Under the wire

     I said I would update “this evening,” and I have (depending on where you are, I guess).  Barely! 
     Today was the first day of the two-day Tournament of Champions final.  The finalists are Stefan Goodreau (sigh!), Vijay Balse, and Jason Zollinger.  Jason was wearing his familiar tie (updated, he said) with his daughter’s picture on it.  Mr. Trebek pointed out that these three competed against each other in the quarterfinals, too!
     I was heartened by Vijay’s interview today.  He said he tried out for Jeopardy! 6 times in 16 years.  If you’ll let me digress for just a second, I want to share this related quote from Calvin Coolidge:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than
unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone
will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
    
     I’ve hung this up on a door inside my apartment, dorky though it may be!
     I believe I’ve taken the test 9 times (although that sounds like a lot to me), beginning with the teen test in 1997.  That’s counting taking the online test, pass or fail.  I’ve tried out every year since 2002, except 2008.  (I had passed the online test in 2007 and was ineligible to take it the next year.)
     Back to today’s game:  At the end of the Jeopardy round, Stefan led with 5000, while Vijay and Jason trailed with 600 and 800, respectively.  Jason found the first Daily Double, just the second clue of the round.  He picked up 2000 on this clue in Leaders of World War II:  “Forced into exile by an Italian invasion in 1936, this emperor returned to his homeland in January 1941.”*  Vijay led at at the end of the Double Jeopardy round with 14600.  Stefan had 9400, and Vijay had 9200.  I’d love to talk wagering strategies, if anybody has any thoughts on them….
     The Final Jeopardy category was African Capitals.  The clue: “This west central African captial grew out of a settlement that France established for freed slaves in 1849.”*  All three guys missed it.  I guessed the same thing as Stefan, incidentally.  Did you guys know it?  Poor Jason lost everything.  I hate to see that.  Stefan has 5800 going into day 2, and Vijay has 9200.  We find out tomorrow who wins bragging rights, and $250,000!
     Before I get into my scores for the week, here are two reminders I want you to consider before, during, and after tomorrow’s Jeopardy!: 1) Don’t forget to tell me what you want to know from Tournament of Champions quarterfinalist Stephen Weingarten, as I will be interviewing him soon. 2) I’m looking for a guest-blogger for two weeks in June.
     Okay, now to make good on my promise:  In Tuesday’s game with Jason Zollinger, Liz Murphy, and Nick Yozamp, I had 6600 to Liz’ 13600 and Jason’s 13800 when Liz found this second Daily Double of the round in the category “Eu” Vey: “He whipped the Continental Army into shape in the 1770s; the Ohio ville named for him lost the Prussian pronunciation.”*  I had wagered 6500 to try and catch up, but I missed it!  Then a clue or two later I forgot the category was Rhyme Time and answered only half of the correct response to this 1600 clue: “Within the structure seen here lies the tube that passes food from pharynx to stomach.”*

I didn’t get any of the three remaining clues right, so I was in the hole for Final Jeopardy.
     I was in fourth, but not in the hole, going into Final Jeopardy on Wednesday.  I had 6600 to Justin Bernbach’s 13400, Andy Srinivasan’s 10000, and Vijay Balse’s 23600.  Mr. Trebek announced that the Final Jeopardy category was Opera, and then followed it with a weird operatic vocalization.  This was the clue: “The aria ‘Pour Mon Ame’ by Donizetti includes 9 of these; a few tenors have earned the nickname ‘King of’ them.”*  If anyone knew this, please tell me.  All three guys got it wrong.  I did too, but I feel a little better having guessed the same thing as Justin.  I wagered nothing in Final Jeopardy, and ended up in second place.

     Finally, in case she’s reading this:  “Herzlichen Gl├╝ckwunsch zum Geburtstag” to my big sis, Sister Emily.  (Is that really how you say “Happy birthday” in German?)  She is 32 today.  Much love, and I miss you!
*Haile Selassie, Libreville, von Steuben, sarcophagus esophagus, high Cs