Continued from Saturday, July 16.

During the commercials between Double JEOPARDY! and the Final, you have to make your bet. They give you a pad to figure it out, then they check the bet to see that it’s legible. They don’t want a $100.00 bet to be confused with a $10,000 bet, so they require the decimals for the cents. They also tell you the first word of the answer, which, in this case, is What. (This is why you’ll sometimes see bad grammar or a lack of a verb such as “What the White House?”)

The Final JEOPARDY! clue in World Capitals was this: “This city was known as Dong Kihn, and to the Europeans as Tonquin.”


For five seconds, I have no idea even what was being asked. Then I think, Hong Kong? No, that’s not a world capital. Then I look at the two primary words in the clue Tonquin and Donkin. If you blend them together, you get Tonkin. Tonkin Gulf. Where’s that? Viet Nam. And what’s the capital of Viet Nam? And all that processing took about 10 seconds.

Tom writes, What is Hanoi? Correct. He bet $1000 and now has $6100, a curious bet, I thought, though if we had ALL gotten it WRONG, he would have won. Amy wrote, “What is Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City?” Wrong, no longer a world capital. Then my response is revealed: “What is Hanoi?” At that moment, it didn’t matter what I bet. I stand, poker-faced. $8000, added to my $9600, for a total of $17,600! When my bet was uncovered, there was an audible gasp in the audience; I just exhaled.

Why the heck did I bet eight grand? For one thing, I felt reasonably comfortable with the topic (although if it has been a capital of one of the former Soviet republics, I’d be in trouble) She had $8400. If she bet it all (and got it right), she’d have $16,800. For me to win, I then needed to bet $16,800 (her score doubled) minus $9600 (my score) +$1 or $7601 (oh, and get the question right.). So, I figure, if I’m going to bet $7601, I might as well make it an even $8000.

I got tremendous applause, more than I could have imagined. There were reasons: 1) I was told by an audience member that WTEN brought a busload of people with them to see the show (how would they do that without announcing it on the air?), 2) both of my friends, Judy and Karen, were telling people sitting around them, “Hey, we know him, go root for Roger.” And they DID.

But there was little time to savor the victory. I had to go downstairs, change my clothes, come up and do it again in 20 minutes. Maggie accompanies me to the bathroom AGAIN. At the very last minute, I got my stuffed monkey Ersie and switched him from podium #2 to podium #1.

My competitors in the second game were Robin Shepherd, a contracts administrator from Pennsylvania, and Jim Zanotti, a law student from Massachusetts.

The categories were Yankee Ingenuity, People and Places, She’s My First Lady, Musical Instruments, and Rhymes with Cod. I liked the idea of all of them. Jim hits the Daily Double on the second clue in Celebrity Relatives and missed it (I knew that answer -Carol Burnett’s grandmother!). I never get a chance in the category, or much else, and at the first break, I have $400 (from one answer), Jim has $100, and Robin has $1500.

At the interview segment, I figure Alex will ask about Rod Serling or mountains, but says instead: “You must read a lot of books,” which threw me a little.

I’m ringing in a lot, but I’m not GETTING in a lot, and on the last clue, which is an audio one, I swear it sounded like a harpsichord, which is how I incorrectly identified it, but on TV, it sounded like a lute, which is what it was, and which Jim correctly identified. I lose $500. The score after the JEOPARDY! round is Roger $600, Jim $2700, Robin $2900.

Again, I start Double Jeopardy. The categories Nathaniel Hawthorne, Animal Name Origins, Films of the 40s, April, Showers, and the Mayflower.

Early on, there was a visual cue of some guy. Somehow, he reminded me of Al Jolson. I hated Al Jolson, and his blackface minstrel show. This guy was not in blackface, but it was indeed Larry Parks playing Jolson. I also get a clue on Gaslight, then the first clue in Hawthorne, which gets me to $2200. I never answer another clue; I simply can’t get in.

At one Daily Double in the Mayflower, Robin loses $1500 (on another question I knew!), so it’s me at $2200, Jim at $3500, and Robin at $5000, so if I COULD have gotten in, I’d have been all right.

Jim got the second Daily Double correctly, and I started having a new strategy: root for Jim to keep it close. Alas, on the last clue answered, he lost $1000, so at the end of Double JEOPARDY!, it was me STILL at $2200, Jim at $5500, and Robin at $9200

The Final JEOPARDY! answer was in part a visual one. The category was famous “New Englanders”: “Native New Englander, seen here modeling for his company’s catalog sometime before WWI.”

Almost no chance for me to win, Alex notes, which irritates me; it was true, but I didn’t need the reminder. I said Bean, as in L.L. Bean, judged to be correct. I bet $1800 for no reason other than it had an 8 in it, like my first bet, and ended at $4000.

At this point I really didn’t care what happened, though I knew I didn’t win.

Both Jim and Robin said Sears, but I knew she had enough (with $6700) to win.

I walk off stage after the fade out. (I have NO idea what the contestants talked with Alex about after EITHER of the shows I was on.) Susanne Thurber tried to make me feel better. “You did well. You won a lot of money. You were the only one to get the Final, and that put you in second place.” It did? I had no clue. Jim had finished at $3500.

So, what is worse than being able to say I lost on JEOPARDY?

Continued on Saturday, July 30.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “JEOPARDY! Part 9”

  1. Roger, what the hell are you talking about? You recently admitted that your memories of the event were skewed, which is only natural. I don’t know what you’re describing above, but I have different memories of your big win.

    You see, The Wife and I joined John and Linda Wolcott in their home to watch the airing of your big win on their TV (since we don’t have one.) And unlike you I was relaxed and under no pressure. Here’s what happened.

    You were way behind. Part of the problem was that your two opponents were pushing the buzzer faster than you were. But more often than not these two ditzes would push the buzzer without knowing the answer and would spew nonsense. But this strategy seemed to be working, they were both vying for the lead.

    Also, I should note, your two opponents appeared to be much younger than you, not baby boomers. That’s important. They didn’t exist back in the 1960s like you did.

    So it all came down to the final big question, I forget the exact wording. Basically the question asked, what is the name of the seaport that serves the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi? However Jeopardy words questions, that was essentially what they were looking for.

    OMG, I yelled out loud, that’s so easy! Every kid who grew up in the 1960s knows that one, it was in the daily news reports for years! How could anyone not know?

    Well, to my astonishment I was the only one in the Wolcott living room who knew the answer, My fellow baby boomers had forgotten. I was ready to confiscate and burn their baby boomer credentials.

    However, as soon as the question was asked I saw Roger O Green break out into a big grin! He knows! He knows! I was jumping up and down! Everyone was telling me to shut up and sit down!

    And Roger bet the house! Yes!!

    So, as usual, the two others pressed their buzzers faster than you did. Both gave uh um nonsense answers. And then Roger O Green said “What is Haiphong Harbor,” and he walked away with $17,000.

    That’s what happened. I saw it all. I was so proud of you!

    Afterwards, I sent you an email of congratulations, and jokingly mentioned that I sure could help you spend some of that cash, old buddy old pal. You replied with an icy note about how you needed all that money to pay bills but thank you for the congratulations. I guess you were getting too many serious calls asking for money.

    Just wanted to set the record straight. I know this post is from 2005, but did you ever set the record straight in a later post?

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