‘Wheel of Fortune’: Contestant Who Lost on Small Technicality Chimes in on Rule Change Debate

by Emily Morgan

Former “Wheel of Fortune” contestant David Petersen recently spoke out after losing big money due to a minor, long-standing technicality.

During the crossword, Peterson lost all his winnings after including “and.” Since 2016, when contestants compete in a crossword, they’re not allowed to use conjunctions. The show added in the dreaded crossword in 2016. After Peterson’s unfortunate mistake, many “Wheel of Fortune” fans are calling for the show to remove the technicality.

Now, Peterson is giving his two cents on the game show controversy. “I asked Pat [Sajak] to solve it. As I went to solve the puzzle, of course, he says every time, ‘Do not add anything.’ Well, he says this, you hear it, but the number one thing I’m focused on is pronouncing the words correctly,” Petersen told Fox News.

According to a spokesperson for “Wheel of Fortune,” the show warns the contestants of the pesky rule before they play. “Our long-standing rule is that in order to have a correct puzzle solve, a contestant must say exactly what is on the board. This applies to all puzzle categories, including the ‘Crossword’ category,” the spokesperson said. “Contestants are thoroughly briefed prior to the show. Also, in this particular category, Pat often volunteers a reminder of this rule when contestants solve a puzzle.”

Peterson on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Loss: Nothing Unfair About What Happened

Petersen admits that when he watched from home, he would often wonder how anyone could make such a mistake. Yet, Peterson believes that once you get on set, the experience becomes overwhelming.

“It’s such a natural part of the English syntax that we use. Even our elementary school teachers taught us to put the word ‘and’ in between the last two items of a list of items,” he added. “You literally have to voluntarily turn off that English language syntax that we’ve been trained in for years.”

Despite losing on such a silly technicality, Petersen is being a good sport about it. “I do not deserve to win that ‘Wheel of Fortune’ money prize for attempting to solve the crossword puzzle,” he said. “The rules stated during my game that you cannot add anything and I added the word ‘and.’ There’s nothing unfair about what happened. It’s a rule.”

However, Petersen still brought home $1,000 in prize money. He revealed that he gave a portion of it to his daughter. His daughter encouraged him to be on the show and added that sharing something with her was all he wanted.