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This is not 'Nam, Smokey, this is Taboo. There are rules.
August 2, 2014 9:56 PM   Subscribe

In the enjoyable Parker Bros party game, Taboo, if the "guess word" is "Dr. Jekyll," is it a legal clue to say: "There are two crows in a cartoon, one of them is named Heckle"?
posted by capnsue to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The taboo words listed on the card are "Mr. Hyde," "Robert Louis Stevenson," "split personality," "good," and "evil," if that matters to your answer.
posted by capnsue at 10:05 PM on August 2


Definitely legal
posted by amapolaroja at 10:31 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]


Official Taboo Rules. Of the Rules for Clues, the only one that might apply to your example is: You cannot say the Guess word “sounds like” or “rhymes with” another word. But your example does not actually say this, and so I would say it does not break the rules.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:11 PM on August 2 [4 favorites]


Hmm, this is interesting. I think you're running too close to the rhyming rule, personally, despite not saying "sounds like." If all I had to do was come up with a clever rhyme each time and merely not say that it's a rhyme, I think that's violating the spirit, if not the letter.
posted by disillusioned at 11:17 PM on August 2


I think that since you're referring to an actual thing and not just making a rhymes-with, that's completely legit.
posted by brainmouse at 11:55 PM on August 2 [4 favorites]


In my experience "Other thing and ________" is exactly how everyone gets people to guess things in this game, and I can't imagine anyone ever getting anything without that strategy. That's pretty much exactly how you play.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:19 AM on August 3


The issue isn't the "Other thing and ____" part, it's the part where "Heckle" and "Jekyll" rhyme. You're not allowed to give clues about the way the word sounds including rhymes. But this situation is complicated in that the crows names are actually Heckle and Jeckle so the hint isn't about the way the word sounds but rather the "Heckle and ____" part and the rhyme is incidental.

I could see this causing a knock-down drag-out brawl in certain gaming circles. So I'd advise avoiding it. My own feeling is that it's too close to the no-rhymes rule for comfort.
posted by Justinian at 2:13 AM on August 3


I say definitely legal, since the rhyme is incidental. If the birds were named Bill and Jeckle you would presumably still use it for a clue. (But weren't they magpies, not crows?)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:33 AM on August 3 [3 favorites]


Are homonyms okay usually? So if you were trying to get "PORT" and the taboo words are harbor, ship, and boat, would it be legal to say, "This is a fortified wine from Portugal"? I think this is the same deal.
posted by BrashTech at 4:46 AM on August 3


I think this is similar to you trying to evoke the name "Jerry" as part of "Jerry McGuire" by saying "there are two animals in a cartoon. One of them is named "Tom."" - as Pater Aletheias notes, the rhyme here is incidental. As such, the only way this would not be okay is if you appended your clue with "... and the other bird's name rhymes with that." Otherwise, if it were me, I'd fight to a ridiculously excessive degree for the legality of this clue.

(... aaand I just polled the DingoWife and she agrees with the 'it's too close to a rhyme' folks - she thinks the rhyming implication is too strong even if you don't say "rhymes with," so you're violating the spirit of the rule - BUT SHE IS CLEARLY SO WRONG FOREVER)
posted by DingoMutt at 7:19 AM on August 3 [4 favorites]


Completely legal. The rhyme is a pure coincidence.

Arguing about the rules is half the fun (the other half is being obnoxious about the buzzer BZZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTTT).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 8:49 AM on August 3 [3 favorites]


I think the point of the "no rhymes rule" would be to rule out clues for "Dr. Jekyll" like "Dog Dirt Juggle" and "Proctor Jackal", clues whose only connection to the words "doctor" and "Jekyll" is that they sound similar. But since the rhyming word "Heckle" has a tangential connection to "Dr. Jeckyll", I'd say the clue is fine.

If they just said "Heckle and........", I think that clue would be not allowed, because the crow context would be unclear.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:09 AM on August 3


Thank you. In the interest of promoting family harmony I have agreed that it is a "gray area" but we all know the truth -- that it is TOTALLY FINE.
posted by capnsue at 11:03 AM on August 4


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