CISRA Puzzle Competition 2011  Solutions
4A. A Typical Puzzle
The puzzle is selfdescribing.
Starting a few lines in:
 randomly reorder instructions so the puzzle isn't trivial
This suggests that the puzzle consists of a series of instructions that
have been reordered.
 keep putting in red herrings to pad out the puzzle even when there
are only about five things you've got to find
So, we're looking for approximately five things.
 produce a cryptic clue, at first, of an ungraceful ungulate
An UNGraceful UNGulate is a GNU.
 endlessly drone on with reams of boring text where it is impossible to
tell what's suppose to be the puzzle and what's supposed to be a
clue and what is in there because someone is utterly determned to
have a big rant about something they dislike and half the time they
haven't spellchecked the blasted thig so you don't know whether the
mistakes are deliberate or not, until they release errata one hour
into the competition by which point some smart alec has solved it
because it's able to be reverse engineered from the metapuzzle
There are several erros in this sentene.
 "suppose" => d
 "determned" => i
 "thig" => n
These spell DIN.
 initially spell out a clue.
The first letters of each line spell "pokerhighcard", which is ACE.
 have a set of words with 'precisely' the same length
At this point, it's reasonable to assume that we're going to get five
words each of three letters.
 generate a word by joining the dots, relying on a fiXed width font
The "," in the puzzle are positioned to form the letter "J"
The "'" form an "O"
The "." form a "T".
Put them together to form JOT.
 hide words, using capital letters
There are three capital letters in the puzzle, which spell FOX.
We have five words ACE, DIN, FOX, GNU and JOT, and some left over instructions:
 order words alphabetically.
 convert letters to numbers,
 and convert numbers to letters
 require you to generate numbers from patterns in number sequences even
though the sample size is too small and it would be totally logical
to work out the next number but for some arbitrary reason you have to
calculate the difference.
 demand that you solve all the first stage clues even when one of
them is much harder than the others and the answer is short cuttable
using other parts anyway.
Well, we've solved all the first stage clues (including the
harderintesting "join the dots"), but it certainly is possible to
continue without getting all five answers.
The "convert letters to numbers" and "order words alphabetically" we
can definitely try now.
 ACE = 1 3 5
 DIN = 4 9 14
 FOX = 6 15 24
 GNU = 7 14 21
 JOT = 10 15 20
These are fairly straightforward number sequences. Now we can apply the
instruction "require you to generate numbers from patterns in number
sequences even though the sample size is too small and it would be
totally logical to work out the next number but for some arbitrary
reason you have to calculate the difference."
The differences between the numbers in the sequences are:
 ACE = 2
 DIN = 5
 FOX = 9
 GNU = 7
 JOT = 5
Now we can apply the last unused instruction:
 and convert numbers to letters
2 5 9 7 5 = BEIGE, which is the answer.
