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Inspired by Avi's Vowelburger™ Riddle here (and all its many clones!)


The food hall was a mess. A massive fight had broken out among the proprietors of the five burger stands stationed around the room. Each had been promoting five burgers of their own devising, but tempers had flared. Now their wares lay scattered across the floor and the menu descriptions of the twenty-five items lay massed together, collected by the security guard that had broken up the fighting before calling the police:

Answered    |  Fries     |  Kickback |  Potboilers |  Trophy
Breastbones |  Glitches  |  Lyre     |  Qualms     |  Unnerve
Chinstrap   |  Grave     |  Mushroom |  Rendezvous |  Varecia
Daft        |  Humble    |  Nap      |  Slob       |  Wader
Enchanting  |  Inquiring |  Officer  |  Symbol     |  Yarmulke

As the Inspector entered the room beneath the large banner which read "When it comes to cuisine, Y is a consonant", one of the burger stand owners rushed up to him.

“Thank goodness you’ve come,” he said. “I run the local VowelBurger™ restaurant and came here today to present a standard recipe card of five VowelBurgers™, only to find these four other guys selling cheap imitations of my goods!”

Promising to get to the bottom of this, the Inspector made his way to the first stand. The woman beside it looked livid.

“I run the VoleBurger™ down the road, and my products aren’t anything like this fool’s, so he’s got no cause for complaint!”

“What do you put between your consonant buns?” asked the Inspector, peeling apart a burger and recoiling.

“It’s just mashed-up VOLE, that’s all.”

The Inspector grimaced and moved on to the second stand.

“The VygynByrgyr™ is the more ethical vowel-friendly alternative to the VowelBurger™. No vowels are harmed in the making of our burgers whatsoever and we double up on buns either side of the filling.”

The Inspector pointed at one of the broken burgers, and said accusingly: “This one doesn’t look like the others, and it sounds like it actually contains two vowels. I want the boys in the lab to take a closer look before I guarantee your vegan credentials. Bag it.”

Approaching the third stand, the Inspector picked up an object off the floor and held it out to the proprietor.

“Is that a beak?” he asked.

“Oh yes, sir,” cooed the proprietor. “At FowlBurger™ the only thing we put in between the consonant buns is bird-meat.”

“But,” said the Inspector, picking up a bun and waving it, “one of your products clearly uses a vowel bun in place of a consonant – that’s a breach of health and safety. You’re going to need to clean up your act…”

The fourth stand was particularly gruesome, with what appeared to be bits of offal lying around it.

“Care for a BowelBurger™, Inspector?” asked the man in the blood-stained butcher’s apron. “Our ethos is that no part of the animal should be wasted. Why just use the vowels when there are plenty of body parts you can put whole between the consonant buns?”

The Inspector cast a look at the tray of burgers. “Four of the five look the same from the top, which is fairly consistent, but it appears you also have an illegal vowel bun in use with one of your burgers. And besides, I can’t allow you to serve those contents to the general public, it’s disgusting.”

Walking back around the room the Inspector slapped penalty notices on each of the copycat stands and ordered his sergeants to take the owners off for questioning.

“Thank you so much, Inspector,” gushed the VowelBurger™ proprietor. “With so many con artists trying to imitate my life’s work it’s very difficult to keep the good name of VowelBurger™ unsullied.”

The Inspector looked down at the list of menu descriptions and frowned. “I’m afraid, sir,” he said, “that I’m going to have to take you in for questioning too. Unless I’m very much mistaken there’s an error in your menu, which suggests to me that your enterprise here is not a genuine VowelBurger™ branch. The real VowelBurger™ team would pay far more attention to detail…”

So saying, the Inspector led the fifth stallholder out to the waiting police car.

TASK: Reconstruct the five knock-off VowelBurger™ menus, using what you know about each stall’s business plans, then explain how the Inspector knew the so-called ‘VowelBurger™’ stall was a fake.

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  • 9
    $\begingroup$ +1 for the extended laugh at the end of a long work day. This looks to be a great puzzle no doubt, but it doubles as comedy. $\endgroup$ – anodyne Mar 12 at 0:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Food fight, you say? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 12 at 18:53
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The VoleBurgers

Answered    SOLVED
Enchanting  LOVELY
Potboilers  NOVELS
Slob        SLOVEN
Wader       PLOVER

The VygynBurgers

Grave      CRYPT
Lyre       CRWTH ("two vowels" ... because, you see, it has a double U)
Rendezvous TRYST
Symbol     GLYPH
Unnerve    PSYCH

The FowlBurgers

Breastbones STERNA (vowel-bun)
Humble      LOWLY
Inquiring   PROBING
Qualms      REGRETS
Varecia     LEMUR

The BowelBurgers

Chinstrap BEARD
Daft      BARMY
Fries     CHIPS (different top)
Glitches  BLIPS
Kickback  BRIBE (vowel-bun)

The alleged authentic VowelBurgers

Yarmulke CAP
Mushroom CEP
Nap      KIP (the error)
Officer  COP
Trophy   CUP

where of course we know something is amiss because of

KIP which begins with K rather than C.

Confession:

The last few did use a bit of computer help. Also, OP said some helpful things in comments below.

| improve this answer | |
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  • $\begingroup$ (There were a bunch of comments here -- some helpful ones from Stiv and some "hmm, how about this?" ones from me. I think the solution's complete now, so I've deleted those.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Mar 12 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ A fully complete and correct answer - well done :) The checkmark is now yours... $\endgroup$ – Stiv Mar 12 at 21:02

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