Stuck in a storm. Where is Grandpa?

When Grandpa called, he sounded very unhappy.

"I am supposed to be in Paris but here I am stuck in a storm!", he grumbled.

"I am in the middle of nowhere. At the end of the line, front of the lobby, standing for hours. Trying to get a room for the night!"

"What city are you in Grandpa?" I asked

Then the cell connection died.

What city was Grandpa in? Why?

• Grandpa needs to learn to be a bit less cryptic if he expects a timely rescue. Time and a place, gramps... May 19 at 15:07

1 Answer

I think Grandpa might be stuck in:

Helsinki, Finland.

The wording of the puzzle suggests that Grandpa is stranded at an intermediate airport whilst attempting to travel to Paris as a result of bad weather ('stuck in a storm... trying to get a room for the night...'), but some of his words here have an additional hidden significance:

If we take:

- the middle of NOWHERE,
- the end of LINE, and
- the front of LOBBY

...these 3 letters spell HEL, which is the standard 3-letter IATA code for Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

Here's hoping that Grandpa's cell is a:

Nokia - as then at least he's in the right country to find a compatible charger easily!

• Another superb solve @Stiv. Well at least took you a few minutes this time. Not seconds like you normally do.
– DrD
May 18 at 14:15
• Annoyingly had this but thought "Standing for hours" signified another "h" and was trying to make something like Helhoek work. Will teach me to overthink things, well done. May 18 at 14:22
• @hexomino Thanks. I went through a very similar train of thought, trying to spell out the whole word. It was only when I thought to interpret what I had in the context of the puzzle's setting that I realised what I had might actually be sufficient...
– Stiv
May 18 at 14:26
• He's in Hohhot (HET) if he's at "the front of the lobby". +1 for your answer, -1 for the question. May 18 at 14:59
• Got the TLA immediately but didn't spot how to interpret it. Thanks! May 21 at 16:32