Contributed recaps, live panels, stats, and more from a hopeful contestant and the fan community!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Girls rule, the categories drool (sometimes)

Wednesday: Alyssa Morgan     Jen Fick     Nora Corrigan       Me                         
                           3200                9300             1999             28022
     So I was wrong about Nora sticking around for a while.  This was a good game for me.  I swept Fun with American Idol Names.  Would you believe four of those five clues were triple-stumpers?  In fact the last six clues of the game were triple-stumpers (seven if you count Final Jeopardy).  I missed these two (too), in 15 Minutes of Fame: "As a result of this 1980 FBI sting operation, Michael Myers became the first house member to be expelled in over 100 years"* and "Introducing the world to the word 'palimony,' Michelle Triola sued this actor for support in 1979."*  However, I slam-dunked this Final Jeopardy clue in Religion, and it felt good: "An aid to the faithful since the 13th century, one standard version has parts arranged in groups of 1, 3, or 10."*
Thursday: Meg Miller     Markus Iturriaga     Jen Fick         Me
                    12900                  5200               11999          6798

     This was a bitter loss for me that I was still griping about to my friends after I went to work.  The Double Jeopardy round had brutal categories, like Commanders at War, 19th Century Opera, and Who Killed Me, Shakespeare?  (Hey, Nora, who said on her first episode that she is trying to see every Shakespeare play, would've done well in that category!)  Final Jeopardy was just as brutal a category for me, too: The Super Bowl (and yes, they did write that as two words).  This was the clue: "As of 2010 it's the only current NFC team that has never played in the Super Bowl."*
     So Meg was back today trying for a second win.  At the first break, she led with 3000.  (That's not counting me with 4200.)  J.D. Lowry had 2600, and James Richardson had 600.  I went 4/5 in Say Cheese, Spat the Properly Spelld Wurd, It's Good to Be Him, and State Mottoes.  I missed the 2000 clue in each of those categories. 
     I can't believe I missed this 1000 clue in the spelling category: "Sacrilegious sheperds seperate suspisciously."*  (I was about to say that I know how to spell all those words, but I had to read that first word off the screen over and over to make sure I had it right here!)
     This is the one I missed in the cheese category: "Fonduta is the Italian version of fondue, made with this type of cheese that also begins with 'fon.'"*
     I knew one of the key words in this clue in the mottoes category, but couldn't come up with the whole thing, and neither could anyone else: "Alaska has this 4-word motto."*
     This is the one I missed in It's Good to Be Him: "QBed his team to 3 Super Bowl wins in 4 years; probably never has to buy a meal in Boston again."*
     Meg missed this Daily Double in the mottoes category, and lost 2400: "Pennsylvania's motto is 'virtue, liberty, and' this, also the name of a hall there."*
     At the end of the Jeopardy round, then, Meg had 5000, J.D. had 5200, James had 2200, and I had 6800. At the end of Double Jeopardy, Meg had 8200, J.D. had 15200, James had 13600, and I had 21600.  The Final Jeopardy category was The 9 Muses.  I felt pretty good about this one.  The muses often appear in crossword puzzles.  I missed it, though, and only Meg got it right on the show: "In a Balanchine ballet, Apollo, god of music, has a favorite muse: this one."*  (Did you guys know it?)  Meg wagered wisely, 8199, almost doubling her score.  But then, no wager seems wise when a contestant misses Final Jeopardy and then loses, it seems.  J.D. lost 12050 and James lost 6400.  I lost 5602, just missing the win with a final score of 15998.  So Meg wins,which means the women won every day this week!
     Jeopardy!'s going on summer break :-(, and will show their most recent Teen Tournament next week.   BUT, I will still be blogging, and maybe on more than what is shown on TV.  I've read on the show's message boards about something called the Summer Hiatus Challenge.  I have tried to gather more information about it without being obnoxious, but so far haven't been too successful (at gathering information, that is).  So far I know that it is a game that takes place on the message boards while the show is on summer break.  I intend to play, even if I have to guess at how. :-)  We'll see how it goes. 

*Abscam, Lee Marvin, rosary, the Detroit Lions, sacrilegious, fontina, North to the Future, Tom Brady, independence, Terpsichore

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Metals, Math, Mysteries, Monarchies, and More

     First, please vote in my poll below after reading this for a little background.
     Here are the scores for Monday:
(blogger!) Pamela Nelson       (crossword constructor!) John Cunningham      Alison Stone Roberg       Me
                    20000                                                               8800                        30001                  30800

     I think I was helped by the fact that I wagered everything on an early Daily Double, a tip I picked up from a successful past Jeopardy! contestant on the Jeopardy! message boards when I asked how I could improve my wagering strategy.  (By the way, here's Pamela's account of her Jeopardy! experience, including an explanation of her Final Jeopardy wager.)
     At the beginning of today's show, Mr. Trebek basically said that this is the final week of the season :-(, and that next week they're going to show "some of the highlights, some of the great tournaments we've had this past year."  I hope they show some of this year's Tournament of Champions, even though it was only a couple of months ago.  I just thought it was thrilling, with such great contestants!
     Alison Stone Roberg was going for a fourth win today, having won an impressive 85000+ in her three wins.  Nora Corrigan, a confident and steady player today, found the Daily Double in the Jeopardy round in Ferrous, Bueller, which happened to also be the last clue of the round (a good time for it).  She had 4000, Vince Femenella had 6400, and Alison had 5800.  This was the clue: "An older theory said that when metallic iron loses its phlogiston, it becomes this remnant we know as an oxide."*  She got it immediately, and moved into second place with her wager of 2000.  Alison, then, was in the odd-seeming position of going into Double Jeopardy in third place.
     After four clues in Here's 2 "U" in the Double Jeopardy round, Nora moved to Famous Last Words.  Vince got this clue right, there: "A woman facing the guillotine, 1793: 'Farewell, my children, I go to rejoin your father.'"*  Vince immediately returned to Here's 2 "U," and found the Daily Double Nora would've had if she had finished the category.  Vince had 7200, Alison had 6600, and Nora had 7600.  He wagered 4000 on this clue: "The name of this branch of math comes from the Latin for 'small stone.'"*  He and I both got it wrong.  It was maddening for me because the correct response came into my head immediately, and I even started to answer out loud, "What is..." and then stopped suddenly because I decided it was wrong.  I lost 3000 on it, a costly mistake.
     The game went from bad to worse for Vince when he landed in the hole on this clue in the misnamed I Love a Mystery: "Inspector Kurt Wallander solves mysteries in this country, homeland of his creator Henning Mankell."*  This clue stumped everybody, including me.
     Did you guys know these triple-stumpers in the Double Jeopardy round?  In World War II: "To help the war effort, this composer wrote 'Any Bonds Today?' for the Treasury Department."*  And in Mr. Robinson: "Before the frost/until I freeze" was a 2009 Double album from this band fronted by Chris Robinson."*
     At the end of the round, Alison had 13000, Vince had rebounded with 6000, Nora had 14200.  (I had 8400.)  The final category was Monarchies.  I wagered nothing, partly because I haven't done well in this category in the past, and partly because of my position: I assumed Nora would wager enough to beat Alison if Alison doubled and got 26000.  I could not reach that amount, so I hoped Nora would get it wrong and wind up with 1200, and then I would have more money than she would.  As it happened, I answered Final Jeopardy correctly.  Here is the clue: "1 of the 2 largely German-speaking monarchies in the world; they're about 250 miles apart."*  Vince got it right but wagered nothing.  Alison got it wrong and wagered only 999, which would have put her a dollar ahead of Vince if he had doubled.  (I wonder if she thought the category was a weak one for her, too?)  Nora got it right, and wagered a whopping 13001, a wager I can't really explain: She only (only?) needed to wager 11801 to win if Alison had doubled her score.  Anyway, we have a new champion, and I think she may be a strong one in the coming days.  Come back to find out!  Better yet, watch the show and come back! 

*rust, Marie Antoinette, calculus, Sweden, Irving Berlin, the Black Crowes, Liechtenstein or Luxembourg

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday night's alright for fighting

     I was driving around with my sister "Peaches" yesterday (not her real name of course) and listening to music on the radio.  As we drove, I wondered if she had read about my plan on this blog, and knew, then, that I was not following it as originally written: You might remember that I had given up listening to music on the radio in favor of anything more educational, while I am preparing to be on Jeopardy! someday.  I decided a weekend or two ago that I would tweak the plan to allow me to still listen to music on the weekends, in the hopes that this will increase compliance long-term.       
     It turns out Peaches hadn't read about it, but she has some opinions about it - She thinks it is too much! I tried to explain to her that I am far from ready for the show and I don't learn what I need to learn if I'm passive about it. She seems to think that I am learning enough without specifically studying for the show, and that I will not have any fun by, for example, not listening to music anymore.
     Later, on the way to the movies with my family, Peaches said she wanted me to put a poll on this blog, with three choices: Is my plan adequate, inadequate, or "overboard"? Incidentally, my mom agreed with Peaches! I tried to make my case by telling them about a category on the show last week, Presidential Math, where two presidents and an operation are given, and the contestants are to give the correct number. For example: "Obama divided by Madison."* I thought this category was ridiculously difficult.  I told them that, had I been on the show that day, I'd might as well have put my signalling device down for the whole category, because I am clueless about it right now and will be until I study presidents for the show.
     I invited Peaches to keep track of her own score using the Coryat method that I used last week, in an attempt to prove that, even though she is a very bright girl and shines in a classroom and on the job, her scores will not be great because the information on the show needs to be studied in order to succeed on it.  She said 'no way,' and that she doesn't see how her scores will prove my case.
     Anyway, I agreed to do the poll. I'll leave it up for two weeks. I'd also love to read your comments about this, even after the two weeks are up!
     Since I am at my parents', I got to watch last night's episode of Jeopardy!  (It's on available on Saturday nights where I live.)  Erik Nelson was the returning champion last night, and his challengers were Mengmeng Zhang and Melissa Noble.  I swept the category You Just Have to "Ask."  At the end of the Jeopardy round, Erik led with 5400, Mengmeng had 4000, and Melissa had 2600.  Melissa's game took a turn for the worse in the Double Jeopardy round, with misses on clues like these triple-stumpers:
In Thar He Blows: "From 1967 to 1992, this Doc was in and trumpeting himself as the bandleader of "The Tonight Show."*
And in Birth of a President: "November 2, 1865 in Corsica (now Blooming Grove), Ohio."* (I have to admit I guessed the same thing she did.)
     Mengmeng, too, faltered when he lost 3500 on this Daily Double in Population-pourri with only two clues remaining: "Of cities in titles of Shakespeare's plays, this Mediterranean capital has the highest population."*  Erik, meanwhile, gained 3000 on his Daily Double in Birth of a President: "June 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts."*  At the end of  Double Jeopardy, then, Erik had 18000, Mengmeng had 12900, and Melissa had 1000.  The Final Jeopardy category was Award Namesakes: "His 'A Little Pretty Pocket-Book" from 1744 was one of the first books published specifically for children."*  I had this narrowed down to two, and both of those names were guessed by the contestants.  Erik, who wagered 7801, and Melissa, who wagered 999, got it right, making Erik a two-day champion.

*11 (44/4), Doc Severinsen, Warren Harding, Athens, George H.W. Bush, Newbery

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thank God It's Friday

     I've now finished my first (and last) week of keeping track of my score using the "Coryat" method.  I am undeniably frustrated today: I had my best score of the week at 23000, but I may have done better if I'd have been able to wager on Daily Doubles.  For example, one-day champ Alison Stone Roberg picked up 4000 on this Daily Double in Get the L Out, where it could only count for 2000 for me because that was the value of the clue: "Get the L out of a word meaning to quench a thirst to get a Japanese potent potable."* (They're looking for two words in the correct response.)
     I also don't like how my fate is sealed at the end of Double Jeopardy, whereas the real contestants still have a chance to augment their scores.  It doesn't seem fair!  It's almost like you can't win.  Trying this method was a worthwhile experience, but I feel like it doesn't reflect whether I won or lost a game as well as the Jeopardy Challenger method does.  I know that the Coryat method measures a person's knowledge of the content, but I already know what my weak subjects are.  What I need to know is how to wager effectively on Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy.  Yes, you can still practice wagering using the Coryat method, but with the Jeopardy Challenger, it counts, just like it does on the show.
     Here are my scores from Wednesday and Thursday, keeping in mind what I said above:
Tom Alexander Sarah Minson    John Krizel   Me
        0                 16801               26401        19400

Alison Stone Roberg    Dan Highlands    John Krizel      Me
          26801                   6400                  8100             18800
     Alison was off to a fast start today.  By the first break, she had 5500, thanks in part to a 2500 wager and a correct response on this Daily Double in Letter and Word: "The most common human blood type (make sure to say whether it's positive or negative)."* Rich Baker had 200 at the first break, and Joe Gallagher had 3000.  At the end of the round, Alison had 9300, Joe had 4200, and Rich continued to struggle with 1400.  My Coryat score was 9400.  Here's my Jeopardy round from today:
     Did you guys know these triple-stumpers in the round, both in The Late Night Crowd?:
"Ted Koppel anchored this late night show for 25 years."*  I'm a little surprised that Alison and Joe still missed this one after Rich guessed Dateline.
"Back in 1993, this SNL vet's foray into late night on Fox lasted only 29 episodes."*
     What about this one in the Double Jeopardy round, in They're Looking Out for Us: "The NCIRD (the I is for immunization) is part of this 3-letter Atlanta-based organization."*  Again, Alison and Joe missed this one even after Rich gave them the answer when he said "Centers for Disease Control."  By then, he looked as frustrated as I was!
     Below is my Double Jeopardy round.  At the end of the round, Alison had the game locked up with 27300.  Joe had 12300, and Rich had 3000.
     The Final Jeopardy category was Presidential Campaigns, and this was the clue: "In the 'World Almanac' list of notable third party candidates, 1 of the 2 for whom the main issue was 'states' rights.'"*  This probably shouldn't have been a toughie, but for me it was.  I guess I need to read the book I have on my shelf with the same name as the category!  Typical for this game, Joe and Rich missed it and Alison got it right.  We will see her next week, and I will see my Jeopardy Challenger again!

*slake and sake, O-positive, Nightline, Chevy Chase, CDC, Wallace or Thurmond

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not feelin' the brotherly love today

         My score in the Jeopardy round today was roughly half that of yesterday's Jeopardy round.  I really can't explain why I didn't come up with any correct responses in 1984.  I did know the answer to this first clue of the game in that category, but didn't ring in in time/didn't feel confident enough: "January 1: This Southeast Asian sultanate gains its full independence from Great Britain."*  And I've never heard of the answer to this clue in Top U.S Franchises: "Begun in Japan, this chain of math and reading centers ranks as the top tutoring services franchise."*  Gene Beed of Irvine, CA knew the answer.  I went to the company's website and found that there are three such centers in Irvine.  I lived in a town 40 miles from Irvine for a couple of years, and I even worked briefly as a tutor at a center that seems similar.  Of course I want to know, did you guys know the answer, and if so, where are you are from?
     Donna Gottlieb found all three Daily Doubles today, the first one right after giving her first correct response.  She risked all of her 1000, and got it right.  The Daily Double was found in Top U.S. Franchises: "This women-only circuit-training fitness center began franchising in 1985."*
     I missed this first clue read in Big "Brother" because I was writing the categories on my sheet and didn't realize "Brother" was in quotes!: "Zeppo or Gummo."*  Live and learn.  Then I guess I was rattled, and gave only four words on this clue in the same category: "5-word nickname of Philadelphia."*  There really is no excuse for missing that one!
     There was no clear favorite at the end of the Jeopardy round.  Donna had 4400, Gene had 6800, and 2-day champ John Krizel had 7000.  Here is my Jeopardy round:
     I made up for the Jeopardy round in Double Jeopardy, which was nearly three times that of yesterday's:
     Did you guys know this triple-stumper in State Lakes?: "Grand Lake of the Cherokees."*  What about this one in From the Greek?: "This bowl-shaped depression at the mouth of a volcano is from the Greek for 'mixing vessel.'"* Again, I knew this one, but didn't feel confident enough, which is the same as not knowing it at all!
     Donna found one Daily Double one near the beginning of the Double Jeopardy round and one near the end.  Here's the first one, in Opera Characters: "A one-act opera based on an episode in 'Great Expectations' is called this woman's 'wedding night.'"*  The second Daily Double of the round was in From the Greek: "The name of this learning disability is partly from the Greek for 'word.'"*  Despite answering all three Daily Doubles correct, Donna was in third place going into Final Jeopardy.  She never wagered to take the lead on the Daily Doubles.  She wagered 1200 on the Opera Daily Double, when anything more than 2200 would've given her the lead.  And even though there were only two clues left in the round, she only wagered to be in second place by 200 with a correct response.  (To take the lead, though, she would've nearly had to risk it all.)  So going into Final Jeopardy, John had 17400, Gene had 16000, and Donna had 12600.
     The Final Jeopardy category was Legendary Public Servants.  This was the clue: "In 1929, he became a special agent with the treasury department's prohibition bureau, Chicago division."*  I guessed the same thing as Donna and got it wrong.  She lost 8000.  Gene got it right and added 9201.  It appears he wagered to be in the lead if Donna doubled, even though she wasn't in third place going in!  Weird.  It wouldn't have mattered, though, because John got it right and wagered enough to beat Gene if he had wagered like he should have (in my opinion) and doubled.  Incidentally, why does John look so down all the time, even when he's done well? He's 3 for 3 on Final Jeopardy, but you'd never know it from his expression and gestures.  At any rate, his score today was 32001!  Impressive.  Can he get a fourth win?

*Brunei, Kumon, Curves, Marx Brothers, the City of Brotherly Love, Oklahoma, crater, Miss Havisham, dyslexia, Eliot Ness

Monday, July 19, 2010

A new Russian Revolution is afoot

          I kept track of my score for the first time today using Josh Horstman's chart.  I hope I did it right; my score at the end of the Jeopardy round seemed high for me.  Here is what it looked like, in case any of you are trying it at home:

     Yes, I did miss this one in Estonia that stumped all the contestants, too: "It's Estonia's capital and largest city."*  I had it in my head, but I wasn't confident enough to ring in.  Did you guys know this triple-stumper in Billboard's Top Artists?: "The 1999 Billboard Music Awards were 'One Sweet Day' for her; she was named top artist of the 1990s."* I counted these two right in Old Lunch Counter Lingo even though I didn't give complete responses (I would have if prompted, as Mr. Trebek did for Susan Neuffer in the next round.  More on that later.):
"'Bossy in a bowl' is this hearty dish containing chunks of meat and vegetables."*
"Oh, look, little Johnny is chowing down on a 'bow wow with red lead,' this favorite."*
     At the end of the Jeopardy round, Susan had 2600, Michael Muller had 3600, and one-day champ John Krizel had 6800.  Here is my Double Jeopardy round, which I feel like I need to show you because it was much worse than my first round!
     Three of the 5 clues in Art and Artists were triple-stumpers, and Susan got the other two.  She had 11200 at the end of that category, one-day champ John had 7200, and Michael had 4400. Susan had answered 6 of 11 clues correctly since Double Jeopardy began, including this Daily Double in Pick a Part that earned her 3000: "1967: Luke Jackson."* (You have to name the actor who played that role.)  As you can see on the chart, I didn't get any in Art and Artists right.  Ouch.
     Speaking of "ouch," I winced when Mr. Trebek gave Susan at least one extra chance on this clue in Mega-Events: "In 1896, more than 2000 were trampled in the stampede for free beer at the coronation of this doomed czar."*  Susan at first said, "Nicholas," then "Czar Nicholas" when Mr. Trebek asked her to be more specific.  Then Mr. Trebek had the crust to say, "There were many Czar Nicholases," a stretch anyway!  She finally said the whole answer.  I thought that was unfair, and I even thought they would fix it before Final Jeopardy, but they did not. 
     John found the second Daily Double, also the last clue of the round.  He led with 12400 while Michael had 9200 and Susan had 10400.  The category was Name the Element, and this was the clue: "Its symbol is the same 2 letters as Minnesota's postal abbreviation."*  John got it right, and added 1000 to his score.
     Here was the Final Jeopardy clue, in Men of Paris: "When the body of this man who died in 1870 was moved in 2002, a cloth with the motto 'Un pour tous, tous pour un' was used."*  I knew this right away, but wasn't sure which of two men with that name it was, or if I even needed to specify.  I didn't, and neither did the contestants, and it turns out they didn't have to.  John and Michael got it right, and Susan got it wrong.  I felt better about the "Czar Nicholas" fiasco then.  (It wasn't her fault.  She just got lucky.)   Michael wagered 9005 of his 9200, but John had been leading and wagered enough to win as long as he got it right.  John is the champion again!
     I don't hate this new way of keeping score, but the jury's still out as to whether it's better than the Jeopardy Challenger.  I will try again tomorrow!

*Mariah Carey, Tallinn, beef stew (I just said "stew"), hot dog with ketchup (I just said "hot dog"), Paul Newman, Nicholas II, manganese, Dumas

Friday, July 16, 2010

Final Jeopardy goes Pop this time

     I'm glad today is my last day of keeping track of my results by tally.  It is so uncomfortable to feel like I have to ring in in order to increase my total, when I know that is bad practice for the show!  Today I went 22/28 in the Jeopardy round (swept American Heritage Dictionary Preferred Plurals) and 16/30 in Double Jeopardy.  That seems low to me, especially because I swept "Hy" Five.  My Double Jeopardy round was about as rough as 3-day champ Van Lane's day was, overall.  At the end of the Jeopardy round, he had -400, John Krizel had 5800, and soft-spoken Leslie Williams had 3200.
     Speaking of John, he is the second person this week to resemble a tennis player.  He looks exactly like tennis player Janko Tipsarevic, but these pictures don't quite do it justice.  What do you think?:

     Van found the first Daily Double in the Double Jeopardy round in The West Indies immediately after missing this triple-stumper in the same category: "Buck Island National Monument in this U.S. territory has an underwater trail where snorkelers can view the coral."*  Van had -800 and wagered 2000 on the Daily Double.  This was the clue: "3 main groups make up the West Indies: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and this nation north of Cuba."*  He got it right.  Phew!  Van found the other Daily Double in the round, too, this time with 8000 and trailing John by 5800.  He wagered 3000 on this clue in the category Doctor Who: "...pioneered the use of carbolic acid to disinfect wounds and surgical instruments."*  He got it right again!
     By the end of Double Jeopardy, Van had 13000, John had 17800, and Leslie had 4400.  The Final Jeopardy category was No. 1 Pop Hits.  Excellent!  And I did in fact slam-dunk this clue before Mr. Trebek was done reading it: "A 1987 remake of this 1959 hit was the first song with all Spanish lyrics to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100."*  John and Leslie got it right, while Van missed it.  John, who wagered 8201, is your new champion!

*the Virgin Isles, the Bahamas, Lister, "La Bamba"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Pop" goes the Jeopardy round

     Today's Jeopardy round was a fun theme board, beginning with the category Pop Music and including such categories as Jonah's Druthers and All-American Rejects.  Did you guys know these triple-stumpers in the round?:
"Foo" Fighters: "Old-timey 10-letter term for the silly behavior exhibited by Mr. Brokaw, perhaps."*
Pop Music: "At the 2009 Grammys, her 'Still Unforgettable' won the award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album."*
Pop Music: "Their 1979 album 'Breakfast in America' featured a feast of hits like 'Take the Long Way Home.'"*
     Van Lane was back for his third game today, against two challengers with intimidating-sounding job titles: chemist (Bryn Reinecke) and professor of law (Neal Eggeson).  Van's proved his savvy the last two days, and he did today as well.  At the first break, he had 2600 more than his nearest opponent, Bryn.  He had 700 more than Bryn both at the end of the Jeopardy round and just before he swept Canadian Provinces in the Double Jeopardy round.
     I would've swept Oscars in Their Film Debuts, if it weren't for this last clue of the category, that no one else got right on the show: "Best Supporting Actress for 'On the Waterfront.'"*  Were you amazed when Neal missed this one in that category, even though he answered with that actress' name on the previous clue?: "Best Actress for 'Children of a Lesser God.'"*  Poor Neal went back down to 0 on this clue in Measure This, Trebek, and just before Mr. Trebek said there was less than a minute left in the round: "Sailors can use a basic sextant to measure this at local noon, then check navigation tables to calculate latitude."*  Unfortunately, Neal did not ring in again and could not be present for Final Jeopardy.  Van, however, got a Daily Double again in that "less-than-a-minute" remaining, and put the game out of reach for Bryn, by just 100 when all was said and done.  Here was the Final Jeopardy clue, in Famous Texts: "Tradition says the author of this work was the sage Vatsayayana; surprisingly, he was celibate."*
     Here are my scores using my Jeopardy Challenger for Tuesday and Wednesday.  (By the way, here is Saad's account of his experience on the show.):
Van Lane      Anne Anglim      Saad Hasan      Me
   22500               16600              17200       28800

Chris Dungan    Victoria Rduch    Van Lane    Me
   10200                 18000              22511      3200

     Today I kept track of my scores with tally marks, like I did during Kids' Week.  It occurs to me that when I keep track with tally marks (and not with the Challenger), there is no penalty for an incorrect guess, like there would be on the show. I like doing it, but I'm thinking I should stop because it's not what someone should do if they're actually on the show.
     I asked on the Jeopardy! message boards how people have been keeping track of their scores at home.  In the interest of becoming a better player and learning from like-minded fans of the show, I have (rather timidly) done some poking around there.  I am nervous because I have a lot of questions, but it feels difficult to break in with questions that have surely been answered in this already-established discussion. (The answers would be impossible to find, of course!) I asked my questions thinking that it might benefit another newcomer, too, and someone did, in fact, suggest reading more before asking what I had deemed a "lame" question.  I have to admit it shook me up, even though the person was not mean at all.  I even thought I would not be back.  But I am now, and I haven't had any more problems.
     At any rate, "BigDaddyJ" (Josh Horstman of Indianapolis, Indiana) kindly responded with a chart that he created for the purpose of keeping track of scores at home, as well as a link to an explanation of "Coryat" scoring.  (I know the article is long, but I think it will be worthwhile for people who want to be on the show.)  One advantage I can immediately see is that it will be easier to see when I've swept a category.  I'm going to keep a tally of my correct questions one more time tomorrow, and try the new way beginning next week.  If you guys try his chart, I'd love to hear what you think of it.  Thank you again to Josh!
*tomfoolery, Natalie Cole, Supertramp, Eva Marie Saint, Marlee Matlin, altitude, the Kama Sutra

Monday, July 12, 2010

Baum-ing out in 1920s Lit

     All last week, I kept track of how many clues I get in each round right.  Today, on a whim, I decided to do it again today as the first clue was being read.  (I don't keep track of my score via the Challenger on nights that I am able to blog.)  I did about as well as I did on a few of the Kids Weeks rounds: 17/27 in the Jeopardy round, and 18/29 in the Double Jeopardy round, thanks to sweeping TV Adjectives.
     There were two clues in 1920s Lit that I was surprised didn't get answered correctly.  First, for 400: "He had more than 2 dozen works published in the 1920s, including 7 Tarzan novels."*  The second was a Daily Double that Saad Hasan found: "In 1920, he published 'Glinda of Oz,' a story about the impending war between the Flatheads and the Skeeters."*  Saad lost 1000 on it and moved into second place, but I'd say he more than made up for it on the next clue, again in 1920s Lit: "Dr. Paul de Kruif, author of 'Microbe Hunters,' was a consultant for this Sinclair Lewis novel."*  Did you guys know any of these?
     When 1-day champ Aaron Wicks found the first Daily Double of Double Jeopardy only three clues in, he wagered all of his 3400.  He had just moved into the lead over Barbara Gayle's 3000 and Saad's 3200.  The category was Just a Bill on Capitol Hill (I'm gonna have that song in my head for a while, but I kind of like it!).  The clue: "He reached the Hill in 1979, after stops in Princeton, Oxford, and the NBA."*  Aaron (and I) got it right!
     At Final Jeopardy, Aaron led with 15600, Saad had 14400, and Barbara had 9400.  The category was Actors: "With 5 each, these 2 men have the most acting Oscar nominations among African-American performers."*  There were three actors in my mind that could have met these qualifications, and indeed all three of them were mentioned.  I didn't think of one of the correct answers until the very last second, but I ditched the other right answer in favor of one that was wrong.  Only Saad, who wagered 8300, got the correct response on the show.  His reaction to winning reminded me of Andy Murray.  What do you think; separated at birth?: 

     Reminder: I'm interviewing 2010 Tournament of Champions winner Vijay Balse.  This is your chance to pick the brain of a Jeopardy! powerhouse!  Tell me what you want to know from him!
     And because I can't resist, here is my favorite clue of the day, in Bummer to Bummer Traffic Report: "I-80 is backed up in this state; plan ahead if you're heading to Kearney airport."*

*Edgar Rice Burroughs, L. Frank Baum, 'Arrowsmith,' Bill Bradley, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, Nebraska

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Interview with Vijay Balse, coming soon!

     Great news - Vijay Balse, winner of the 2010 Tournament of Champions, has agreed to be interviewed for this blog!  He earned more than $80,000 as a 4-time champion in his regular episodes, and he beat the heavy-hitters of season 26 for another $250,000 at the Tournament of Champions.  Clearly he knows what he's doing, so if you want to be on the show someday and you have any questions for him, send them to me via a comment here, e-mail (, or Twitter (@vamosdavid).
     Kids Week wrapped up on Friday.  I'm thankful that it's one week instead of the two that most other Jeopardy! tournaments are.  I didn't make my goal of getting every question correct.  My best result of the week was 27/30.  Did you guys try it, and if so, how did you do?  I did go 5/5 on Final Jeopardy, though, and yesterday's was a triple-stumper.  In Books for Kids: "In Wonderland, Alice comes upon a mad tea-party attended by the hatter, march hare, and this creature, who's asleep."*
     I was a little bummed when on Wednesday's episode the contestants went to the spelling category last.  I rejoice when that category comes up!  They needn't have worried; there were no triple-stumpers, unlike in the last category they chose on Tuesday, Radio Disney, which had four.  The first clue I missed Wednesday was this one in What's for Lunch?: "How about some Middle East fast food?  This sandwich of fried chickpea balls and tahini sauce."*  (And I won't make a joke about feeling awful for missing it!)
     Next week, we are back to regular episodes! 

*the dormouse, falafel

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

He's no Jack Kennedy

     This week is Kids Week (not "Back-to-School Week" as I had been referring to it).  Instead of keeping score with my Challenger, I've been trying to answer all the clues right in any round.  I haven't been successful yet.  I went 20/27 in Monday's Jeopardy round, and 26/30 in the Double Jeopardy round.  I was perfect until this clue that I'm embarrassed to have missed, in George Washington: "It's the large northeastern city where George was first inaugurated, as Washington D.C. hadn't been built yet."*  I felt better somehow when I missed the next one, too, in Tell Us of Television: "Kitchen mates Mung Daal and Shnitzel cook up adventures for this title cartoon network guy."*  Maybe I should not count answers like this one that will never ever come up on the regular episodes?  Still, I think it would be cool to be 30/30 at least once.  Did you guys notice that even the kids went to the Radio Disney category last in the Jeopardy round on Tuesday, and they were triple-stumped by at least 3 of them?  (I say at least because the 400 clue mysteriously vanished from my recording, and doesn't have the game on their site as this is being published.)
     On Tuesday, I missed 4 or 5 in the Jeopardy round, depending on whether you'd count my answer of "buds" on this clue in Parts of Peach: "These parts of peach tree grow at nodes along the shoots of the previous season's growth; they're usually pink."*  I was perfect until I got carried away dreaming of a title for this entry in case I stayed perfect.  I wouldn't have otherwise missed this one, also in Parts of Peach:  "If this part of a peach is downy or fuzzy, the fruit's called a peach; if it's smooth, a nectarine."*  My score was 27/30 in Double Jeopardy, my best for the week so far.  I'm 2/2 on Final Jeopardy this week. 
     Was anyone else disheartened and surprised when no one could identify this man at the end of Tuesday's Double Jeopardy round?:
     I can only imagine what guest-blogger (and Canadian) Brian would say about this!  Here is the clue that went with it, in the category See and Say: "Say the name of this man you see shaking hands with the premier of China."*  Andrea Salt guessed Nixon while Will Walters guessed JFK.  Will dominated throughout the game, though.  At the end of Double Jeopardy he had 30000 to Ethan Waldman's 11400 and Andrea's 1600.  Only Andrea got Final Jeopardy right of the three, but Will was more concerned that he forgot to put a question mark at the end of his (incorrect) question.  Here was the clue, in Historic Women: "She was born in Virginia around 1596 and died in Kent, England in 1617."*  Will wagered a dollar.  His total of 29999 was higher than Surabhi Iyer's total of 23001 on Monday. 

*New York City, Chowder, flowers or blossoms, the skin, Reagan, Pocahontas

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tennis, anyone?

     Naturally I was very excited to see the category Wimbledon in the Jeopardy round.  I was just there!  I wanted to sweep, and I would have if not for this $800 clue: "This sport is attached to the name of the club that sponsors Wimbledon, though activities are confined to tennis."*  I did sweep New Testament Quotes, and my dad told me he did, too.
     I was amused when Mr. Trebek said during Aaron Wicks' interview that he's gotten letters from people who say they will not answer the phone during Jeopardy!  Is that really that unusual for a Jeopardy! fan?  I mean, it doesn't seem extreme to me.  What do you think?  I won't let anyone speak to me during Jeopardy!, unless they're playing along.  Aaron said he will not answer the phone during Hawaii Five-O, a show I've never seen.
     At the end of Double Jeopardy, 1-day champ Dave Edwards had 9000, Aaron had 19800, and Kim had 6000.  You can see it was a runaway, but it didn't really feel like one.  The Final Jeopardy category was 5-Letter Literary Terms.  I thought since the category was so narrow, the clue was going to be really tough.  Here it is: "The 'History' by Herodotus has been called the earliest surviving European work of this form, from Latin for 'straightforward.'"*  The correct answer did cross my mind, but I just kept returning to "novel," even though I was taught that Don Quixote is the first novel, and I was almost sure that "novel" didn't mean "straightforward."  Dave got it right, the second day that he got the Final and no one else did.  Aaron, of course, wagered enough to secure his win even if Dave had doubled his score.   
     Next week is Back-to-School Week on Jeopardy!  I hate to say this because I love Jeopardy! so much, but I dread Back-to-School Week.  (Those clues!)  I've been wringing my hands for quite some time about what to do on the blog next week, but I have it figured out now:  Several years ago, I asked my sister if she'd give me $5 if I answered all the clues in a round, and she said she would.  I didn't do it, but I've tried ever since.  I always seem to get tripped up by some kid pop culture thing that is way out there to me, like shows on the Disney Channel or something.  Anyway, that is what I'll do next week instead of keeping track of my scores.  I hope you will try it too and let me know how you do!  As for this week, I don't have my scores with me from the two games I played, but they were both wins.  (No more losses!)

*croquet, prose


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