Wide world of weird, weird moments

     Wow.  I’m almost not sure where to begin!  I’m grateful I am able to blog today, and I’m grateful to the contestants and Mr. Trebek for all the fodder.  I don’t know how long it took me to watch the show today, but it was a long time.  I have to admit part of it was because my mom called during the show.  I paused the show, but couldn’t stop thinking about it as I spoke to her!
     Hans started all the mayhem with that weird gesture as he was introduced that I still can’t identify after watching it three times.  (One of those times was out of the corner of my eye, since I was trying to take his picture.)  Hans is active on the J! message boards, so I’ve asked him.  (Check it out to read what he has to say about his experience today!)  Here’s his picture and those of his opponents:

From left to right; Erin McLean, Hans von Walter, Sam Spaulding
     It all seemed to spiral out of control from there, especially for him.  The very first clue, in It Happened in the Past, was a triple-stumper!  It was also noteworthy because it was the first of three (three!) responses that Mr. Trebek either had to have repeated or misheard completely.  Here’s the clue: “On Feb. 10, 1985, this African man said, ‘Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts.”*  (I’ve never thought that someone actually uses “;” when they’re speaking.)
     Erin found the Daily Double in the round before the first break, the last clue of It Happened in the Past.  She had 600, Hans had -600, Sam had -200, and I had 800.  Erin wagered 1000 on this clue: “On July 22, 1956, Egypt seized control of this geographic feature from its French and British owners.”*  She got it right, then immediately swept Raw Food, giving her a commanding lead.  By the first break, she had 5200, Hans had -600, Sam had 400, and I had 2200.
     The first clue after the break, in Wide World of Weird Sports, was another weird moment on the show.  This was the clue: “In Kabbadi, one team member tries to tag out as many of the opposing team while holding this as possible.”*  It was a triple-stumper, and when Mr. Trebek revealed the correct response, he demonstrated repeating the word “Kabbadi” while holding his breath.  I don’t want to see it ever again, actually!
     How about this triple-stumper in the same category: “Doing it in unusual places truns this household task into an ‘extreme’ sport for some; got spray-starch?”*
     I knew this one in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles ONLY because I played Jeopardy! on the Wii this morning.  Before that I had never heard of this company: “In 1967, the Douglas Aircraft Company merged with this aircraft company.”*  That felt good!
     One of my favorite parts of the show came when Hans selected the next clue after getting this one right in Official State Stuff: “Georgia’s official state vegetable is the Vidalia sweet this.”*  Instead of saying the category he wanted, he went, “Vidalia…Oh, wow.” 😀
     And this was all before the Jeopardy round ended!  When it did, Erin had 8400, Hans had -1200, Sam had 4400, and I had 7000.
     Next “what the heck?” moment:  When Mr. Trebek repeated the correct response to this clue in Music Aliases: “‘The Fame Monster’ has struck for Stefani Germanotta, now better known as this.”*  I’ve never heard anyone say it quite that way before, almost growled.  It makes me think he doesn’t know who she is!
     Erin found the first Daily Double in the round, in Math Symbols.  She had 15200, poor Hans had -2800, Sam had 11200, and I had 11400.  Erin wagered 3200.  The clue was read by Sara of the Clue Crew: “In math, an exclamation mark is called a factorial symbol; it means to do this with every positive integer of equal or lesser value, in this case, equal to 120.”*  Erin got it right.
     How about this triple-stumper in Long One-Syllable Words: “(8 letters) Injuriously long periods of low precipitation.”*  Erin answered correctly except for the all-too-critical “s” on the end.
     Or this triple-stumper in The Age of Chivalry: “A peasant might play his cards close to his jerkin, a type of this.”*  If you’re keeping track of the weird moments, make a tally mark.  Mr. Trebek actually credited Erin with a correct response when she said “belt” (and I counted my correct answer wrong!) because he thought she said the actual correct response.
     At the end of the Double Jeopardy round, Erin had 22400, Hans had -6000 (that is not a typo), Sam had 14400, and I had 17400.  Poor Hans.  The further he got into the hole, the more I wondered what would happen at the end of the round.  Since this is Day One of a two-day final…what happens when someone ends the day in the hole?  I’ve watched the show FOREVER and didn’t know.  Come to find out, Hans was not allowed to participate in Final Jeopardy today, BUT…wait for it…he gets to start at zero tomorrow, not -6000!  Hans says on the Jeopardy! message boards that he did know this rule while he was playing the game.  He also says he began to guess on clues he wasn’t sure of because he was desperate to get out of the hole, and it didn’t matter how deep in the hole he went.  The consensus on the message boards (and I agree, and even Hans agrees!) is that this isn’t fair.  What do you guys think?  I mean, 6000 is a lot to make up, and it would take a while!
     I wagered today as if I were playing for the highest score over two days, too.  I wagered nothing, then. 🙂  It was mostly because I wasn’t sure what to do, and I felt good at least that I would have a  LOT more money than Hans did tomorrow.  The category was European Countries.  This was the clue: “German is its official language; Croatian, Slovene, and Hungarian are each official in one of its states.”*     I have to admit (and admit that this is not champion-like) that I didn’t try hard on this one since I was wagering nothing.  The correct response
came to me immediately, but I didn’t really make it my answer.  The two contestants missed it, too.  Erin lost 6401, and Sam lost 10000.  So Erin is in good shape going into the second day.  I have to wonder if Hans will be smiling as broadly and gesturing as merrily tomorrow as he was at the top of today’s show.
*Nelson Mandela, the Suez Canal, his breath, McDonnell, ironing, onion, Lady Gaga, multiply, vest, Austria