‘Wheel of Fortune’: Pat Sajak Reveals How ‘Toss Up’ Puzzles Work

by Leanne Stahulak

“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak is here to answer all your burning game show questions. After all, he has been hosting the longtime show for almost four decades.

Even though the show received a new look this season, the gameplay has changed very little in recent years. So, that means contestants still compete in a Toss Up Round, which happens near the end of the game. The contestants receive one category and multiple puzzles to solve in a certain amount of time. To help solve these puzzles, the show provides random letters in the puzzle to help the contestants guess in time.

The official “Wheel of Fortune” Instagram account posted a video earlier that shows Sajak explaining these rules with co-host Vanna White. The post’s caption reads, “If you’re interested in how the Toss Up puzzles work, Pat’s got you covered!”

“In the toss up, when the letters come up one at a time,” Sajak begins.

“Randomly, yes?” White cuts in.

“And they are random, we don’t have any control over that,” Sajak continues. “The computer is programmed to randomize the letters so we don’t know what order they’re coming up in.”

This could make the puzzle that much harder or easier for contestants to solve if key letters show up in key places right at the beginning of the puzzle. Each puzzle a contestant solves earns them $2,000, though if one person solves all three, they get an extra $4,000 bonus for $10,000 total for the round.

Sometimes contestants solve these Toss Up Puzzles super quickly, and sometimes we see what’s called a “stumper.” But you’d be surprised how many “Wheel of Fortune contestants pull out an incredible puzzle solution at the last minute.

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Contestant Stuns Hosts With Epic Puzzle Solve

It’s not every day you see “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak stunned speechless. But that’s exactly what happened in this throwback episode that the game show posted on their official Instagram page.

The contestant faced the Bonus Round, with 10 seconds on the board and this horrendously difficult puzzle to solve: NE* **** *****.

“It’s a thing. You’re a very good puzzle solver, but I don’t know. You have 10 seconds. Good luck,” Sajak told him.

Almost immediately, the contestant blurted out, “New baby buggy.” When nothing happened, he kept trying different answers. But a second or two later, his first guess popped up on the board. Even the “Wheel of Fortune” crew couldn’t believe he’d gotten it right so quickly.

As the contestant and audience screamed, Sajak stood there in stunned silence, an incredulous look on his face. See his reaction for yourself below.