Diamonds semifinalists do some Final Jeopardy pond-hopping

Published November 5, 2023

Welcome back to my weekly rundown from the world of Jeopardy! This week saw six episodes: Monday through Friday in syndication, the Diamonds bracket of Fall 2023’s Champions Wildcard continued, while Wednesday evening on ABC saw Celebrity Jeopardy‘s sixth quarterfinal.

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

Quarterfinal #7 – Monday, Oct. 30

T.J. Tallie’s struggles with a category about actors who have played The Joker—they guessed Heath Ledger incorrectly twice—led to some early hilarity. Still, it did not prevent them from picking up 27 correct responses throughout Monday’s game, leading to an easy runaway victory over Sarah Reza and Jay Foster.

Final Jeopardy, in Driving the USA: It’s the state with the most miles of Interstate highway, more than 3,200; one Interstate accounts for 1/4 of that mileage. The Californians—T.J. and Jay—stayed in their home state and were incorrect. Marylander Sarah earned bragging rights, if nothing else, by correctly naming Texas; T.J.’s runaway put them in the semifinals.

Quarterfinal #8 – Tuesday, Oct. 31

Fresh off a Second Chance victory a few weeks ago, Hari Parameswaran wasn’t fazed by losing all of his $7,600 on a Daily Double early in Double Jeopardy; he picked up a fresh $17,200 over the final 28 clues of the round to re-take the lead over Aaron Craig and Katie Hargrove.

The week’s first very-British Final Jeopardy was in the Name’s the Same category: This first name is shared by a character introduced in 1941 & a member of royalty who is sixth in line to the British throne. None of the players could name Archie—of comics fame and the first son of the Duke & Duchess of Sussex, respectively. Aaron Craig must have foreseen this outcome, becoming a surprise semifinalist thanks to his savvy small bet of $3,202.

Quarterfinal #9 – Wednesday, Nov. 1

Dave Rapp—our second Mohawked contestant, after T.J. on Monday—was languishing in third place, $12,000 off the lead, with seven clues to go. But a Daily Double was still waiting to be found, and Dave successfully doubled up on the third-to-last clue to jump into the lead over Dana Hill and Nancy Donehower.

This Final Jeopardy brought us back to America with 21st Century Presidential Elections: It was the first election since 1952 in which neither the incumbent President nor the incumbent Vice President was a candidate. In the first quasi-repeated Final Jeopardy of the WGA strike (a very similar clue was given in 2015), only Dave correctly named the 2008 election between senators Obama and McCain, advancing to the semifinals.

Semifinal #1 – Thursday, Nov. 2

Fans hoping for a Mohawk Match were immediately disappointed by Thursday’s episode, as Dave was paired not with T.J. , but Emily Sands and Yoshie Hill. Emily converted both Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy for a combined $10,000, securing a lock game.

The Final Jeopardy crisscrossing of the Atlantic continued today, in Ancient Geography: Britain became an island less than 10,000 years ago, as warming weather & melting ice filled in this sea. Yoshie joined Emily in naming the North Sea in a Final that didn’t matter; Emily secured the first berth in next week’s finals.

Semifinal #2 – Friday, Nov. 3

The last game of the week was a game of two halves. There were four Triple Stumpers in the first round, compared to nine in the second; T.J. Tallie, Leah Wiegand, and Aaron Craig combined for just $4,200 in Double Jeopardy. Leah found herself in a very tough Daily Double betting position, having to bet from a tie with Aaron on the 27th of the round’s 30 clues; she lost $5,000 on her incorrect response, allowing Aaron to cement a runaway on the final clue.

Final Jeopardy finally stayed put in Old Blighty, with the category British History: At Leicester Cathedral in March 2015, the Archbishop of Canterbury led a religious ceremony for this deceased English monarch. Unfortunately, our players didn’t remember the discovery of Richard III’s bones in a Leicester car park, as the week ended on a Triple Stumper. (T.J. at least amused the fans with a callback to Monday’s Heath Ledger incident.)

Some fans online didn’t enjoy Aaron’s celebrations. I’m honestly befuddled by these online naysayers. What normal human being wouldn’t be happy about winning a game of Jeopardy!, much less in a tournament?

Celebrity Jeopardy! Quarterfinal #6 – Wednesday, Nov. 1

The Celebrity Jeopardy tournament continued on Wednesday, with the sixth of nine quarterfinals; this one was between Peter Facinelli (Carlisle in the Twilight movies), Sheryl Underwood (The Talk), and Dulé Hill (The West Wing and The Wonder Years). Without much trivia or Jeopardy! experience to speak of for any of our players, who knew what to expect?

This was an enjoyable game if you like people being funny. It was less enjoyable if you like watching people play Jeopardy well—this game saw 25 total incorrect responses and 24 Triple Stumpers. Even Ken was getting his quips in: after the $1,000 clue, wherein John Cage’s “4’33” went for a silent Triple Stumper, Ken remarked, “I think we just heard some of his work.”

Dulé had a strong Triple Jeopardy round, though, picking up 13 correct responses to build a runaway going into the Final Jeopardy in Play Titles: This 1959 play’s title was taken from a Langston Hughes poem that begins, “What happens to a dream deferred?” Dulé’s Celebrity Jeopardy chances did not dry up like A Raisin in the Sun—both he and Sheryl responded correctly, and he’ll be moving on to the semifinals in the new year. Sheryl’s Pack Rat Foundation for Education and Peter’s charity, the American Red Cross, will get $30,000 apiece. Dulé, playing for All Rise, could still win $1 million for his charity.

Other notes from the week:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 8 is the third anniversary of Alex Trebek’s passing from pancreatic cancer; Alex’s widow Jean, in conjunction with Stand Up To Cancer, has launched the Alex Trebek Fund to accelerate critical research with the goal of better treating pancreatic cancer.
  • The “repeat category” count saw 56 of the 60 main-game categories repeated from past games.

Next week, Celebrity Jeopardy will take a week off so that ABC can broadcast the CMA Awards. The syndicated show will have the last three episodes of Champions Wildcard Diamonds (which are the last three episodes taped during the WGA strike); post-strike episodes start Thursday with the beginning of the Clubs bracket.

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 *