Professor O'Brien is missing from his laboratory. So is the elaborate contraption he has been working on for months. Paranoid about security, Professor O'Brien has not confided the nature of his experiments to anyone. It is known that he has been consuming vast amounts of electricity. Inspector Bostwick has been called in to investigate. The only things he has uncovered that might possibly be clues are the Professor's half-eaten dinner (a slab of ground meat covered in Indian spices) and a note in an envelope labelled "Do Si Do".

The note reads as follows:

Take steps: these all repeat.
It's "then" then "prime" and "and".
Just words left.
A. numbers these: "the, all, step".
A. to remove to reverse the jump, right?

The only one of Professor O'Brien's colleagues having a name that begins with A, Dr. Adams, claims to know nothing of the professor's work, the professor's whereabouts, or the meaning of the note.

Can you explain the note? Can you answer the questions in the title?


41, Stephen King, ice cream, type of dance

  • $\begingroup$ This is Do Si Do $\endgroup$ Sep 5 '16 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ Do Si Do can be both a type of dance and (apparently) ice cream. Can't find any connection to Stephen King or 41 though. $\endgroup$ Sep 5 '16 at 23:29
  • $\begingroup$ Related (semi-spoilers): One of Hugh's previous puzzles $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Sep 6 '16 at 2:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja I liked that one. But please tell me you didn't research my past puzzles to solve this. $\endgroup$ Sep 6 '16 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ @HughMeyers - No, not at all. Just after I solved this one, it's structure reminded me of that one and I went looking for it, only to discover it was also your creation. You clearly have a tangled mind. :) $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Sep 6 '16 at 20:33

Firstly, Do Si Do hints at a couple of things:

1. It's a dance move that involves circling around
2. It's a move that's generally seen in square dances

So if we take words from the note based on:

Indexed positions that are square numbers, we extract:
Take steps these all repeat It's then then prime and and Just words left A numbers these the all step A to remove to reverse the jump right

Take all prime numbers, reverse

Then following that instruction:

So, indexing prime numbers:
Take steps these all repeat It's then then prime and and Just words left A numbers these the all step A to remove to reverse the jump right

Or (when reversed as per initial instruction):
Remove all these words and then repeat these steps

As per this new instruction we:

Remove all the used words to give:
It's then and Just left A the step A to to the jump right

Then repeat the initial instructions to give:
It's just a (from squares) jump to the left, and then (from reversed primes)
Leaving us with:
a step to the right (though it arguably should've been "A right the step to" to continue following the pattern...)

Now that text is obviously a reference to:

Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Show, which is also hinted at by other clues sprinkled throughout the text (thanks @tmpearce), such as:
- The Professor's name is O'Brien and The Rocky Horror Show was written by Richard O'Brien
- The "half-eaten dinner" is covered in "Indian spices" and the lead actor in Rocky Horror (both stage and film) is Tim Curry
- The "half-eaten dinner" is a "slab of ground meat", which may hint at Meat Loaf's role in The Rocky Horror [Picture] Show
- The inspector's name is Bostwick, which mirror's actor Barry Botswick who stared in TRHPS
- The colleague Dr. Adams may hint at Jonathan Adams another star of TRH[P]S

So I'm assuming that "the elaborate contraption [Professor O'Brien] has been working on for months" is:

A time machine. And more specifically, our Professor is in fact the Richard O'Brien" and he's gone back in time to the early 1970's in order to write and produce The Rocky Horror Show (the Story from the title), which will run at the Chelsea Classic Cinema on Kings Road (the Road from the title) from '73 to '79.

  • $\begingroup$ Wow. I'd got as far as picking out all prime-indexed words in the original verse, but the layers in this are just amazing! $\endgroup$ Sep 6 '16 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ Lyrics of the Rocky Horror Picture Show are by Richard O'Brien, and the movie stars Barry Bostwick and Tim Curry (Indian spices) and features Meatloaf (slab of ground meat). And perhaps the road is "Broadway" for the musical... $\endgroup$
    – tmpearce
    Sep 6 '16 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ @tmpearce - Noticed the Tim Curry connection, but not the others, so it seemed tenuous at best. But combined with the others it makes more sense. Though, I don't think it'd be broadway, since it's a british production.. more likely Kings Road which was it's primary home from '73 to '79... will update. $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Sep 6 '16 at 2:26
  • $\begingroup$ Very good! I was completely on the wrong track here; I tried to pair the words up in two lines and make them do a weaving dancing figure - after all the first 14 words end with "left", the next 14 with "right". Yeah, that didn't get me anywhere, of course. :) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Sep 6 '16 at 5:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Congratulations! And apologies to the female lead whose name I was not clever enough to disguise and insert. In October of this year there is to be a remake of the longest-running theatrical release in film history, 41 years after its premier. It seemed only fitting to mark the occasion. $\endgroup$ Sep 6 '16 at 8:45

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