Today’s Final Jeopardy – November 17, 2017

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category State Capitals) for the second game of the final in the 2017 Tournament of Champions, on Friday, November 17, 2017 (Season 34, Episode 50):

A state capital since 1805, its name begins with the last 4 letters of the state’s name

(correct response beneath the contestants)

Remember, this is a 2-game total-point affair, today’s scores get added to yesterday’s to determine the champion! The winner receives $250,000; second place $100,000, and third place $50,000.


Throughout November, in memory of Cindy Stowell, I’ll be making a donation for every item sold from this site’s online store! More details are below the information about Final Jeopardy.


Today’s contestants:

Austin Rogers, a bartender from New York, New York (Yesterday’s total: $6,500)
Austin Rogers on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Alan Lin, a software engineer from Riverside, California (Yesterday’s total: $8,800)
Alan Lin on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Buzzy Cohen, a music executive from Los Angeles, California (Yesterday’s total: $0)
Buzzy Cohen on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions

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Click/Tap Here for Final Jeopardy! Correct Response/Question

What is Montpelier, Vermont?

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Did you know that you can now find game-by-game stats of everyone, including Austin Rogers, who has won 10 or more games on Jeopardy!, here on the site?


Keith Williams over at The Final Wager, a couple of years ago, called STATE CAPITALS the worst Final Jeopardy category. And like the first paragraph of that article, this was a wordplay clue that has little to do with geography. Of course, this specific fact wasn’t touched on in Keith’s State Capital wordplay article (which probably explains why the writers went with it), but another fact about Montpelier is that it’s the least populous state capital (with just 7,855 people, as per the 2010 census.)

I guess the “1805” clue was good in that it could at least orient you in the right part of the country as a starting point, but it feels like so many STATE CAPITALS clues are really, really difficult to come up with the correct response to in 30 seconds.

(In case you’re also wondering, Keith does give some fun wordplay facts about some of the other state capitals)

And, of course, now that the tournament’s over, we go back to regular play on Monday. Kara Chandler returns as champion, if you haven’t yet, you really should check out the interview she did with #JeopardyLivePanel – she really is a hoot!


In memory of Cindy Stowell, I’ll be donating $2 to the Cancer Research Institute for every item sold in November from our store!. Here are our top sellers; all prices are in US dollars!


Looking to find out who won Jeopardy! today? Tonight’s results are below!

Scores going into Final:
Buzzy $25,600
Austin $10,200
Alan $1,600


Tonight’s results:
Alan $1,600 – $1,200 = $400 + $8,800 = $9,200 (What is) 2nd place, $100,000
Austin $10,200 – $10,000 = $200 + $6,500 = $6,700 (What is Indianapolis?) 3rd place, $50,000
Buzzy $25,600 – $1,301 = $24,299 (What is Love You!) **1st place, $250,000***


Buzzy Cohen, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the November 17, 2017 episode.)


Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
Austin $6,200
Alan $5,600
Buzzy $2,800


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Opening break taken after: 15 clues


Daily Double locations:
1) MUSICAL GROUP NAMES DEFINED $1000 (7th pick)
Austin 1600 +1600 (Alan 600 Buzzy 400)
2) THE BODY HUMAN $1600 (10th pick)
Buzzy 10800 +10800 (Austin 9000 Alan 4800)
3) EPONYMS $2000 (19th pick)
Alan 10400 -10400 (Buzzy 23200 Austin 9000)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 100


Unplayed clues:
J! round: MONSTER MASH $200
DJ! Round: WORLD THEATER $400, 5 EXES $400, 4 O’S $400
Total $ Left On Board: $1,400


Game Stats:
Buzzy $16,400 Coryat, 18 correct, 0 incorrect, 28.30% in first on buzzer
Alan $12,000 Coryat, 13 correct, 4 incorrect, 30.19% in first on buzzer
Austin $9,600 Coryat, 15 correct, 2 incorrect, 30.19% in first on buzzer
Combined Coryat Score: $38,000
Lach Trash: $8,400 (on 9 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $6,200


Buzzy Cohen, stats to date:
279 correct, 48 incorrect
35.14% in first on buzzer (273/777)
16/22 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $35,400)
8/14 in Final Jeopardy!
Average Coryat: $13,800


Alan Lin, stats to date:
225 correct, 25 incorrect
34.80% in first on buzzer (214/615)
10/15 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $8,805)
7/11 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $15,873


Austin Rogers, stats to date:
401 correct, 54 incorrect
39.71% in first on buzzer (378/952)
24/31 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $105,700)
14/17 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $16,435


Miscellaneous:

  • Buzzy is the first player to score $0 in the first day of a Tournament of Champions final and come back to win the tournament.
  • This is the first Tournament of Champions final in which the three players went 0 for 6 combined in Final Jeopardy over the course of the final.
  • Thanks to Mark Barrett for providing me with a full chart of this game.

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Contestant photo credit: jeopardy.com

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35 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – November 17, 2017"

  1. Aaaggghhh…one of these to determine a T. of C.? What a shame.

  2. We learned this in 5th grade. I wager they all answer Montpelier.

    But, then, I thought they’d all get iPhone, too. . .

    Thanks for the fun, gentlemen.

  3. another softball final jeopardy in the TOC.

    • @RT

      so was yesterday’s clue, right? Yet a big WHIFF>

      Austin wins the ToC, 2 correct (and that is optimistic). The contestants should know how sneaky J is and start going through the states from the bottom (Wyoming) and going up, don’t start with Alabama.

      One learned it maybe in school, one get’s there in time (of course first of all you have to know where and what Montpelier is) and one will draw a blank.So the 2 correct are actually OVERoptimistic.I am on the fence between 1 and 2 correct. But let’s stay with the 2. This time the correct answer (if somebody gets that far) will not be redacted, after all, how many capitals fit the clue? If only one or nobody gets it then this ToC will have been a big disappointment.Unless all 3 will play like champions and the numbers before FJ will be way higher than yesterday
      Guessing 2 correct instead of 1 is a big advance I am giving the players,remembering yesterday’s FJ. I hope they will live up to it and that we’ll also see some of the fireworks that were missing yesterday.

      In any event, have a great weekend everybody!!!

  4. I think I hear that Aerosmith song, “Dream On.”

  5. Although the clue sounds easy, there are a few things that may make it tougher for the three to solve correctly in time, even if you immediately deduce Eastern states and can see the map of the US in your head: (1) Montpelier was NOT the capital when Vermont entered the Union in 1791 (apparently there was none until 1805), and (2) Montpelier is a long word to write, and potentially easy to leave out a letter (or syllable) if you’re rushing to finish in the allotted time. I’m assuming that a partial (e.g., Montpel) would NOT be ruled correct?

  6. Part of the fun of Jeopardy is the viewer’s option to decide for themselves (at least some of the time) into thinking they could do better than the contestants. Except for a Brad Rutter or Ken Jennings calibre champion, such an opinion is likely more self-deception than fact.

    Clever clues like today’s FJ, which initially seem simple, but are really not, are what make Jeopardy the the unique and outstanding show that it is.

    • You’re right. My “aaaggghh” was at yet another State Capital/race to find the right state clue, and in the T of C yet. I like the games to be determined on knowledge and not mental gymnastics.

    • As I recall, neither I nor any of the eliminated contestants sitting near me–at least, in murmuring range–got this one in time. And there was definitely some “ohhhhhh” when the answer was revealed. So…seconding the comment above.

      • (By which I mean Scott William’s comment above.)

      • Oh, hi! I think I was sitting near you at that point and I concur with this memory. I was probably even one of the people going “ohhhhh.” Lilly, I think, was the one who additionally pointed out before the question even appeared that State Capitals had been declared one of the worst categories.

        I got stuck because 1805 put me somewhere geographically near Ohio or so in terms of where the US was in its westward expansion and as a result, when trying to search my brain for the right answer, my mental map exploration never got all the way up to New England in the 30 second time period. I always forget that Vermont wasn’t one of the 13 original colonies.

        (Incidentally, I haven’t seen it come up at all on this site that Pranjal and Lilly knew each other beforehand and lived on rival floors in the same dorm in college. I would have loved to have had a Putz-Tetazoo battle in the final, even though only a very small subset of people would have had any idea that that was what was going on.)

  7. I wonder if the was the first T. Of C. with 6 incorrect responses in FJ?

      • Yes and I was still too optimistic. 2 “softball” clues where the majority of our group went for a 3/3 both times, yet not a single correct response in both games. Since Buzzy’s real name is “Austin”, somebody named “Austin” won…(by proxy,so to speak….:):) )

        I am sure he will have had a nice weekend after his win and the same to all of you!! And congratulations to Buzzy!

        @Andy
        You know these things:
        If Austin as third place finisher had accumulated more than the $50.000 guaranteed amount, would he have been given the 50 K or what he really earned (say 55.201 for example and hypothetically speaking)??

        I think I remember tournaments where players were given the amont earned, even when it was above the “guarantee”. Idk if that applies to the ToC as well, I think it was a teen or college tournament, quite a while ago.

        • If you exceed the guarantee, you get the guarantee.

          • Alex said himself at the top of today’s show, they are “minimum guarantees”. If you finish third, but earn more than 50k, you receive whatever you’ve earned. 50k wouldn’t be a minimum guarantee otherwise, no?

        • In the Tournament of Champions, those minimum guarantees haven’t been exceeded since they were set at the current levels in 2006. The last player to do so was 2003 first runner-up Brian Weikle ($56,601, eclipsing the then-guarantee of $50,000).

          On the current payout structure for non-ToC tournament finals of $100K/$50K/$25K (College Championship since 2004, Teachers Tournament since its inception in 2011, and Teen Tournament starting last year), only twice has a player taken home their two-day final score – the second runners-up in the 2009 and February 2010 College Championships.

          I’ve just added a page that has year-by-year ToC data, including the payout structure for each tournament.

  8. Denny D'Andrea | November 17, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Reply

    This was a most enjoyable JEOPARDY finals! All of the men had a great sense of humor and did not act like this was an ‘end of the world’ contest. I started watching JEOPARDY in 1964 when it first aired during the day. I used to stay home from school to watch! I thought the questions were REALLY hard but being only 13 at the time I guess they were. I wonder if anyone could produce those ancient shows and list the questions that were used in those first 3 years or so. Just to compare to today’s questions. Categories would be fun to see too! 🙂

  9. It’s the same with all the tournaments, and it’s probably more likely to come into play in those with lower guaranteed minimum levels.

  10. I was knocked out in the second round of a tournament game. I had blown my chance and I was not in a good state to think. The clue for Final was a similar wordplay in State Songs: “This state’s song rhymes “Patriotic Gore” with the name of its largest city.” I really couldn’t think given the circumstances, put down a wrong answer, and came up with the right one before time expired but before I could change it.

    Tonight’s clue is similar, except I was on my couch with no pressure. I got it before Alex finished the clue.

    Point is, wordplay is tough under pressure. Alan had just unfortunately lost it all on a big bet. Austin needed a correct answer. Anyone who hasn’t played really knows how tough it is when there’s a lot of stuff on the line and you’ve been “on” for 30 minutes and you don’t have the visual cues to go along with the music to know how much time you have left.

    Congrats to Buzzy! I underestimated him! But he pulled it out every time.

  11. Congratulations, Buzzy! Now that that’s over, I think a new site policy limiting comments to five thousand words or less should be considered…

  12. This was one of those games in which the “quirks” (for lack of a better term) of the rules really decided the outcome. Looking at just the Coryat scores, which I suppose is the best indication of the game when reduced to pure skill (as much as it can be), Alan wins the tournament with Austin close behind.

    But that’s why things like Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy wagering are there, to dampen pure skill (or deep knowledge or quick buzzer reflexes or making good wagers or however you want to define it) as the determining factor, and adding an element of luck to the equation to equalize the board, so to speak (not to mention provide a more entertaining game to watch). It’s really fascinating to try to consider the game as a ratio between the skill required to win vs. luck involved in pulling out a victory (I’m sure some viewers prefer watching skill-heavy games, others like seeing luck add an element of chaos).

    Here, luck was on Buzzy’s side with the Daily Double coming up after he was in a position to really capitalize on it, which he did.

    The story of this tournament, then, could easily be reduced to Buzzy having the balls to bet big after a good run put him into the lead, and thus put him in the position to hold onto it.

    It also put pressure on Alan to similarly make a huge Daily Double bet, which he missed, which pretty much killed his chances of winning the whole thing.

    Even with all that, Austin still was in range to win the tourney if he were right on that last Final Jeopardy (assuming Buzzy still went with ‘Love You’). But then he was also screwed a bit because the big bet needed to win was also enough to drop him to third due to the day 1 results. (Such is the nature of these things).

    But, nothing to complain about since everyone knows the rules and format going into it and wouldn’t be playing if they didn’t agree to abide by them.

  13. I started going through state capitals during the commercial break. Montpelier was one of the first ones I thought about. Come back from commercial, hear the clue, immediately forget everything I had been previously thinking about. Yes, this is a horrible category.

  14. I want buzzy to replace trebek.

  15. I was so disappointed to not be able to watch the final ToJ but glad to know Buzzy won! Of course would have been happy for any one of them! The pressure must be awful😃

  16. 20/20 hindsight: If Austin had wagered $4499, he’d have locked in 2nd place/$100,000 and still had a go at 1st/$250,000 if Buzzy bets big and loses. Seems like a safer bet. Though, it’s not all about safety, right?

    • No. A bet of $4,499 leaves Austin short of Buzzy.

      • Yes, I realize that. But, it assures Austin second place while still having a shot at 1st IF (as I noted) Buzzy bets big and loses. For my money, it’s the best bet to assure $100,000 while still having a shot at $250,000 (depending, of course, on what Buzzy bets, and how he answers).

        • I hope that if I ever am in that position, my opponents choose to act like you have proposed here.

        • Seriously. This is the Tournament of Champions. Buzzy isn’t going to over-bet. Nobody is going to over-bet here in Buzzy’s position.

          I can hardly conceive of the thought process of someone who would willingly bet to not give oneself an actual chance to win the game in such a scenario.

          Especially if you consider that the winner of a ToC is more significantly more likely to receive a future super-tournament invite over second place (look at Brian Weikle, Doug Hicton, and so many others who didn’t get a Battle of the Decades invite despite finishing a close 2nd in their ToC), the expected value of super-tournaments is more than enough to make the bet for the tournament here the correct play every single time.

        • I’ve also done the math. I’ve assumed the general average, that Austin is 50% to get this Final Jeopardy! right, and that he’s 20% to be the only person to get Final Jeopardy! right between him and Buzzy. I’m also assuming a 1% chance that the leader makes a stupid overwager and loses the tournament.

          Not taking any future tournaments into account (as it could be said that both Austin and Buzzy could probably get invited here), Austin is 20% to win 250,000 (him right, Buzzy wrong), 30% to win 100,000 (him and Buzzy right), and 50% to win 50,000 (Austin wrong). Expected value: $105,000.

          With your suggestion: 1% chance of winning $250,000 and 99% chance of winning $100,000. Expected value: $101,500.

          So, the math is clear: Austin made the smart bet here (to say nothing of the fact that it plays to win the game.)

  17. Not sure if anyone is still talking about the ToC, but I juat finished watching on my DVR. I was fairly disappointed in the leniency on some of the responses.
    1) Austin’s response of “Benedict” on Day 1 should have been prompted or ruled incorrect. There are 15 other Popes Benedict who would be rather offended to be confused with a Hitler youth member, presumably.
    2) on Day 2, a response of “tricep” was accepted, referring to the muscle in the back of the arm. The proper singular is “triceps” being a shortening of “triceps brachii.” It means “three head.” There is no such muscle as the “tricep.”

    I would also dispute the categorization of fungi as “plant like” in one of the Day 1 clues. Biologically, plants and fungi are as dissimilar as are plants and animals. They belong to different taxonomic kingdoms.

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