Solving the puzzle

In the build up to long planned invasion of Nazi occupied Europe, Operation Overlord, nervous tension dominated the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) headquarters. When a series of crossword clues appeared in the Daily Telegraph with answers that were closely guarded operational codewords, the spooks were spooked. Had the whole plan been blown by a puzzle?

The clue seemed innocuous: Red Indian on the Missouri. But the answer, Omaha, was the codename for the Normandy beach to be stormed by the 1st US Assault Division. On its own, this wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows. But it was far from an isolated example.

The innocent crossword puzzle. Or is it? By yoohoojuju (click for details)

In the weeks building up to D-Day, the Telegraph’s crossword puzzle had featured a series of answers taken straight from the codebook at SHAEF headquarters. Utah, Juno, Gold and Sword all appeared, all four codenames for other targeted Normandy beaches. These would be followed on 27 May 1944 with Overlord, on 30 May 1944 with Mulberry (the name of the artificial harbours to be floated on to the beaches) and on 1 June 1944 with Neptune – the codename for the naval assault on France.  

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Lies to protect the truth

“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”

–       Winston Churchill to Josef Stalin

Military history abounds with stories of bluff, deception and feints – lies seem to be the constant companion of military genius. Few operations, however, have been as comprehensively swaddled in so impenetrable a shroud of subterfuge as the Normandy landings of D-Day.

A vivid and fascinating book by Ben Macintyre, Double Cross: The True Story of The D-Day Spies, tells the story of Britain’s audacious bluff – a piece of counter-intelligence that was so successful it completely fooled the Nazi war machine, saved thousands of soldiers’ lives and possibly shaped the successful outcome of the war.

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Spies, Lies and Melted Mars Bars

Stephen Irvine, 04 October 2012

I’ll begin by asking you to step back into 1967 with me, dear readers – the year in which the police conducted a now infamous raid on Keith Richards’ Redlands estate. Picture stunned Bobbies bursting in to find members of The Rolling Stones in possession of naughty substances, and Mick Jagger in the act of eating a Mars bar out of Marianne Faithfull’s front bottom. What’s most upsetting about this yarn is not that the Mars bar bit was made up by the rozzers – it’s the truth behind what they were doing there in the first place.

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