Ups and Downs

Two clinch advancement as quarters near an end

Published May 12, 2024

Welcome to a weekly recap of the three episodes of Jeopardy! Masters!

Victoria Groce and Yogesh Raut entered the week with three points each after their wins in the season premiere on May 1, while Mattea Roach and James Holzhauer had one point apiece. Matt Amodio and Amy Schneider had yet to score.

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

Monday, May 6, Game 1:

Of Matt, Mattea, and James, it was Matt who jumped out to an early advantage, getting to 10,000 points after 11 clues—punctuated with a correct Daily Double on Haydn’s Surprise Symphony. But James came roaring back in Double Jeopardy, converting both Daily Doubles for a total of 28,400. Despite Matt’s impressive 19,200 points in regular play, James secured the tournament’s third straight runaway with an astounding 45,200. Meanwhile, Mattea had just 29% buzzer success, and ended with 5,600.

20th Century Leaders was the lame-duck Final Jeopardy category: 1 of the “Big Four” at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference & a former journalist, he’d supported the Impressionists & Alfred Dreyfus. Everyone named the French leader, Georges Clemeanceau, as James moved to 4 points overall and Matt got on the board with 1.

Monday, May 6, Game 2:

Of May 1’s two winners, Victoria got off to the best start here, picking up half the clues and the Daily Double en route to 12,400 points. Amy hit a Daily Double on the first clue of Double Jeopardy, but Victoria’s momentum was barely stunted; she picked up another 14, including a 13,000-point final Daily Double, to rack up 41,000 overall. While Yogesh and Amy were both in five figures—Yogesh with 11,800 points and Amy 10,200—this game was all Victoria.

With the second-place match point still in play, Final Jeopardy was in 20th Century Writers: Becoming a British subject in 1927, he described himself as a classicist in literature, royalist in politics & Anglo-Catholic in religion. That description matches American-English writer T.S. Eliot. Both Amy and Yogesh knew that, with Yogesh picking up the single point for second.

Wednesday, May 8, Game 1:

Yogesh dominated the early going, successfully buzzing on 70% of his attempts; however, most of his correct responses were on low-value clues, and he led Amy by just 800 points after the Jeopardy round. Matt found the Daily Double on his opening pick of Double Jeopardy, and his correct response put all three players within 1,000 points with half a game to play. But later in the round, Yogesh’s 15,400-point True Daily Double put him on a runaway path for a total of seven match points; Amy sat second over Matt, with an opportunity to take a match point at last.

Final Jeopardy was in The Theater: This show debuted December 20, 1879 in a theater on the Devon coast, with the cast in costume from a related show. The Pirates of Penzance reused costumes from HMS Pinafore; though Matt also got it right, Amy got that all-important first point.


Wednesday, May 8, Game 2:

Victoria and James faced off for the first time, nearly matching each other in the correct-response department, but a shocking incorrect True Daily Double from James forced the self-described “final boss of Jeopardy!” to rebuild from zero. From there, James got the second Daily Double, then Victoria doubled up to 28,000 points a few seconds later. Undaunted, James got six of the final 15 clues correct; Victoria retained the lead, but for the first time in six games, the winner would be decided in Final Jeopardy. (Mattea, um, also played.)

Famous Last Words was the apt final clue: In 1530 he made his last confession & wished that “I had served God as diligently as I had done the King.” All three players went for Thomas More, but those words were spoken by Cardinal Wolsey. Once the Final Jeopardy betting shook down, Victoria picked up another 3 points and James 1.

Halfway through the quarterfinals, Victoria led on 9 points, followed by Yogesh with 7, and James with 5. Matt, Amy, and Mattea had 1 point apiece.

Friday, May 10, Game 1:

This “must-win” game featured all three backmarkers. Amy had the worst time on the buzzer, getting in just 39% of the time, but she also found the first two Daily Doubles; after 35 clues she had 21,200 points to Mattea’s 3,200 and Matt’s 2,800. Mattea doubled up on the last Daily Double, keeping Amy from a runaway; Amy took 26,400 points into Final Jeopardy, compared to 18,000 for second-place Mattea.

After 20th Century Leaders and 20th Century Writers, this category was just The 20th Century: Hearing about the speech that launched this eponymous process, the head of the CIA wondered if Nikita Khrushchev had been drunk. All three got De-Stalinization, and so Amy got her first three-point Masters win; only Matt stayed at 1.

Friday, May 10, Game 2:

The three frontrunners put on a show in this one. Yogesh parlayed the first Daily Double into a big lead after 30 clues, but the two stars of The Chase would not be silenced in Double Jeopardy. Victoria opened the round with the second Daily Double, then James doubled up on the last one to tie Yogesh for the lead with 20 clues to play. It got even closer from there: Victoria found her buzzer timing, and all three were tied at 17,200 with nine clues to play. At the end of the second round, Victoria had 20,800 to Yogesh’s 18,400 and James’s 18,000.

One of the all-time most dramatic games concluded in The American Theater: Director & author, their 1960 rift over a new play set in the South ended “the most important…collaboration” of 20th century U.S. theater. While James could name the playwright—Tennessee Williams—he couldn’t name the director (Elia Kazan). Yogesh named both, and guaranteed himself at least a point with that correct response. Victoria looked to bag her fourth victory when she too named Williams & Kazan—but a shockingly small bet of just 3,200 points gave Yogesh the match win.

Both Victoria and Yogesh have clinched semifinal spots with 10 points each. James has 5, Amy’s on the bubble with 4 points, Mattea has 2, and Matt 1. James is still vulnerable to being eliminated if things don’t break his way next week!

Other notes from the week:

  • Next week features the final two quarterfinal episodes, and the first of two semifinal shows. Monday will have Victoria, James, and Matt in the first game, with Yogesh, Amy, and Mattea in the second.

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.



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