‘Wheel of Fortune’: One Contestant Failed to Solve Three Consecutive Puzzles in 2009

by Josh Lanier

Sometimes it’s just not your day. Luckily, someone didn’t broadcast your bad day on television. But that wasn’t the case for one Wheel of Fortune contestant who missed three puzzles in a single game in 2009.

Kevin was left holding the bag three separate times after missing the puzzle but only by a single letter or word. And had to watch as the next contestant scooped up the prize money after he’d loosened the pickle jar, as it were. Host Pat Sajak even joked about it after the third wrong answer.

“Well the good news is you won $8,750,” Sajak deadpanned to the winning contestant, “but the bad news is we’re giving it to Kevin.”

It’s a tough watch. Even the crowd is pulling for him at the end. You can hear the heartbreak as the crowd realizes his mistake before Sajak even points it out.

Kevin’s first missed puzzle was Elevated Train Platform. He said “elevator.” The second was Dancing on Air Jordan, for some reason he thought it was “Dangling on Air Jordan” when the letters were already DAN__ING. And lastly, his missed Butterscotch Cookies. In fairness, his answer of “Butterscotch Candies” would have fit and worked. But it just wasn’t Kevin’s night.

Kevin, however, took it all in stride. Every time his opponent got it correct after he’d gotten it wrong, he high-fived them and cheered their success.

At least Sajak didn’t laugh at him.

Sajak Couldn’t Stop Laughing at Bad Puzzle Answer

During an interview with the Archive of American Television, Pat Sajak admitted there was a Wheel of Fortune guess so bad it took him 20 minutes to stop laughing.

“We had a guy once … The puzzle was “Styrofoam Cup,” Sajaks said. “Don’t ask me why this was funny.”

“Styrofoam was pretty much spelled out, and everyone knew that’s what it was. But there were three blank letters on the bottom,” he continued. “And the guy said ‘I’ll solve the puzzle!’ And he said ‘Styrofoam Hat‘”

At this point, hostess Vanna White was already laughing at the memory, which she clearly recalled, too.

“And for some reason, the word ‘hat’… It took me twenty minutes to regain my composure! I don’t know why!” Sajak said, as he and White both cracked up laughing. “I don’t know why, but ‘Styrofoam Hat’? Of all the things you could make with styrofoam!”

“That one got you,” White said, smiling.

“Hat’s a funny word!” Sajak offered, crossing his arms.