Think solving puzzles isn’t brain surgery? Well, let’s see how clever you are when your task is to follow a set of explicit, unambiguous instructions! Start with the string BRAINSURGEON and follow the instructions. In the instructions below, “the instructions” refers to the sentences below and not to this preamble to the instructions.
Alphabetize the first half of the string; this is a very important thing, and if you cannot do this, take my advice: you are in over your head!
Wherever there appears a consonant whose left neighbor is a consonant and whose right neighbor is a consonant, delete the letter in between, but do so only if the instruction currently being followed has an odd number of words.
Reverse the order of any two consonants that appear adjacently in the string, but do so only if the last word of this sentence contains neither of these consonants.
Reapply the second instruction, this time replacing the word “consonant” with “vowel” wherever it appears, but if the second instruction’s first 3 words appear in reverse alphabetical order, the first instance of the word “consonant” should not be replaced.
Delete any instance in the string of the most common letter in these instructions up to and including the fourth to last word of this sentence, but only if that word is, or precedes, the word “unnecessarily” or “complicated.”
Take the second most common letter of these instructions so far, present step included; insert it such that some word from this sentence appears within the string.
Treating the string as a deck of cards, perform a perfect shuffle, as defined in the ninth step; then alphabetize the last four letters if doing so does not change their order.
One vowel from the original string no longer appears in the current string; count the number of lines in its uppercase form and add this many instances of it to the end of the string.
Give the string another perfect shuffle; you have already done this, but we will explain it again: reorder the letters of the string by taking the second half’s last letter, then prepending the last letter of the first half, then prepending the second-to-last letter of the second half, and so forth.
Replace the first letter of the string with the Ith word of the Jth step in these instructions, then shift the last letter of the string to the front; choose I and J as the number of P’s and R’s in the Kth step of these instructions, respectively, choosing K as ten.
Do whichever is easier: move the first two letters to the end of the string, or do the same by deleting the first vowel and inserting a copy of it after the last consonant, and then doing the same with the words “vowel” and “consonant” swapped.
Remove the first two letters of the string, and reinsert them later so that they sit between letters number twelve and thirteen of the remainder.
The string now begins with a seven letter word, followed by a common abbreviation for alien; insert, after these letters, the forty-eighth letter of the next instruction.
If the length of the string is even, then reverse its second half; if the length is odd, then insert the third letter of the alphabet at the beginning of the string.
Find the greatest number of I’s that appear in any word appearing in any sentence of any of these instructions’ steps, and insert this number (spelled out) one letter after the last I.
Double any consonant occurring in the last four letters of the string; if this extends the string’s length by only one letter, then apply this instruction to the last six letters of the string.
Move the first letter of the string to immediately after the last instance of the first letter of the digit that was previously spelled out.
Find the string’s most common vowel and remove one instance of it so that all the remaining instances appear after the removed instance.
Find the first consonant in the string and insert a copy of it so that it appears after the penultimate letter in the string that results.
The time is ripe to wrap up this conundrum: if following this instruction will result in the string’s first letter changing, then find a color word in the string and shift it to the front of the string.