has a slightly briefer format than usual (owing to Tim becoming a father for the first time over the summer!) But don’t be fooled – this year’s collection has more than enough ‘toughies’ to challenge even experienced solvers, along with a sprinkling of slightly easier puzzles as an entry point for newcomers.

The 2021 Christmas Quiz will run through till Monday 31 January 2022 – giving you plenty of time to give the puzzles a whirl and send your entry in.

Entry is free and open to all, and if you manage to achieve a score of 50% or higher, you’ll win a donation to your favourite charity or good cause, and your name (or team name) will appear on our 2021 prize-winners’ page.

Five quick tips for budding solvers:

  • You can use any tools or resources you wish to help solve the puzzles, including search engines, computer programs, books, newspapers, and so on. To keep the quiz fun for everyone, solvers are kindly asked not to post any solutions online until after the quiz has concluded. Thank you!
  • Solutions should be briefly explained to receive full credit – the number of points available for each puzzle is indicated in brackets. You may find several of the puzzle titles to be helpful; for full credit, these titles should also be explained. And if you spot any other interesting connections between the puzzles, be sure to note them in your solutions.
  • Although there is no overarching 'meta-puzzle' to be solved this year, some of the puzzles may contain clues that might help you to crack the others.
  • Any corrections (or other quiz-related messages) between now and the closing date will be posted on this webpage, so please check back from time to time. If you encounter any technical problems, or spot an error, please get in touch via the email address below. (We won’t be able to provide any further hints – sorry!)
  • Finally, the puzzles are not ordered by difficulty. If you are relatively new to puzzle-solving, you may wish to start out by exploring Puzzles 1, 2, 5, and 6.

The top entry received will receive £150 in Wiley book vouchers, and second place will receive £50 in Wiley book vouchers. The next three entries (third place through to fifth place) will receive a puzzle book or board game.

This year, the quizmaster has once again pledged a donation of £500 to charity – half of this pot will be split between good causes nominated by the top five entries, while the other half will go to good causes nominated by entrants scoring 50% or more (excluding the top five).

How to enter
Entries are welcomed both from individuals and teams of up to five people, and the quiz is open to all – there is no requirement to be an RSS member.

Solutions should be sent by email (with 'RSS Christmas Quiz 2021' as the subject line) to, to arrive before 21:00 GMT on Monday 31 January 2022. Please don’t forget to mention your nominated charity or good cause at the top of your solutions.

The quizmaster’s decision is final, and in the event of a tie, the prize-winners will be selected at random from the highest-scoring entries.

Good luck!

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