publication date: Friday, December 17, 2021 (part of Winter 2022)

category: Hoaxes

clue: Thanks to his understanding of the Latino snack market, he went from cleaning the executive's office to occupying it, but a newspaper investigation revealed that the only thing truly on fire was his pants.

explanation: Montañez is a PepsiCo and Frito-Lay employee who worked his way up from janitor to vice president of multicultural sales. He gained notoriety after claiming to have invented Flamin' Hot Cheetos in his own kitchen by using Mexican spices, leading to a book and movie deal, but a subsequent LA Times investigation determined that this was false. more…

intended difficulty: hard

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Steve West, LaVonne Lemler, Samir Mehta, Richard Slominsky, Denise Sawicki, Erik Bates, Jesse King, and Ruth Cichoski

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