‘Jeopardy!’: Question About Legendary American Author Costs English Teacher the Game in Final Jeopardy

by Chris Haney

On Thursday night, the reigning Jeopardy! champion was likely kicking herself for her incorrect Final Jeopardy! answer, which cost her the game.

Sandy Olive, a teacher from St. Louis, was on a two-episode win streak before yesterday. The Lindbergh High School teacher led all contestants by $5,000 going into the final round last night. Yet final clue within the “American Authors” category didn’t go so well for Olive.

Guest host Savannah Guthrie read aloud the players’ final clue of the day. “‘Camelot’, ‘The Pilgrims’ and ‘A Postscript by Clarence’ are chapters in a classic novel by this author,” she read.

Since Olive was up by $5,000, she seemed to be in total control of the game. She wagered enough of her earnings to top her fellow Jeopardy! competitors, but unfortunately she named the wrong author. Olive responded to the clue with an answer of “Who is Nathaniel Hawthorne?” However, she chose the wrong writer from the 1800s. Instead she should have thought of her fellow Missourian Mark Twain.

The incorrect answer dropped Olive’s total and cost her a third win in a row. Yet it’s not all bad for her. The contestant did walk away with $52,200 from her previous two days on the game show. You can’t complain about earning that kind of money in such a short time and having fun on Jeopardy! while you’re at it.

‘Jeopardy!’ Takes Fans ‘Beyond the Clue’ After Tough Final Round

On Tuesday night, Jeopardy! presented its contestants with a tough final clue, which the game show chose to explain further in an Instagram post. The clue stumped one contestant who missed out by just one letter, but the mistake allowed previously mentioned Sandy Olive to win her first episode.

Jeopardy! shared a further explanation in a series they call “Beyond The Clue.” The posts aid fans in giving more context to some of the game show’s more difficult clues. For the final clue on Tuesday, the show shared an answer based on Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. For those that may not realize, it’s the sequel to Carroll’s 1865 classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Most should at least remember the 1951 animated Disney movie Alice in Wonderland, which is based on Carroll’s book. Since the sequel isn’t as well-known though, many likely don’t know some of Through the Looking-Glass‘s characters. In the book, Carroll includes a nonsensical poem-within-a-novel about a monster named the Jabberwock.

Although similar, the monster isn’t to be confused with the poem’s title “Jabberwocky.” Unfortunately, one contestant learned that the hard way in the final round. They wrote down the poem’s name ending with a “Y” instead of Jabberwock, and Jeopardy! ruled the answer incorrect.

“With words like frumious, vorpal, and slithy, Lewis Carroll had a knack for making up nonsensical words that stuck in his poem-within-a-novel, ‘Jabberwocky.’ In fact, several of the ‘meaningless’ words Carroll coined in ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ went on to become actual dictionary words, including the poem’s title itself, ‘Jabberwocky,’ and others like bandersnatch, chortle, frabjous, and galumph,” Jeopardy! wrote on Instagram.

“And for those stumped by today’s Final Jeopardy! Clue: while the poem’s title is “Jabberwocky,” the dreadful monster that the boy overcomes is actually called “the Jabberwock,” the account added.