The Tournament of Champions begins

     Ah, the first day of the Tournament of Champions.  I’d been looking forward to this for a while.  Today’s episode did not disappoint.  Today’s contestants were College champion Patrick Tucker of Missouri (I couldn’t place him without a college sweatshirt on!), Liz Murphy of Pennsylvania (had longer hair than on her first episodes), and Ryan Chaffee of California (looked the same, except happier than ever to be there…at first).
     At my parents’ today, my mom was the star.  She answered two clues that no one at home or on the show got right, and a couple more that we at home couldn’t answer.  The first triple-stumper she got was for 400 in A Visit to Antarctica: “In Antarctica, iceberg formation is at its most spectacular, as huge masses break off from continental glaciers, a process called this.”*  The second one was for 1600 in Let’s Get Dressed in the 1920s: “After a referendum in Reedy, West Virginia, women were allowed to wear these golf pants worn by men only.”*  Did you guys know those?  She also nailed clues about Bananas Foster and director John Ford. 
     Liz found all three Daily Doubles in today’s game, and she got them all correct!  She picked up 1000 (more money than she had at the time) on this clue in Nonfiction: “The 2009 Pulitzer for history went to Annette Gordon-Reed for ‘The Hemingses of’ this home.”*  When Liz found both the first and the second Daily Double of the Double Jeopardy round, she had more than three times what her nearest opponent had.  Three times!  On the first Daily Double, she wagered 3200 on this clue in Bays: “During one tide cycle, more than 100 billion tons of seawater flow in and out of this bay between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.”*  She wagered 2000 on this clue in International Organizations: “BSEC is the economic cooperation zone named for this body of water; its 12 members include Bulgaria.”*  As you might have guessed, Liz had the game out of reach by the time Double Jeopardy ended.  She had 17400, while Ryan had 7800, and we thought Patrick had 3200, until the judges added insult to injury by deciding not to accept his response to a previous clue after all.  He went into Final Jeopardy with 2400.
     For those that don’t know the format of the Tournament of Champions: Nine people from this week will advance into next week: the five winners from each day, plus the four contestants who had the highest scores among “non-winners.” (Hey, if that word’s good enough for Mr. Trebek to say, it’s good enough for me to say.)  Therefore, Patrick and especially Ryan still had plenty to think about when they wagered for Final Jeopardy.
     Today’s Final Jeopardy category was English Literary History.  This was the clue: “Immediately before the Caroline era came this one, also from the monarch’s Latin name.”*  Patrick was the only one who came up with a correct response.  He wagered 2300.  Liz wagered nothing, a move I always find classy among players who have a lock on the game.  Ryan wagered 6000.  With final scores of 1800 and 4700 respectively, I will predict we won’t see Ryan or Patrick next week.
     Looking forward to tomorrow’s episode!

*calving, knickers, Monticello, the Bay of Fundy, the Black Sea, Jacobean

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