By the skin of his dientes

      It’s pretty well-established how much I love Fridays (or 5th days) of the first week in J! Tournaments. This week ended with a bang, as first weeks go!
     Before I get into it, though, I wanted to point out a blog post by Ursula, a frequent commenter here. It’s about about her preparation for her own upcoming J! appearance (May 24th).
     Today’s contestants:

Rob Schrader (as you can see)

Evan Eschliman (I have no idea why this is black and white.)

Gabriela Gonzales (Guess where she’s from.)

     State borders can be tricky for me, but I did get this Daily Double in the category (actually Know Your State Borders!). “Evan!” (that’s how he signed his name) found it before the first break. He had 2400 and was off to an “excellent start,” according to Mr. Trebek. Gabriela had 800 and Rob had nothing yet. Evan wisely wagered all 2400 on this clue: “Hannah’s leaving Montana heading east into this state that borders Canada.” Evan got it, too.
     Evan’s start was even more excellent than it first appeared at the first break. When the commercial started, it looked like he had 6000 to Gabriela’s 2800 and Rob’s -200. His response of “Nevada” to this clue was accepted at the end of his contestant interview: “By the time you get to Phoenix, & then go over Arizona’s northern border to this state, you’ve driven a long way.” (Rob’s response of “Utah” had been accepted.) So Evan added 1600 to his total just like that.
     Michelle Obama read the clues in Michelle Obama’s American Grown. The clues were basically about her promotion of good nutrition. Apparently she has written a book: American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. Nothing at all against the First Lady – in fact I think she’s pretty cool – but this was not very exciting to me. I only mention it in case anyone’s looking for it. I actually enjoyed it a little more when she was on The Biggest Loser this season!
     At the end of the round, Evan still led with 8600, but Gabriela was gaining on him with 6000 while Rob had 1400. Should Evan be watching his back? (Of course!)
     The Double Jeopardy categories were a little more appealing to me, but I did no better than in the Jeopardy round (21 clues right in each). I did sweep two categories (Biblical People and Body Parts en Espanol), but I was 1/5 in Action & Inaction Movies. Rob, though, picked up speed, answering 4/5, including the one that I got right: “Fozzie’s casino-ing in Reno & Animal’s animal-ing in Santa Barbara in this 2011 movie.” Rob picked it up after Evan said “The Muppet Movie.” I knew that Evan would be ruled wrong. Rob also picked up this one that Evan almost got when he said “The Incredible Journey”: “In 2012 the artist formerly known as The Rock was rolling in this “2: The Mysterious Island.” I negged on it. Should I have heard of it? At the end of the category, Rob had 6200 and Evan had 7800. Rob looked proud.
     Not to be outdone, Gabriela added 2200 when he answered this Daily Double, in Biblical People: “This shepherd became King Saul’s personal musician & armor bearer.” She then led by 2000, and she picked up the next clue, also worth 2000. (This match is a little more interesting than when I first watched it through!)
     In the Mall was a lot harder than I anticipated. I only got 2/5. They were the bottom two, if that makes a difference, including the Daily Double. Rob found it! He was “just a shade off the lead,” as Mr. Trebek said, with 13000. Evan had 12600 and Gabriela had 13800. Rob wagered 2000 on this clue: “Get a birthday card for mom at this store chain founded in 1950 & named for an early form of paper.” For all I knew I made this up, but it was right. Rob missed this one.
     At the end of the round, I didn’t have a lot of hope that Krishna Bharathala, who I’m told played in the National History Bee, would make it into next week as a wild-card. He was on the bubble, and if anyone scored more than 15001 today, he’d be out. Gabriela led with 20600, Evan had 13800, and Rob had 11000. Luckily (and happily, since I got it right!), today’s final was a triple-stumper. The category was The American Revolution. This was the clue: “In 1777 an opponent wrote of him, ‘Money is this man’s god, and to get enough of it he would sacrifice his country.'” Mine was a guess, but good enough. All three contestants said “Alexander Hamilton,” which surprises even me.
     Rob lost all of 11000! Whoa! Evan lost 1200, bringing him to 12600. Now get this: Gabriela lost 8000, bringing her too to 12600. Okay, so Krishna was safe. But Evan and Gabriela were tied! In this case, only one person can win and advance to the quarterfinals. This was decided by a tie-breaker. One of the two would have to ring in and respond correctly; that is, neither could win by default. The category was Literary Characters. This was the clue, a softball in my opinion: “Although he doesn’t actually appear in ‘1984,’ his presence is everywhere–on posters, coins & telescreens.” I suppose there is a chance that one could overthink it. At any rate, Evan responded correctly. Gabriela did not look like she was trying to ring in. He advances, as well as these winners of their games:
Eliza Scruton
Ben Greenho
Elyse Mancuso (from Omaha!)
Kevin Yang
     I usually like it when one of the non-winning 5th day contestants get a wild-card, but I didn’t mind today that neither did. The wild-cards and their scores this week:
Catherine Briley 21000
Anshika Niraj 17401
Rose Schaefer 15400
Krishna Bharathala 15001
     Like Andy, I don’t keep track of my Coryats during the Teen Tournament. Here is a link to the message board thread on this episode.