‘Wheel of Fortune’: Contestant Loses Over Crossword Category Technicality and Fans Are Demanding a Rule Change

by Emily Morgan

“Wheel of fortune” may be one of the most beloved game shows of all time, but one of its rules has fans extremely annoyed.

On Wednesday night’s episode, “Wheel,” fans got to see the game’s most disliked element reveal itself: the dreaded crossword puzzle. Even though the show has existed for decades, the crossword puzzle format didn’t come into play until 2016.

Since then, one rule has haunted both the contestants and fans. On Wednesday’s episode, David Pederson became the latest contestant to be a victim of the rule.

If you’re not familiar with it, the crossword is a categorical list, typically consisting of four words. When contestants answer, they are forbidden to say “and” before the last word. When you think about how often you use the word “and” in your daily life, it’s a no-brainer that the rule is ridiculously hard. Moreso, even if you correctly solve the puzzle, the use of the conjunction will cost you your winnings.

Unfortunately for Pederson, he tragically answered, “Soul, Flounder, Cod and Catfish.” In response, Pat Sajak replied, “No, sorry. That’s not right.” As a result, another contestant solved the puzzle without the “and.” Pederson basically gave his competitor the answer.

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Fans Furious Over Crossword Rule

Afterward, “Wheel of Fortune” fans took to social media to air out their grievances surrounding the rule. Needless to say, fans were not happy.

“Wheel of Fortune’s draconian rule where you lose if you add ‘and’ to the crossword puzzle has to go,” one user wrote on Twitter.

“I wish they’d get rid of the ‘don’t add anything’ rule for the @WheelofFortune crossword rounds. So upsetting when they accidentally say ‘and.’ @patsajak @TheVannaWhite,” another person added.

“Why don’t you have the ‘and’ symbol in the puzzle then people could say ‘and’ and not lose their money,” someone else said.

However, Pederson isn’t the first contestant to lose his winnings on a technicality. In 2019, contestant Kristen Shaw made the same mistake during the crossword puzzle segment. The silly rule cost Shaw $1,950 and a trip to Nashville, worth more than $8,000.

“Our long-standing rule is that in order to have a correct puzzle solve, a contestant must say only what is on the board without adding words,” a “Wheel of Fortune” spokesperson said at the time “Contestants are thoroughly briefed prior to the show, and Pat often reminds them of this rule when solving a puzzle in this particular category.”

However, it wasn’t a total loss for Pederson. He ended up leaving with $1,000.