Prize puzzles on Wheel of Fortune are always more nerve-wracking because, on top of winning cash, contestants also get the chance to win a vacation to a luxurious destination. So, of course, the competition during these puzzles is even more fierce than usual. Not that you would be able to tell. From host Pat Sajak’s genial demeanor the constant smiles of the contestants, the show always has a lighthearted air. Deep inside, though, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Prize Puzzle made competitors a bit more nervous.
Recently, Wheel of Fortune posted a show recap clip of a past Prize Puzzle. In the video, contestant Sandy O’Toole is just getting down to the last letters on the board. With only five blank spaces remaining, she already has a good shot at securing the win. She just has to figure out that last hyphenated word.
The Wheel of Fortune contestant buys a “U” and suddenly gasps.
“Buy another one?” host Pat Sajak inquired.
“No, I would like to solve the puzzle,” O’Toole said excitedly. But before she could, Sajak gave her a moment to collect her thoughts.
“Wait, wait, okay,” the host exclaimed, “Take a little breath and go ahead and solve it.”
Surely, with all of O’Toole’s energy, Sajak didn’t want her to make a small mistake that would cost her the win. As Wheel watchers know, if a contestant adds any words or mispronounces the answer, they lose their chance. So, after taking Sajak’s advice, O’Toole confidently gave her answer.
“Meet Me at the Swim-Up Bar.”
With that, O’Toole added $2,300 to her bank account plus a trip to Puerto Rico. Of course, in honor of her win on Wheel of Fortune, the contestant would have to visit a swim-up bar of her own once at the resort.
‘Wheel of Fortune’ Contestant Just Barely Loses the Game
Regardless of how the rest of the game turned out, the Wheel of Fortune contestant, Sandy O’Toole, had to be thrilled with her winnings already. After all, a tropical trip to Puerto Rico beaches is nothing to complain about.
However, O’Toole must have felt a little sting of regret once she found out she lost by just $86. Unfortunately, her competitor, Bettina O’Mara, had her beat with $12,000 in her bank, while O’Toole had only $11,915.
Part of the reason she fell behind her competitor was because of pesky back-to-back bankrupts in two separate puzzles. In “What Are You Doing” and Crossword Puzzles, O’Toole started strong with great guesses and even better spins. Unfortunately, both times, she lost her good luck and impressive winnings when the ticker landed on that dreaded black space. Had she avoided bankruptcy, O’Toole surely would have won Wheel of Fortune.