‘Jeopardy!’ Champions Wildcard Finalist Reacts to Final Jeopardy Stumper

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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the November 27 episode of Jeopardy!]

The first of this two-game Champions Wildcard final on Jeopardy! ended in such a way that host Ken Jennings was right when he said, “It is really going to be anybody’s game.” (People do say that when it’s not necessarily the case.)

Nick Cascone, an orthopedic physician assistant originally from Queens, New York, Dennis Chase, a biotech project manager from Palm Springs, California, and Jen Jazwinski, a youth services librarian from Algonquin, Illinois faced off on Monday, November 27, and it was a somewhat evenly matched game throughout. Only $600 separated first (Jen with $3200) and third (Nick with $2600) at the first break during the Jeopardy! round.

Then, heading into the Double Jeopardy! round, Jen did have a bigger lead of $7600 (to Dennis’ $4600 and Nick’s $3200). After the round and the Daily Doubles (Nick added $6000 and Dennis lost $7000), Nick was in first heading into Final Jeopardy! with $16,800, Jen was in second place with $11,600, and Dennis had $6,800.

But none of them got the last answer. The clue, in British Cities, read: “Over the motto ‘Fortis est Veritas,’ the coat of arms of this city features a beast of burden crossing over some water.” The correct answer was Oxford. Nick was still in the lead at the end of the November 27 game with $9300, while Jen was in second with $5600 and Dennis in third with $3000.

But those scores carry over and will be added to their totals from the November 28 episode to determine who won this Champions Wildcard and has gotten a spot in the Tournament of Champions, meaning tomorrow’s Final Jeopardy! could very well be what decides it all.

Over on the Jeopardy! Reddit forum, at least one fan agreed with Jennings’ assessment. “I thought Dennis would be tough to beat, but it turned out to be way more evenly matched than I expected. I could see any of them taking it at this point,” a viewer wrote. In reply to that, Nick chimed in with, “I’m like the Rodney Dangerfield of Jeopardy at this point.”

Then when another viewer, in response to that, noted, “At least you got FJ half-right. If the correct ‘beast of burden’ had hit you before the buzzer, you would’ve had a nearly insurmountable $24,300 going into round 2.” Nick agreed, writing, “Indeed. It was a little like Ed in the last quarterfinal, admittedly with lower stakes.” (In the November 23 game, Ed Hashima ran out of time as he attempted to change his answer during Final Jeopardy!)

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