Quick Recap & Today’s Final Jeopardy – January 16, 2017

Here’s tonight’s Final Jeopardy answer and question for Monday, January 16, 2017:

Final Jeopardy! category: 20TH CENTURY HISTORY

Final Jeopardy! clue/answer: Villages like Zalesye, Kopachi & Lubyanka remain abandoned 3 decades after this event

(correct response beneath the contestants)

Today’s contestants:

Mary Caruso, a registered nurse from Cherry Hill, New Jersey John Avila, an attorney from Arlington, Virginia
Eli Nehus, an electrical engineer from Fayetteville, Arkansas (1-day total: $6,227)


In case you missed it, check out my latest Strategy Talk article in which I quantify the future value of winning a game on Jeopardy!

Click/Tap Here for Correct Response/Question

What is the Chernobyl nuclear accident?


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Only one of two nuclear accidents classified as Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event scale (Fukushima Daiichi in Japan in 2011 being the other), the Chernobyl disaster on April 26, 1986 caused about a 1,000-square mile zone to be officially declared as an “Area of Absolute (Mandatory) Resettlement”. A few hundred people defied the orders and still live within the exclusion zone, but most of the villages have been abandoned. Among the resettlement included a new Lubyanka, built much closer to Kiev.

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23 Comments on "Quick Recap & Today’s Final Jeopardy – January 16, 2017"

  1. Andy Saunders | January 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm |

    Scores going into Final:
    Eli $8,400
    John $7,500
    Mary $7,000

    Final results:
    Mary $7,000 + $6,950 = $13,950
    John $7,500 + $6,501 = $14,001 (1-day total: $14,001)
    Eli $8,400 – $7,000 = $1,400 (What is Rwandan genocide?)

    Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
    Eli $4,800
    Mary $1,400
    John $700

    Opening break taken after: 15 clues

    Daily Double locations:
    1) IT’S THE GENEVA CONVENTION $800 (28th pick)
    John 2200 -1500 (Eli 4800 Mary 1400)

    2) “C”OUNTIES $1200 (6th pick)
    John 2300 +1300 (Eli 5600 Mary 2200)
    3) ROOMS FULL OF CULTURE $800 (29th pick; $400 left on board, minute-to-go signal given)
    John 12000 -4500 (Eli 8400 Mary 7000)

    Unplayed clues:
    J! round: IT’S THE GENEVA CONVENTION $600 & $1000
    DJ! round: ROOMS FULL OF CULTURE $400
    $ Left On Board: $2,000

    Game Stats:
    John $13,400 Coryat, 14 correct, 4 incorrect, 22.22% in first on buzzer
    Mary $7,000 Coryat, 12 correct, 3 incorrect, 27.78% in first on buzzer
    Eli $8,400 Coryat, 16 correct, 4 incorrect, 33.33% in first on buzzer
    Lach Trash: $15,000

    Eli Nehus, final stats:
    31 correct
    9 incorrect
    0/0 on Daily Doubles
    0/2 in Final Jeopardy
    33.03% in first on buzzer (36/109)
    Average Coryat: $8,900

    John Avila, stats to date:
    15 correct
    4 incorrect
    1/3 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: -$4,700)
    1/1 in Final Jeopardy
    22.22% in first on buzzer (12/54)
    Average Coryat: $13,400

    John Avila, to win:
    2 games: 44.91%
    3: 20.17%
    4: 9.06%
    5: 4.07%
    6: 1.83%
    Avg. streak: 1.815 games.
    Avg. Total Winnings (including possible ToC): $33,303


    • This is the 15th consecutive game in which the leader going into Final Jeopardy has not gotten Final Jeopardy! correct. The record is 16.
    • Purely conjecturing here, but it would not surprise me if John simply made a math error in calculating his last Daily Double wager, accidentally doubling $8,400 as $16,400 and not $16,800. A bet of $4,900 there would have been perfect.
    • Thank you to Jay Johnson for providing me with a full chart of this game.
  2. Elizabeth Meyer | January 16, 2017 at 5:25 pm |

    Didn’t Eli get the Dirty Harry question wrong?!?!

    Q: Dirty Harry tells a punk he’s got to ask himself this four word question.
    Eli’s answer was “What is ‘do you feel lucky, punk’?”

    Never mind that this is a five word question, not a four word question, it’s not even the right line!

    The correct line, which is routinely misquoted, is “being this is a .44 Magnum…you’ve gotta’ ask yourself one question: ‘DO I FEEL LUCKY?’ Well, do ya’ punk?”

    It doesn’t look like they ever rectified the error, I think they owe it to that Mary chick to bring her back on, it was such a close game.

    • Andy Saunders | January 16, 2017 at 5:47 pm |

      The way the show generally has operated in the past is that words in the clue like that may be repeated in the response, even though it might otherwise technically make the response incorrect.

      With regards to the second point: Upon re-watching, it is clear to me that upon further review, the show’s judges appear to have stopped tape at that point, deliberated, and explicitly chose to accept “Do you feel lucky”. It’s obvious you disagree with that call, but it was certainly a conscious decision by the judges.

      Interestingly, this is the first time they’ve chosen to ask for the quote on the show. Everything else on J! Archive had been “given the quote, name the movie”.

      Thirdly: Even had they retroactively chosen to take money away from Eli, Mary is still behind John going into Final Jeopardy. Bringing her back “because it’s a close game” is not how the show operates on these matters whatsoever. It generally operates on the principle of ceteris paribus, and holding everything else constant, Mary does not win the game.

      To other commenters: When commenting, please try to provide more than just “I agree with the decision” or “I disagree”. Please attempt to provide further information to the discussion.

      • Harris Stutman | January 16, 2017 at 10:45 pm |

        Andy, I agree that since Eli lost anyway, there are no grounds for a re-do of the Dirty Harry question, and it’s obviously important to remember this is a game show and not a court of law. However on one of my shows, another contestant was penalized for giving a 3-word answer to a clue that asked for a 4-word response. It’s hard to understand why they would specify the number of words required in a correct response (they really don’t have to) and then “occasionally” disregard responses that do not comply. Odd.

        • Andy Saunders | January 16, 2017 at 10:51 pm |

          The only thing I can think of is that they disregarded the fact that because “punk” was in the clue, they regarded it as something that could be added without being negged. I’m not sure of the best parallel I could use for this, but I feel this has been a thing in general before as well.

          • They could have said that his response was,”What is, ‘Do you feel lucky?’, punk?”, with the “punk” being Eli giving Alex a nickname… ;). Just kidding.

            Regarding the number of words–the fist “luck” clue today was wanting a five word response, for “the luck of the Irish”. But if someone had said, “What is, ‘luck of the Irish’?”, missing the first “the”, I have to think they’d have accepted it, even with only four words. Which is a long way of saying, I think they make some reasonable exceptions to the count when appropriate.

        • Laurie MacDougall | January 18, 2017 at 10:12 am |

          Yes, that was me – I answered “soup to nuts” when they wanted “from soup to nuts” and was ruled wrong because it was supposed to be a four-word answer. So I definitely picked up on Eli giving a five-word answer!

      • Reading this thread did give me pause. I initially credited myself for “what is ‘are you feeling lucky’?”, but before the interviews started, I recalled that the clue asked for the specific line, and reversed to a neg. But since the show’s own staff credited a response that did not match the quote exactly, was that cause to revisit that decision (whether to rule it a clam or back to a get)? In the end, I felt the line of acceptability fell somewhere between changing a pronoun and changing the tense, and so I sustained the neg.

        To the request for supporting information (which, I note, follows a backing of the judges based on nothing more than “they talked it over”) containing a Latin term, I would add an English-language lawyerly term: “rational-basis review.” In layman’s terms: Owing primarily to his extensive study of the game and his deep trivia background, Andy is extremely deferential to the show’s judges. Unless there is clear and unambiguous evidence that the judges botched a call (whether initially or on review), TJ!F will stand by it – and if you come here to voice a challenge, expect to be told why you’re wrong.

        (All this said, I generally find myself in agreement; in the time I’ve known and interacted with Andy, there has only been one instance in which I maintain the judges got it wrong, and that was in a niche of my occupational expertise.)

        • Andy Saunders | January 23, 2017 at 12:51 am |

          Thank you for this, Matt. I agree with your neg judgement for playing at home, because that sort of judgement will be more helpful for you as a hopeful than saying “well, close enough, I’m giving myself credit.”

          I can’t speak to the show-acceptability of your response, though, in this case, because of the concern you raised, and I really have no clue how they would have reacted. I could argue both sides.

          I should also clarify that I gave “please provide more than just ‘I agree’ or ‘I disagree'” because I personally dislike discussions which essentially devolve into people coming in and just piling on. Asking commenters to provide rationale serves, at least in my eyes, to keep the level of discourse high (as it generally forces people to think of what they’re saying.) Whether you think this is me being heavy-handed, Pollyanna-ish, both, or neither, I’d have a hard time arguing against any quadrant you’d put me in.

          • With this clarification, I’d say neither. Imploring commenters to maintain of the robustness of the discussion is a laudable goal, and one I appreciate.

            I agree that forcing people to think about their responses is quite helpful, to myself included. An example:
            “The judges should not have accepted ‘cooling rods'” states an opinion, one on which reasonable people can and do differ.
            “‘Cooling rods’ was not a correct response” attempts to state a fact, and is in error (or as we might now say here in the States, “alternative”). Regardless of what I think if it, the judges’ acceptance of that response makes it, by definition, a correct one.
            (This, from the first game of the final of the last Teachers Tournament, is the one instance I mentioned above in which I maintain disagreement with the judges.)

    • Side question, just for my own education:

      When Eli first responded with “Do you feel lucky, punk?”, Alex paused–similar to how he regularly does when the contestant fails to phrase it in the form of a question. So Eli rephrased, saying, “What is, ‘Do you feel lucky, punk?’?” But technically–“Do you feel lucky, punk?” is already in the form of a question! Do the rules specify what form the question must be, or just that it must be a question? Was Eli’s original phrasing technically acceptable?

      And yes–I realize that they’re more lenient in the first round. And I also realize that Alex’s pause, in this specific case, may have been regarding the acceptability of “Do you…” vs. “Do I…”. But in general, if the response is itself a question, is further phrasing as a question-within-a-question technically required?

      Similarly, do the rules state that it must be in “Who is/What is/etc.” form? For example, with today’s Final, instead of asking, “What is the Chernobyl disaster?”, could someone have written, “Is it the Chernobyl disaster?” instead?

      Thanks for the help!

  3. Jason Smith | January 16, 2017 at 8:53 pm |

    All three deserve to return. This show was a disaster. The Dirty Harry misquote has been discussed, but there was another mistake. Haiti is not an island nation, it shares Hispanola with the Dominican Republic. Being that there were multiple errors in the same round, I think they owe the contestants a return visit.
    I also would have accepted the ” luck of the draw” answer, but that’s just me.

    • Andy Saunders | January 16, 2017 at 9:42 pm |


      While there may have been a mistake in that Haiti clue, that still falls well short of the standard that Jeopardy’s production uses in terms of “disadvantaged” to bring contestants back to the show.

      Calling it “a disaster” is insulting to the staff. The show was categorically not a disaster.

    • Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never thought of he term “island nation” to mean that the country necessarily has to take up an entire island. Only that the entire nation be located on one or more islands. For example, Wales is an island nation.

  4. Mark Barrett | January 16, 2017 at 9:37 pm |

    I have John’s Coryat as 13,400.
    He had 7500 for the FJ! round. He missed DDs of 1500 & 4500 to add 6K. His other DD was +1300 in a 1200 box so minus 100 for a 13,400 total.

    • Andy Saunders | January 16, 2017 at 9:54 pm |

      Thanks for the correction, Mark. Greatly appreciated. (I looked at round Coryats of 2200 and 11200 and apparently thought that was 14400, then thought 14400 – 5900 was 7500).

  5. I watched the show and even posted the John Lewis answer on my FB page (since it’s MLK Day and the recent brouhaha concerning John Lewis). However, I am blanking. Did anyone get it right? I think one answered incorrectly and the other 2 passed on it. What actually did happen?

  6. Harold Lichtman | January 18, 2017 at 5:43 pm |

    I also picked up on Haiti, since the clue specified the ruler of an island, not island nation. Haiti is not an island, but Jeopardy has become inconsistent with what they rule right or wrong. Recently the answer to a clue was mispronounced but definitely left a “t” out of the name of a deity but Alex corrected the pronunciation but still ruled the answer right. On another show with the category Letter Perfect where they wanted the NATO phonetic alphabet version a word that is also the name of an African people and the contestant gave the word, not the letter, which didn’t fit the parameter of the clue. I wrote to Jeopardy and their response was it was correct since it demonstrated he knew the word! But in the category letter perfect the answer should be a letter, not a word. They are getting real sloppy.

    • Andy Saunders | January 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm |

      Genuinely curious: Why must a country be the sole occupant of an island to be considered an island nation?

      Also: I completely disagree with you regarding your NATO Phonetic Alphabet point. In that alphabet, the letter “Z” is pronounced “Zulu”. Thus, “Zulu” must be accepted as equivalent to “Z”. This is consistent with Kori Tyler’s situation that saw her return. (and which actually set the show’s current precedent)

      The show is not getting sloppy. The show is very fair.

      • Harold Lichtman | January 20, 2017 at 10:57 pm |

        When the category is letter perfect the answer must be a letter. Zulu is not a letter, or are we redefining what a letter is? If you accept Zulu as equivalent to “Z” then by that precedent if they had asked for the name of the movie about an assassination in Greece and its coverup then “Zulu” must also be considered correct, even though it is the name of a completely different movie. The NATO Phonetic equivalent is not a letter, but a word used to to represent a letter. In the Tori Tyler case the category was “Alphabets” and Zulu is part of the phonetic alphabet but since the clue asked for a letter it could be interpreted that they wanted “z.” Not a well written clue. This time the category was letter perfect so the answer had to be a letter. The bigger problem is why are they asking the same question, especially since there was a problem the first time? The other point I made concerning an answer (name of a Greek deity) the correct answer was Haphaestus and the mispronunciation definitely did not have a “t” in it. Jeopardy has consistently ruled answers incorrect if they put in or omitted a letter (usually an “s”) that changes the sound of the answer. Quiz shows do make mistakes. That’s why they bring contestants back. The first one I caught on Jeopardy was when they had the Texas Ranger Museum in San Antonio, which I caught because it’s actually in Waco.

        • Andy Saunders | January 20, 2017 at 11:07 pm |


          On Jeopardy, past precedent has shown us that the judges will consider the NATO Phonetic Alphabet’s word used to represent a letter as equivalent to the letter.

          End of story. Given that, all other discussion points regarding letters are moot in my eyes.

          You ask “why ask the question again?” I say, if they have a rule covering it, why not?

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