Today’s Final Jeopardy – February 15, 2019


Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category 19th Century Inventors) for Friday, February 15, 2019 (Season 35, Episode 115):

He spent his life improving a plant-based substance he described as a “vegetable leather” or “elastic metal”

(correct response beneath the contestants)


Today’s contestants:

Mark Smith, an environmental scientist from Salem, Ohio
Mark Smith on Jeopardy!
Amanda Holm, a project manager from Livonia, Michigan
Amanda Holm on Jeopardy!
Eric R. Backes, an attorney & government relations professional from Round Rock, Texas (4-day total: $105,602)
Eric R. Backes on Jeopardy!

At the end of today’s game, we’ll be exactly 50% of the way through Season 35!

With his win yesterday, Eric moves up on the ToC Tracker and is now at spot #9! If he wins today, he becomes the first person since Austin Rogers to win all 5 games on a taping day.

The Jeopardy! Book of Answers is out now! Here’s my review.

Are you going on the show and looking for information about how to bet in Final Jeopardy? Check out my new Betting Strategy 101 page!

I recently updated my tournament wild card models with as much tournament data that I’ve been able to find! If you’re playing in a tournament, you’ll want to check this out!

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Correct response: Who is Charles Goodyear?


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?


More information about Final Jeopardy:

Prior to Charles Goodyear, rubber had a big problem: It would melt in the summer heat and freeze completely hard in winter. The original rubber was a brief fad in the early 1830s, before being discarded, melted, in summer’s warmth. After years of experimentation, though, and with his health failing, he perfected the process of what later became known as vulcanizing the rubber, using sulfur and pressurized steam. The vulcanized rubber makes it stronger, more flexible, and more resistant to the environment.

A fascinating story about the life of Charles Goodyear can be found at the Goodyear website.


There’s always something new coming into The Jeopardy! Fan Online Store, including something perfect for Boston baseball fans! Here are our top-selling items!


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

Scores going into Final:
Eric $20,300
Amanda $17,200
Mark $6,200


Tonight’s results:
Mark $6,200 – $200 = $6,000 (Who was G.W. Carver?)
Amanda $17,200 – $4,000 = $13,200 (1-day total: $13,200) (Who was Dupont?)
Eric $20,300 – $14,101 = $6,199 (Who is Carver?)


Amanda Holm, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the February 15, 2019 episode.)


Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
Eric $10,300
Amanda $3,400
Mark $200


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Opening break taken after: 15 clues


Daily Double locations:
1) BODY PARTS IN LATIN $600 (20th pick)
Eric 7000 +2500 (Amanda 1600 Mark -800)
2) WHAT “A” CITY $1600 (7th pick)
Mark 1800 +2000 (Eric 12700 Amanda 4200)
3) FRANZ KAFKA $1600 (25th pick)
Amanda 11000 +3000 (Eric 18700 Mark 7400)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 163


Unplayed clues:
J! round: YOU HAD TO BE THERE $1000
DJ! Round: None!
Total $ Left On Board: $1,000


Game Stats:
Amanda $15,600 Coryat, 15 correct, 0 incorrect, 25.00% in first on buzzer
Eric $18,400 Coryat, 27 correct, 3 incorrect, 50.00% in first on buzzer, 1/1 on rebound attempts
Mark $5,800 Coryat, 11 correct, 4 incorrect, 23.21% in first on buzzer, 1/1 on rebound attempts
Combined Coryat Score: $40,000
Lach Trash: $6,400 (on 6 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $6,600


Eric R. Backes, final stats:
135 correct, 15 incorrect
3/4 on rebound attempts
47.35% in first on buzzer (134/283)
4/7 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $4,000)
3/5 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $21,560


Amanda Holm, stats to date:
15 correct, 1 incorrect
0/0 on rebound attempts
25.00% in first on buzzer (14/56)
1/1 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $3,000)
0/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $15,800


Amanda Holm, to win:
2 games: 55.85%
3: 31.20%
4: 17.42%
5: 9.73%
6: 5.44%
Avg. streak: 2.265 games.


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Tournament of Champions projections:
With a projected 125 regular-play games to go prior to the Tournament of Champions cutoff, after 500,000 simulations, our model shows:
An average of 3.5708 5+-time champions (standard deviation 1.5836).
An average of 6.4449 4+-time champions (standard deviation 1.9514).

An early cutoff took place 3.759% of the time (or a 5-game winner will be left out).

Amanda Holm qualified 10.188% of the time.
Eric R. Backes qualified 86.576% of the time.
Anneke Garcia qualified 69.928% of the time.
Dave Leffler qualified 46.012% of the time.
Jonathan Dinerstein qualified 21.043% of the time.
Alex Schmidt qualified 5.134% of the time.
John Presloid qualified 0.702% of the time.


Andy’s Thoughts:

  • As best as I can tell, Eric is the 7th straight 4-time champion to lose in going for win #5.
  • Also, as best as I can tell, Eric is the 9th person since Austin Rogers’ run to win on Monday through Thursday, and then lose on Friday.
  • Today was one of those games where the strategy leaves you scratching your head a bit. But the winner is the one with the most amount of money at the end, and that’s all that matters.
  • Effective in first on buzzer stats: Amanda 25.45% (14/55), Eric 50.91% (28/55), Mark 13/55 (23.64%)

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30 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – February 15, 2019"

  1. I really like this Final. Those are two interesting terms, but you can see how it fits. The 19th century tag really helps.

  2. Great timing for NASCAR fans who watch Jeopardy if they can make the connection. Their attention would have been on the Dayton 500 coverage this week, and Goodyear is the tire used by NASCAR.

  3. Before the results are known, I always like to think who might do well on a clue based on what little we know about them. For this one, I like the chances of both challengers; an environmental scientist, and someone who lives close to Detroit.

  4. Heads-up: Results have been delayed as there was a pre-emption on the early airing.

  5. very good final……… i guessed levi strauss, which is ok but doesn’t completely fit clue

  6. Duh! The environmental scientist lives 40 miles from Akron and sees the blimp all the time. It will forevermore be the G.W. Carver blimp to me! LOL! Good wager by Amanda!

  7. Do I not know how to do math?

  8. Good luck in the TOC, Eric!

  9. Actually, Austin Rogers lost on a Thursday, not a Friday, and since him, we haven’t had a player sweeping a week, aka, winning all 5 games in a single day. CURSES!

  10. @Andy
    Eric bet 14.201 in FJ, otherwise he would have lost by 99 bucks had Amanda doubled up and Eric and Amanda had been right….

  11. Andy,

    Does your model for estimating the “Avg. Streak” of the current champion explicitly take into account the day of the week that the first win occurred – especially given the recent difficulty of champs to win all five episodes in a week (aka single tape day)? Or is it included implicitly using your database of past winners?

    • Art:

      It does not at the moment; however, I am in the process of investigating which day of the week players tend to lose.

      (Interestingly, back during Ken Jennings’ run, his worst day was Monday. But that has definitely changed these days.)

  12. BassPlayingSugarplum | February 15, 2019 at 5:13 pm |

    I haven’t watched this yet, but I did notice that Eric seemed tired in yesterday’s game. That lunch break is an absolute bitch and it is extremely hard to come back after a full morning of concentration and a break in which you really get no rest. Hence the production staff’s saying of “champions lose after lunch.”

    • Also, I didn’t like my lunch. Super dry bread. 🙁 Thursday was my worst performance overall. I got lucky Mitch didn’t know the FJ. I was on fire for most of Friday, I just got unlucky that I didn’t get that Kafka DD. I would have gotten it right and maybe would have ended up with a lock game. Prague, Metamorphosis and the Trial is the extent of my Kafka knowledge. Amanda played a great game.

  13. Yes, I know that, Eric Backes, but I will remember your 1st day, where you won $48,001 in 1 day. That’s a good day for you.

  14. Wow, lots of comments! I think the tiredness factor IS important for someone up there all day long. It isn’t easy for the challengers either, because they have to wait their turn, but the stress of the actual answering must be enormous.

    • I’ve tried watching several games in a row after being not able to watch for a week and I noticed I was losing effectiveness in the second half of the 3rd game. I’d imagine it is substantially more taxing when there are actual consequences to whether you respond correctly.

  15. The 5-time champ drought rolls on as we end the week with a triple stumper in Final Jeopardy.

  16. I briefly thought of Pasteur before keying in on “elastic” and getting right to Goodyear. I think it helped me that I spent several months working in a tire factory – and a lot of that work consisted of troubleshooting on the molds that carry out the vulcanization process.

    Happy National Flag Day, Andy!

  17. I can’t believe that the curse of 4-day Jeopardy champions losing on their 5th day continues. Really felt Eric was gonna stop that ugly trend but hey he won over $100,000 during his championship reign so good for him.

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