Wednesday, September 15, 2010
In 2002, I set the single day record on Jeopardy, in the process becoming the first player to score $50,000. Since then, if I'm not mistaken, 3 other regular season players have broken the 50G mark, in each case setting a new one day record:
Brian Weikle (2003): $52,000
Ken Jennings (2004): $75,000
Roger Craig (2010): $77,000
(Last season also saw 2 celebrities break the 50G barrier: Andy Richter and Pat Sajak. I think there have also been teen or college players to do it. I'd like to know for sure.)
My record-setting performance relied heavily on gutsy wagering. About half of my score was obtained through Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy. Going into FJ, I led a single opponent 39,000 to 2,000. I wagered for a nice, round number. I don't think I ever seriously considered a much higher wager, although it did cross my mind. Setting the single-day record had been my goal since I started seriously considering getting on the show, and had I known that visualization was so powerful, I'd have focused on being a 5-time champ too!
The key to getting the single-day record is a willingness to bet big. The other three guys to have done it had Coryat scores of around 35,000, which for Ken and Roger was less than half of their ultimate winnings. A good FJ wager will put you over the top, but to get within striking range you'll have to master a Daily Double or 2 also. Roger demonstrated that he knew how to get it done on his first episode. He was running away with the game in the middle of Double Jeopardy when he hit the chemical elements Daily Double. I have to imagine he figured out that the clue would be a symbol and a hint to the name of the element. If you know all the element/symbol pairs, or even most of them, a large wager is the right thing to do. You can put the game away, and guarantee yourself a big payday. Which he did.
He also made it a True Daily Double in the Jeopardy round. Here's another point. If you hit the DD in the first round, you should always bet everything, unless it's a category you feel very weak in. The material is easier, and if you have the knowledge base to get on the show, you will probably know the correct response. And even if you do miss, there's plenty of money in Double Jeopardy to catch up.
Roger, I hope you go far. You're already playing like a champion.
In honor of the occasion, I have put my first game of Jeopardy up on YouTube. It's in four parts:
I'd put up the second game, but the disk it's on won't read. (Spoiler: I lose.)
Friday, May 14, 2010
I remember watching the 2003 ToC, keeping score as I always do. I believe I got 3 of the 5 correct, all of them from the extra hints in the clue, and not because I actually know what city is the capital of any of the Australian states. I had a mental list of Australian cities in my head from a quiz bowl question I heard a loooooong time ago. That question asked the players to put them in order from north to south. I couldn't do it then, and I can't do it now. But there they are: Darwin, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbaine, Adelaide, Hobart (Perth did not appear in that question, nor would I have remembered it, probably.)
Let's run them down. From the 2003 ToC (all clues today courtesy j-archive.com):
Its opera house lies on Bennelong Point in Port Jackson Harbour
Easy. Opera house = Sydney. Fun fact, the Sydney opera house opened to the public on October 20, 1973, the day I was born.
Named for a British naturalist, it's Australia's northernmost capital
Also easy. The British naturalist in this case = Darwin. Not quite as obvious if you don't know Darwin is an Australian city, but still probably guessable.
This capital of Victoria served as Australia's capital from 1901 to 1927 when the seat of govt. was moved to Canberra
You've got the "former capital" clue here, as well as the very specific "capital of Victoria". I didn't know it was Melbourne.
This capital of Queensland was founded as a convict colony in 1824 & named for a governor of New South Wales
Again, the very specific "capital of Queensland", as well as "named for a person", "convict colony", and "name for a governor of NSW". None of the contestants that day knew it was Brisbane. Neither did I. Mark guessed Cairns, a different city in Queensland, named for a former governor of the state.
For $2000 (Daily Double):
This capital of South Australia is the only Australian capital named for a woman
"Capital of South Australia" (specific clue) + "named for a woman" (lateral clue) = Adelaide. Yep, I got this one, and so did Mark Brown, who had also answered 2 of the other clues. I got it from the "woman" part.
So, that's a hint-filled way to play the category.
Now, I've just finished watching last night's episode of Jeopardy, again scoring along at home. Let's see how I did:
In this capital of New South Wales, try the Bridge Climb, an exhilarating trek to the top of its Harbour Bridge
So, in the five clues we've already seen "capital of New South Wales" has not appeared. But the word "harbour" has. In this case, the city is the same, but the harbour is different. It's the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and so the answer again at the top row of the board is Sydney. I missed this; there weren't any clues I could suss out.
It lies within the Australian Capital Territory
Canberra isn't really an Australian capital, in the same way that Washington isn't really the capital of the District of Columbia. A lot of countries have their capitals in special administrative areas, as opposed to in one of their states. So, yeah, I didn't get this one right, even though it's just asking "What is the capital of Australia?" If you can't handle that question, you probably won't be playing the ToC any time soon. Jeoaprdy phrased their clue a little harder, as they are wont to do in their championship. Nothing wrong with that.
The metro area of this Victorian capital contains more than 70% of the state's population
Here we have "capital of Victoria", with "heavily populated" as a bonus clue. It hasn't changed in the 3 minutes you've been reading. It's still Melbourne, and I still don't know it.
Note that Melbourne is the $1200 clue both times it shows up.
It was named for William IV's wife, who was queen when it was founded in 1836
"Named for a woman" still equals Adelaide. This will be the only clue I get right in the category today as I play along; for the contestants it's a triple stumper, which helps my ego a little bit. $1600 this year is "easier" than $2000 before, but Adelaide still ranks lower on the board with the harder material.
Anzac Square War Memorial in this Queensland capital honors Aussie war vets
Maybe you know where the war memorial is, but that part of the clue is basically "frill". The crux is "capital of Queensland", which is Brisbane, which, at $2000, is valued slightly harder than last time, apparently. Not for me, of course. Not knowing it is not knowing it.
So, here are the correct responses, the two times the category has been used in the Tournament of Champions:
$400 Sydney Sydney
$800 Darwin Canberra
$1200 Melbourne Melbourne
$1600 Brisbaine Adelaide
$2000 Adelaide Brisbaine
Pretty similar, no?
But Jeopardy tends to repeat its material every 4 years or so. Shouldn't there have been an Aussie Capitals category in 2006 or 2007 or so?
Yup. There should have been all right:
AUSSIE CAPITALS, from the Double Jeopardy round of the episode airing January 30, 2006. You should do pretty well at this.
This capital of New South Wales is the home of Opera Australia
Of all the world's urban centers exceeding 1 million in population, this capital of Victoria is southernmost
This city's harbor was discovered in 1839 by John Stokes, surveyor aboard the HMS Beagle
This capital of South Australia was named for a queen, the consort of King William IV
This capital was once the government seat of a British colony called Van Diemen's Land
Wait a minute. That $2000 clue looks very unfamiliar. It's also pretty dang hard. It's a two-step question. First you have to know that Van Diemen's Land is the original name of Tasmania. Then you have to know that the capital of Tasmania is Hobart. Well, now you do. All of these clues were correctly responded to by players that day, although Sarah slipped up and said "Tasmania" for the last one.
2003 2006 2010
$400 Sydney Sydney Sydney
$800 Darwin Melbourne Canberra
$1200 Melbourne Darwin Melbourne
$1600 Brisbaine Adelaide Adelaide
$2000 Adelaide Hobart Brisbaine
So, to take a page from mrbungle at the Jeopardy message boards (aka ToC player Ryan Chaffee):
jeopardy pavlov: australian capitals
$400 - $800 - $1200 clues
Sydney (New South Wales)
Darwin (Northern Territory)
former capital until 1927
Canberra (Australian Capital Territory)
$1600 - $2000 clues
named for governor of NSW
World's Fair Expo 1988 (It's shown up a couple of times)
"royal Australian state"
Adelaide (South Australia)
named for a woman/queen
Van Diemen's Land [for Tasmania]
Perth (Western Australia)
Perth hasn't shown up in the ToC yet, but it has thrice been a bottom-of-the-board clue using the hints I've listed. It's also pretty "remote", so put that on the list as well.
Your homework: Identify another category that tends to show up every 4 years or so, especially in the Tournament of Champions, and that only has about 8 possible answers. If you need help, turn to page 96 of "Prisoner of Trebekistan".
Monday, February 15, 2010
Bullwinkle and Rocky Number 4 (May 1988, Marvel) spells it WABAC, in bold capitals:
"The Moose That Roared" by Keith Scott from 2001 also uses WABAC. (Thank you Amazon.com's "Search inside this book".)
"The Rocky and Bullwinkle Book" from 1996 also mentions it, but spells it "Wayback" (if my memory serves me correctly).
Until I have some sort of actual, in-show reference to the spelling, I'm going with WAY-BAC, simply because it's the older reference.
Edited to add: even older reference to WAY-BAC, from Bullwinkle 1 (Dell, July-Sept 1962):
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Best Alternative Music Album, 1998: OK Computer
Best Alternative Music Album, 2001: Kid A (shared with producer Nigel Godrich)
Best Spoken Word Album, 2006: Dreams of My Father
Best Spoken Word Album, 2008: The Audacity of Hope
These numbers don't take into account certain Radiohead-related Grammy awards, such as the one for Best Recording package won in 2002 by Thom Torke and Stanley Donwood for Amnesiac.
And yes, it looks like "Grammys" is the proper plural.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
"YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A GENIUS TO BE A CONTESTANT"
"We Want Average Americans Who Are Aware of What's Going On"
From Daytime TV magazine, July 1974
On March 30, Art Fleming celebrated the 10th anniversary of Jeopardy. "People are always asking me if I'm bored, after 10 years," says Art, "and I answer, No! The audience is always new and the questions are always different! "
He explains, "I'm constantly learning from each show. And I enjoy doing the show. Every show is opening night!"
He does three segments of Jeopardy in one day, and three the next. The sixth segment is the evening version now being syndicated, and for this show Art wears a tuxedo.
He tapes Jeopardy on the same floor as How to Survive a Marriage, at NBC in New York. And a few blocks away is the Jeopardy office.
"It takes about 65 persons to put Jeopardy on the air, and we work hard. And we have such a great staff that we've had to fire only three people in 10 years!"
How does somebody get on Jeopardy?
"You have to take a written and oral test. Would-be contestants should write to Jeopardy, 162 West 48th St., New York, N.Y." They can also write to NBC, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y., 10019, for free tickets and then, after the show, ask one of the production staff how to become a contestant.
Do you have to be genius to become a contestant?
"No," says Art. "We want average Americans. You don't even need a college degree; just be aware of what's going on in the world.
"Why, the biggest money winner was a woman who has only two years of high school. And the most money we ever gave was to a radar man who won $11,110 in one week...and he only had one year in college.
"The show has more than 350 categories.
"Contestants don't know who will play against them and what categories will be used when their turn comes."
If Art Fleming himself was a contestant, what categories would he prefer? "English, history and music!"
Born in New York (the son of Marie and Guido Fazzin, European dance team), Art attended Cornell and Colgate universities and is quite a scholar. He is a history buff, travels extensively, acquires British and American army and regimental memorabilia (medals, swords, uniforms), and has a great collection of fine books and first editions. "I bought a full set of 23 books on British men of action for $1,200 in England, and now I can sell it for $10,000.
"I bought a series of 90 books on American Indians for $1,000 and sold three or four of them for $1,000 right away. I bought for $485 an oversize book on pirates with 190 original Howard Pyle illustrations. I own a book of Tennyson with fouredge printing. Color illustrations are printed on the edges of the book."
But be doesn't buy rare books just to show them off. "I read them!"
And did you notice how trim he looks now? "That's because I lost 32 pounds in seven weeks. How? By suffering! I did it by the low carbohydrates diet, under medical supervision. I ate 40 grams of carbohydrates a day. No sweets. Meat and fish. And I was never hungry."
He's six-foot-three and was 245 pounds. Now he's down to 215, and he's satisfied. As a former athlete (he captained the football and water polo teams at Cornell and Colgate) he knows the value of physical fitness, and still lives a vigorous life. He pilots his own twin cabin cruiser in the New York waters, and flies often to Caribbean and Mexican waters for fishing and scuba diving.
He's proud of the 146-pound sailfish he landed off Acapulco recently when vacationing there with his friend, Norman Eaton, who runs the Polonaise Restaurant in Austin, Texas. But he won't go hunting. "I can't kill an animal. When I was 15, 1 shot a rabbit by mistake in North Carolina, and I wept after that."
Art's new figure looks good in the extensive wardrobe supplied by Barney's, New York. "I have 45 suits I wear on the show only. They are cleaned after two wearings. And when they get too used, Barney's takes them back. I also have 100 neckties for the show."
But away from the show, he'd rather relax in sweater and slacks. He lives in a big three-and-a-half room New York apartment.
Divorced the past few years, he's enjoying the bachelor life. "It takes me only two and a half hours to clean the apartment." He cooks for himself and has fun. "My mother taught me to cook; and I cook and shop for my food. When I eat out, then I usually select dishes I don't ordinarily make for myself."
Would he marry again? "Never! ... Not in this life or the next!"
Does he have a concept of the Ideal Woman? "Yes, it's a woman who enjoys life and who's not thrown by life's problems.
"I don't really care what she looks like. What's important is that she's in individual who's considerate of me and people around me. It's her attitude about life and people that counts, not her looks. I don't want a selfish woman; selfish people turn me off!"
He's never had children, but his sister is married, has three kids and lives in suburban Larchmont.
He admits he wanted children when he was married; but, now looking back, he feels, "It's tough bringing children into this world and I'm not sorry I didn't have children."
He's a dashing gent-tall, muscular, tidy, with dark brown hair and blue eyes, plus a marvelous quick wit that occasionally flashes during Jeopardy. But, to make Jeopardy move swiftly, he holds back and submerges his personality. "It's the show that counts."
He got into show business when he was four, and was an actor (Western movies, the old Loretta Young show, etc.) for 30 years before becoming host of Jeopardy. "When you're a TV host, you're yourself, and not many actors can do that well," he explains.
He manages to tape a year's supply of Jeopardy and still have 20 weeks off, during which he does guesting on other shows, runs his own industrial film company... travels and has fun.