So, it’s finally run, my Jeopardy! episode, that is. And now everyone (just about) knows how I did—I lost…sort of.
Yes, after a good game where my only regrets were not ringing in fast enough on the Rabelais question and not betting more on the Daily Double, I came in second. The guy in first had a good lead on me, thanks to an NFL category that he leapt on, and the returning champion in third wasn’t much of a threat at all during the game.
And then came Final Jeopardy.
The way it works on the show is that they give you special instructions before FJ sometimes’if there is something particular about the clue or requirements for a correct response. In our case they made a HUGE deal about “being exact” and “giving the exact date–day month year” etc. Really pounded that in, and we all expressed that we understood. Alex then lead into the reveal saying that folks at home could ‘figure it out.’ Because of all that, when the clue was revealed, I was perplexed. The category was Dates in American History and the clue read:
On this date Philadelphia partied with fireworks & music from a Hessian band captured 6 months earlier.
Well, my first thought was, of course, July 4th, 1777, because of the fireworks reference and the Hessian Band meant it had to be during the Revolutionary War. However, the words ‘six month earlier’ contradicted that response. Six months earlier than July 4th is January 4th, and the Hessians were captured after the crossing of the Delaware River and that event was on Christmas, 1776. Sure, that’s nit-picky, but Jeopardy! is known for that. There was no qualifier (around, about) so I had to take “six months earlier” to mean exactly that. I thought, ‘Well, maybe they were celebrating some other date, not the actual 4th of July’I have to go with what the clue says’ and I wrote my answer: What is June 25, 1777?
The correct response was July 4, 1777. I was miffed. I still am, actually.
Anal? You bet. But so is Jeopardy!. If you answered, for example, All’s Quiet on the Western Front for a clue about a novel set during WWI, you’d get it wrong since it’s All Quiet… They don’t accept ‘close enough’ or ‘I meant…’ No, they’re very literal, and I think I was thus a bit screwed. See, I would have won if I had gotten it right. I had the year right and the guy who won didn’t. And I would have won a bucket of cash (almost $30K).
So I’m appealing my game. I hope that I’ll get another shot. I may–there are already comments about the FJ question being poorly worded on the Jeopardy.com forums (yes, there are J! forums for fans).
Regardless, I did have fun and it was worth all the effort to get on and study. I recommend anyone who ever had the urge to give it a try–they have regional tryouts pretty regularly. In fact, my other brother now is trying out in February in Atlanta. That’ll make all the sibs.
We’re a family of geeks…can you tell?