Let me present a hyperbolic example:
"The name of a god of this domain is often interpreted as meaning "Left-Handed Hummingbird."
(buzz)...huh, so that's Huitzilopochtli...war? (neg five)
Here, the issue is one of specificity. Is Huitzilopochtli a sun god? Sure, the Aztecs sacrificed thousands of people to him to keep the sun in the sky, and he took the main role of the sun god in the Aztec empire. But he sure as hell is also a god of war! This applies to a lot of myth in general. Protip: Wikipedia should never be considered a sole source of truth, but this is an example where this is particularly blatant, as their summaries are (understandably, for a lay audience) not exhaustive! This means you can't even get around this by saying "it's not war..." since if you were a 16th century Aztec, I would imagine Huitzi could be "associated with" a lot more than just war.
Matt Jackson puts it well:
Now, a more innocuous example from a recent tournament (credit to Jason Cheng for bringing this one to my attention):Adventure Temple Trail wrote:(* by "over-reified" I mean assuming that information is more concrete and specific than it actually is. Most deities don't have a specific "jRPG element" or domain that they're connected to one-to-one (is Ukko a lightning god or a sky god or a fertility god or all of the above?), and many objects are somewhat ambiguous (is Laevateinn a sword, a wand, a branch, or something else? No one knows!), and in such cases it's absurd to expect players to guess which of the various possibilities is the one the question writer is looking for.)
Granted, this tossup fixes itself a bit when it says "unusual physical feature" later. However, if someone has read "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" but is perhaps less familiar with quizbowl, or unable to guess the writer's conceit, they could very well have no idea what to say because "attribute" is not a very specific word. You could say, to take the obvious example, "being old" - but also other things, such as "being an angel" (as a lot of the townspeople call him an angel in the story). Sure, that may well not apply to the first clue, but there's no way for the player to know that if they aren't familiar with the material in the first clue and there isn't an explicit exclusion of some sort - and that may not be workable, as one can imagine that experienced players might start thinking of the Garcia Marquez story quickly if you said "it's not being elderly, but..."Penn Bowl 2017, Packet 1 wrote:A woman with this attribute escapes being raped by the Grand Duke by jumping into a Fabergé egg and
is interviewed by journalist Jack Walser, who follows her to Siberia. A man with this attribute disappoints
people by speaking in an “incomprehensible dialect with a strong sailor’s voice” instead of Latin and is
visited by a woman who ran out of numbers while counting her heartbeats and a man who can’t sleep
because of the noise of the stars. The “Cockney Venus,” trapeze artist Sophie Fevvers, has this physical
feature in Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus. A (*) spider girl steals the audience of a man with this unusual
physical feature, who is imprisoned in a chicken coop after being found in the mud by Elisenda and Pelayo. For 10
points, name these body parts, which title a Gabriel Garcia Marquez story about “A Very Old Man with Enormous”
The general point is "be wary, and think about how a player might interpret your tossup if they don't understand the conceit." Critical thinking and reviews by other people (always have other people check your work over!!!) can help catch errors like this, but it requires vigilance by all parties.