Be Like Ike

Celeb winner continues his Tournament of Champions run

Published March 10, 2024

Welcome back to my weekly rundown from the world of Jeopardy!

The Tournament of Champions is in full swing this week, featuring the final three quarterfinals and the first two semifinals, as we get closer to determining our $250,000 champion.

Each heading contains a link to my daily write-up over at The Jeopardy! Fan

31st Tournament of Champions, Quarterfinal #7, Monday, Mar. 4

Season 1 Celebrity champion Ike Barinholtz took command by converting a True Daily Double early in Double Jeopardy. But Melissa Klapper wasn’t to be outdone; she jumped into the lead two-thirds of the way through with $8,000 on her own Daily Double. Meanwhile, 13-day champ Ray Lalonde picked up a number of correct responses late in the round to pull within $1,000 of Ike’s second-place score going into Final Jeopardy. In all there were 10 lead changes through the two rounds, with each player leading at some point.

Final Jeopardy was in Poets of Ancient Rome: Far from Rome, this first century poet wrote, “The leader’s anger done, grant me the right to die in my native country.” Both Ray and Ike remembered Ovid’s exile, but Melissa guessed Juvenal; in a shocking upset victory, Ike Barinholtz advanced to Thursday’s semifinal.

Quarterfinal #8, Tuesday, Mar. 5

Things settled down on Tuesday, with Ben Chan taking a lead on the third clue of the game that he would not relinquish. Emmett Stanton tried to catch up with a True Daily Double early in Double Jeopardy, but an incorrect response dropped him to $0 and, he did not make Final Jeopardy. Meanwhile, Justin Bolsen made it into five-figure territory, but it wasn’t enough to keep Ben from a runaway victory: the nine-time champ had nearly $30,000 going into Final Jeopardy.

Chemical Elements was that category: Isolated in 1945 during uranium fission research, it was named for an ancient deity to suggest humans gaining a new power. Ben crossed out the correct response—promethium–joining Justin in guessing thorium. It didn’t matter, though: Ben advanced to Thursday’s semifinal.

Quarterfinal #9, Wednesday, Mar. 6

The normalcy continued Wednesday’s semifinal, as six-time Jeopardy! champion (and four-time LearnedLeague champion) Troy Meyer took on Deb Bilodeau and Sean McShane. Troy dominated in this one, getting in on 56% of his buzz attempts and picking up $15,800 on a pair of Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy, en route to an astounding $30,000 lead over Deb going into Final Jeopardy.

There, they encountered American Literary History: “The country is celebrating 100 years of freedom 100 years too soon,” says “The Fire Next Time,” published in this year. Troy put an exclamation mark on an absolutely dominant performance by being the only player to come up with 1963 (James Baldwin was referring to the centenary of the Emancipation Proclamation.) We’ll see him tomorrow, in the third semifinal.

Semifinal #1, Thursday, Mar. 7

Ben Chan and Jared Watson got off to the best start; each amassing more than $6,000 in the Jeopardy round. Things turned very interesting in Double Jeopardy, though–especially after Jared missed a True Daily Double, giving Ben a $10,000 lead over Ike Barinholtz. Ike made the most of his ascent to second places, getting seven correct responses, including two at the $2,000 level. By the time Final Jeopardy rolled around, Ike was just inside of two-thirds of Ben’s score. Might another upset be on the cards?

The players had to contend with Ancient Drama: From the 470s B.C., Aeschylus’ earliest surviving work has this title; he’d fought them repeatedly in the preceding years. No one named The Persians, so the first finals spot came down to wagering; had Ike bet $0, as the situation called for, he would be a finalist. But alas, he went all-in, sending Ben through to the final. Regardless, the celebrity champion 100% proved that he deserved his place in the tournament.

Semifinal #2, Friday, Mar. 8

Friday’s semifinal began as a battle between Yogesh Raut and Emily Sands; Emily led at the interviews, but Yogesh took the lead by the second commercial break. Double Jeopardy saw Emily find both Daily Doubles; unfortunately, though, an incorrect response on the first one cost her her entire $7,600 score. Meanwhile, Yogesh picked up four correct responses at the $2,000 level—among his 11 correct in Double Jeopardy—as he cruised to a runaway position after Double Jeopardy. Both Emily and Yogesh were so dominant on the buzzer that David Sibley was successful only 32% of the time himself.

Final Jeopardy was in Literature & Religion: This city now in Turkey is the addressee of one of the New Testament epistles & the setting for “The Comedy of Errors.” Though he didn’t need to, Yogesh knew that Shakespeare set The Comedy of Errors in Ephesus; we’ll see him next week in the finals.

Other notes from the week:

Next week we’ll have the third semifinal on Monday—between Luigi de Guzman, Troy Meyer, and Brian Henegar—followed by at least the start of the first-to-three wins final. If that final is a three-game sweep, then on Friday we’ll see the beginning of the first-ever Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament, featuring 27 greats of the past competing for a spot in Season 2 of Jeopardy! Masters. (Otherwise, JIT will begin the following week.)

Andy Saunders covers Jeopardy! daily as site administrator for The Jeopardy! Fan. He is also a founding archivist of The J! Archive. His weekly recap appears at Questionist every Sunday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *