RSS Christmas Quiz 2023: 30th anniversary edition – How many puzzles can you crack?

Released on Friday 22 December 2023

RSS Quizmaster, Dr Tim Paulden, writes…

For the last 30 years, the Royal Statistical Society has published a fiendish Christmas Quiz to baffle and entertain puzzle fans over the festive break – and this year’s special 30th anniversary edition is sure to get the cogs spinning after a glass or three of mulled wine.

Cracking the puzzles below will require a potent mix of general knowledge, logic, lateral thinking and searching skills – but, as usual, no specialist mathematical knowledge is needed. And to mix things up a little, several of the puzzles this year have been contributed by guest setters – many of them winners or runners-up in previous RSS Christmas Quizzes.

The 2023 RSS Christmas Quiz will run through till Monday 29 January 2024 – 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 30% or higher, you’ll win a donation to your favourite charity or good cause, and your name (or team name) will appear on our 2023 prize-winners’ page.

This year’s RSS Quiz is dedicated to the memory of RSS fellow Richard Job, who sadly passed away in November. Richard was the guest setter for our 2022 RSS Christmas Quiz, and compiled an annual Christmas quiz for friends and colleagues for over 25 years. Richard submitted several questions for inclusion this year, which appear together as Puzzle 1 (“Just the Job”).

The top entry received will receive £100 in gift vouchers of their choice, and second place will receive £50 in gift vouchers of their choice.

In addition, to mark the 30th anniversary of the quiz, the quizmaster has pledged a donation of £900 to charity – half of this pot will be split between good causes nominated by the top four entries (1st: £200, 2nd: £100, 3rd: £80, 4th: £70), while the other half will go to good causes nominated by entrants scoring 30% or more (excluding the top four), distributed in proportion to the number of points scored.

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, 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, some of the puzzles may contain clues that might help you to crack the others.
  • The puzzles are not ordered by difficulty – if you aren’t getting anywhere with one of them, it may be a toughie!
  • 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!)
How to enter
Entries are welcomed both from individuals and teams of up to five people, and the quiz is free and open to all – there is no requirement to be an RSS member.

Solutions should be sent by email (with ‘RSS Christmas Quiz 2023’ as the subject line) to to arrive before 21:00 GMT on Monday 29 January 2024. Please don’t forget to mention your nominated charity or good cause at the top of your solutions.

Those who have contributed one or more puzzles this year are still eligible to enter the Quiz – although the points they receive in respect of their own puzzle(s) will be capped at the highest score achieved by other entrants (on a puzzle-by-puzzle basis).

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!

Download the 2023 RSS Christmas Quiz [PDF]

CORRECTIONS & ANNOUNCEMENTS [Last updated on 3 Jan 2024]

  • In the crossword (Puzzle 15), both instances of "106 108" should instead read "106 128". This has been corrected in the latest version of the PDF (linked above). Many thanks to those who reported this issue.
  • To aid the marking process for the crossword (Puzzle 15), entrants are kindly asked to provide their solutions in a simple computer-readable format (e.g. a numbered list in plain text). If desired, an image or photo of the completed grid can be included too, of course.
  • Finally, the link on the front page of the PDF now points directly to the quiz webpage - i.e. - rather than the RSS News page.

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