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Solution to Head for the Kitchen

Reference Point

by Kevin Wald

Each of the "contestants" is a member of the list of names of nonkosher birds in Deuteronomy 14:11-18, in the original Hebrew (as per the Masoretic Text); this list is very similar to, but not quite identical with, the list in Leviticus 11:13-19. This is why all the contestants are eventually disqualified for violating the "Food Code" — the kosher laws. (The "Cooking with Locusts" reference at the end refers to the fact that in both Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the list of nonkosher birds precedes a discussion of what insects, etc. may be eaten.) The five announcers giving the play-by-play correspond to the English names of the Five Books of Moses, both by initial letter and in other ways:

GuyGenesisSays "Let's get started," and describes first ingredients.
EmerilExodusMakes many, many references to contestants coming out, emerging, etc.
LidiaLeviticusIs "someone who handles the clerical stuff" ("Leviticus" means "Pertaining to the Levites"), and had a list differing from Delia's.
NigellaNumbersUses many, many numbers.
DeliaDeuteronomyIs "to state the rules another time" ("Deuteronomy" means "Second law"), and had a list differing from Lidia's.

We see the last five contests of a single-elimination tournament that has already eliminated fifteen names; before each contest, Guy, Nigella, and Delia each indicate one of these.

ContestG ClueG NameN ClueN NameD ClueD Name
1first ingredient (of three) was hearts of palmkos (first letter of three is kaf = "palm")At 1 . . . Wilt Chamberlain's record from 3/2/62qa'at (letter 1 is qoph = 100; the record is 100 points in a single game)one entry on my list (rhyming with its predecessor) wasn't on hersdayyah (after ayyah on the D list, absent on the L list)
2first ingredient (of four) was ribeyeatalef (first letter of four is ayin = "eye")At 2 . . . how to travel the 850 miles from St. Louis to Kansas City to Denver in under 13 hoursyaanah (letter 2 is ayin = 70; the route is I-70)one entry had "head" or "two hundred" as its first letter on my list, but had "door" or "four" on Lidia'sra'ah (L has da'ah in the same place, replacing the initial resh with a daleth)
3first ingredient (of five) . . . — an entire hand of bananasyanshuf (first letter of five is yod = "hand")At 3, . . . the time Phileas Fogg had to travel through 360 degrees of longitude to win 20,000 pounds sterling . . . it's in its final formshahaf (letter 3 is the final form of pe = 80; the time is 80 days)one name on my list, which was five places later there than on Lidia's listshalak (its position on the lists differs as described)
4first ingredient (of four) . . . oxtailanafah (first letter of four is aleph = "ox")At 4, . . . count the minutes until 5tahmas (letter 4 is samekh = 60)our lists disagreed on the gender of one namerachamah (feminine; the L list has the masculine racham)
5first ingredient (of three) . . . — a bigmouth bassperes (first letter of three is pe = "mouth")at 6 . . . 20 scoresdukifat (letter 6 is taw = 400)Lidia and I had a similar vowel difference in one name . . . not reflected in any of its actual letterstinshomet (appears as tinshemet on the L list but the difference is only visible in vowel marks)

The remaining elements of Delia's list are:

PositionEnglish LetterNameSpelling
11Knetznun-final sadhe

We must then deduce who won and lost which of the final contests.

Also each contest's results are noted down by a different announcer. In order by biblical book, we thus have:

NameContest numberWinner nameWinner letterLoser nameLoser letter

Reading these letter pairs in order, we get the answer EGG CRACKER (which each of these birds was at birth, thus demonstrating an important chef skill).