"No, I said M (mmm), not N!"

The subject line refers to an old, old double-shot cheat that kids would try to pull when playing Hangman: they’d guess the letter “N”, and if it came up blank, immediately protest, “No, not N (nnnnn), I said M (mmmm)!”

This might work the first time, but that’s about it. Still, when this old gag crossed my path for the first time after many, many years while playing Hangman with my kids a few days ago*, it occurred to me to wonder if anybody has ever tried this gag on a game show like Wheel of Fortune. Does anybody know?
*Full disclosure: Actually I introduced them to this old, old double-shot cheat by attempting it myself when my head was in the gallows. And it worked, too!

A fairly obvious work-around is employed on some game shows – I can vouch that Australian Wheel of Fortune does this, don’t know about others. But when a contestant names a letter, they also give a word in which it is the first letter, for example, “D for Dog.” Sometimes contestants are imaginative, I vaguely recall a paleontological person using some long and complicated jargon – “V for Velociraptor, John.”

I’ve heard Pat Sajak ask for clarification if there’s any question what letter is being requested.

“That’s ‘P’, as in ‘pterodactyl’.”

“I didn’t say M as in Murphy, I said N as in Nerfy. You know, spongy and easily deflected.”

“O for Awesome”, David Tua - legend. Get the T-shirt!

It was never clarified if he really wanted the O or the A - he’d been asked for a consonant.

Damned nice try though.

Not exactly related, but Alex Trebek today failed to spell the Greek Letter Mu in the Spelling category today…or maybe it was Nu.

“M” as in mnemonic

“O” as in Oedipus

Sounds like the Barenaked Ladies’ “Crazy ABC’s” (apostrophe theirs, not mine!) - 26 examples of this kind of stuff!

I do know it wouldn’t work on Wheel of Fortune. What the judges say is final.

It always seems that the contestants are supposed to know which letters have been called. (as they make a big deal out of that if you mess up.) It makes me wonder if there is a list in front of them or something. It’d be pretty easy to see which letter you meant from that. Heck, give every player a keyboard.

From the Wheel of Fortune FAQ:

The P is silent, as in bath.