A wordplay game used by a teacher to stimulate his students' learning capabilities, backfired and descended into a full-blown argument.
Moys Kenwood, who blags his way around teaching science, said to his class:
"The word 'Constantinople' is a very long word. How do you spell it?"
Crucially, he did not put any trace of 'stress' whatsoever on the word 'it'.
Several of the students raised their hands, and made attempts at the name of the erstwhile Turkish capital, but none of these started with the letter 'i', and Kenwood moved swiftly on to the next student.
Eventually, he was forced to explain the ruse, and wrote 'it' on the board. There was a collective groan. One student raised his hand, and complained that, the way in which the question had been put, suggested it was the word 'Constantinople' that needed spelling, and not the word 'it'. Kenwood knew he was on dodgy ground.
A discussion ensued on the subject of 'intonation', and the way the teacher had used deception and disguise in order to get 'a cheap laugh'. Kenwood conceded on this point, but asserted that he had done so for the express reason of being 'mirthful', and that he had meant no harm or disrespect to the students' spelling abilities. Further, he told the students, he would now accept their guesses at how to spell the word 'Constantinople'.
The class was silent for a while, then one boy said:
The room shook with laughter. Kenwood, inwardly, heaved a sigh of relief.