During one of the games, we ran into an interesting problem with homophones. The Defender (clue giver) had secretly chosen the word "capital". The given letters at the time were "C-A-P-I-T". A guesser had given the clue "Where US Congress meets", the word this clue refers to is 'capitol'. These words are pronounced that same but possess different meaning and spelling: homophone.

Given this scenario, can the defender counter with "not capitol"?

Reference: Standard Contact Rules

  • I'm not aware of any incidents in which the president has slept in the capitol. – Acccumulation Sep 13 '18 at 21:22
  • @Acccumulation - Fair point! edited :) – Kamaji Oct 26 '18 at 18:00

Since they're pronounced the same, there's no way of knowing that the guesser and defender are referring to different words. The reasonable thing to do in that case is accept the correct guess and move on appropriately (a loss for the defender, in this case, if I'm reading the rules correctly).

In this particular case, the guesser may have spoken the word so as to emphasize the difference in spelling (drawing out the 'o' sound in capitol). In that case, it seems very reasonable for the defender to respond with "not capitol" (again, drawing out the 'o' sound at the end). This will likely point to "capital" as being the next guess (especially with the addition of the 'a' from the defender).

Unless, that is, somebody asks which spelling of the word you are referring to (maybe red vs read). The standard rules linked don't say anything about homophones, so it's probably best to decide beforehand what happens in that case. Given that this seems to be a kind of party game, accepting the homophone as a correct guess seems the most appropriate, as it creates less conflict and more fun, and keeps the game moving.

  • 1
    "Less conflict and more fun" - for the majority of games, this is an excellent suggestion. For the rest, it is indeed "best to decide beforehand" so that everybody is playing the same game. – Nij Oct 27 '17 at 6:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.