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The lame is a possibly defunct rule variant used by most or all official TRASH events as well as many independent trash tournaments prior to 2010. In essence, it gives each team one opportunity per game to call "lame" on a bonus at some point before the first answer prompt and play the next bonus in the packet instead.

The lame was often enhanced by the "hold", in which, when a lame is called, the opposing team has the right to hold the skipped bonus and play it the next time they answer a tossup.

While in theory an interesting way to allow teams to avoid hearing a bonus on a subdistributional area they know nothing about, the lame in practice resulted in many problems. It became an excuse to write overly hard bonuses in general, on the theory that a team could just lame an unpalatable question. It also was incompatible with modern styles of bonus writing in which the easy part or even the true topic of a bonus may not be apparent just from the bonus leadin.

The fundamental issue of the time added to games by preceding all 20 bonus questions with a discussion about whether the team wanted to play the bonus was never resolved.