Today’s Final Jeopardy – Wednesday, April 29, 2020


Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category 19th Century Novels) for Wednesday, April 29, 2020 (Season 36, Episode 168):

Its first line ends, “The period was so far like the present period…for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only”

(correct response beneath the contestants)


Today’s contestants:

Anastasia Plakas, an investigator from Flushing, New York
Anastasia Plakas on Jeopardy!
Alwin Hui, a consultant from Washington, D.C.
Alwin Hui on Jeopardy!
Sarah Jett Rayburn, a writer & stay-at-home mom from Hutto, Texas (3-day total: $54,900)
Sarah Jett Rayburn on Jeopardy!

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Correct response: What is A Tale of Two Cities?


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More information about Final Jeopardy:

The entire opening line of Charles Dickens’ 1859 masterwork set in London and Paris:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way— in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

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

Scores going into Final:
Sarah $17,400
Alwin $16,400
Anastasia $11,000


Tonight’s results:
Anastasia $11,000 + $11,000 = $22,000 (What is “A Tale of Two Cities”?)
Alwin $16,400 – $5,601 = $10,799 (What is the Time Machine?)
Sarah $17,400 + $17,000 = $34,400 (What is A Tale of Two Cities?) (4-day total: $89,300)


Sarah Jett Rayburn, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the April 29, 2020 game.)


Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
Anastasia $7,400
Alwin $3,000
Sarah $1,800


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Opening break taken after: 15 clues


Daily Double locations:
1) WRITERS’ MIDDLE NAMES $800 (clue #5)
Anastasia 400 +1000 (Sarah 800 Alwin 800)
2) THERE SHE IS, MYTH GREECE $1600 (clue #4)
Sarah 3000 +2000 (Alwin 3000 Anastasia 8600)
3) THE GOLD BURGS $1200 (clue #24)
Alwin 12200 +3800 (Sarah 15000 Anastasia 10200)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 198


Unplayed clues:
J! Round: WE’D LIKE TO MAKE A CORRECTION $600 SPINELESS JELLYFISH $200
DJ! Round: None!
Total Left On Board: $800
Number of clues left unrevealed this season: 362 (2.15 per episode average), 5 Daily Doubles


Game Stats:
Sarah $17,000 Coryat, 16 correct, 1 incorrect, 21.82% in first on buzzer (12/55), 4/4 on rebound attempts (on 4 rebound opportunities)
Anastasia $10,800 Coryat, 18 correct, 1 incorrect, 30.91% in first on buzzer (17/55), 1/1 on rebound attempts (on 4 rebound opportunities)
Alwin $13,800 Coryat, 16 correct, 3 incorrect, 32.73% in first on buzzer (18/55), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 2 rebound opportunities)
Combined Coryat Score: $41,600
Lach Trash: $7,200 (on 8 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $4,400

Sarah Jett Rayburn, career statistics:
65 correct, 10 incorrect
9/9 on rebound attempts (on 20 rebound opportunities)
27.85% in first on buzzer (61/219)
1/1 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $2,000)
3/4 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $13,800

Alwin Hui, career statistics:
16 correct, 4 incorrect
0/0 on rebound attempts (on 2 rebound opportunities)
32.73% in first on buzzer (18/55)
1/1 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $3,800)
0/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $13,800

Anastasia Plakas, career statistics:
19 correct, 1 incorrect
1/1 on rebound attempts (on 4 rebound opportunities)
30.91% in first on buzzer (17/55)
1/1 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $1,000)
1/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $10,800

Sarah Jett Rayburn, to win:
5 games: 44.127%
6: 19.472%
7: 8.593%
8: 3.792%
9: 1.673%
Avg. streak: 4.790 games.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • I’m reminded today (for some reason) of the old joke, “What do you call an alligator in a vest?”
  • I was very happy to see a category today called SPINELESS JELLYFISH; that’s a callback reference dating all the way back to the ’80s.
  • Judging by the reactions here in the comments section so far, I think I might in the minority tonight in terms of “people who didn’t mind tonight’s Final Jeopardy! clue”. This isn’t the first time that the show has run a “clue that is technically correct but worded to potentially lead someone down the wrong path”. Some viewers find that unfair. I don’t. There’s enough in the clue—namely, the contrast in “for good or for evil”—that points you directly to A Tale of Two Cities, even though one probably doesn’t remember the exact line.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • I’m reminded today (for some reason) of the old joke, “What do you call an alligator in a vest?”
  • I was very happy to see a category today called SPINELESS JELLYFISH; that’s a callback reference dating all the way back to the ’80s.
  • Judging by the reactions here in the comments section so far, I think I might in the minority tonight in terms of “people who didn’t mind tonight’s Final Jeopardy! clue”. This isn’t the first time that the show has run a “clue that is technically correct but worded to potentially lead someone down the wrong path”. Some viewers find that unfair. I don’t. There’s enough in the clue—namely, the contrast in “for good or for evil”—that points you directly to A Tale of Two Cities, even though one probably doesn’t remember the exact line.

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13 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Wednesday, April 29, 2020"

  1. Chris Stratton | April 29, 2020 at 9:30 am |

    I’m calling bs on that final. Everyone thinks of it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It is highly deceptive to refer to that phrase very deep in that long sentence as the “first line.“ If the question had said “included in the first sentence,” that would’ve been accurate and non-deceptive. This one pisses me off. I immediately thought of the “correct answer,“ but with steered off by that one word, “line.“ This is one of my all-time least favorite FJ clues. Right up there with plumbago.

  2. “Line” should have been replaced with “sentence.” I’m sure Sarah will say something about it. 3 FJ rounds, and she has “broken protocol” in all 3, albeit in a highly amusing and charming way. I find her delightful and hope she can stretch it out to qualify for ToC!

  3. John McCleary | April 29, 2020 at 11:26 am |

    Yay! HUGE win for Sarah today! We just need her to win tomorrow and she’s off to the Tournament of Champions. The big win will also help her break the $100,000 mark for her 5th win.

  4. I thought of 19th century novels I knew the opening to….and thought, well that doesn’t sound like it would work after ‘call me Ishmael’. so, correctly guessed the right answer – the only other 19th century novel i know the opening to.

  5. Congrats to Sarah! Almost certainly will make TOC now, happy for her; her story Monday of her daughter’s birth weighing just 2 pounds something and seeing her happy and rooting for mom in the audience was an endearing feel good moment. Sarah also finally got her first DD opportunity in her fourth game, an unlikely 1 of 12 so far.

  6. My two cents on the GOAT tournament playing again in May, rather than the usual Teachers tournament, is that covid-19 concerns have so disrupted the normal Jeopardy schedule that things are very uncertain and likely to go dark very soon just as live sports has.

    But our country/world beginning to open up gives me hope, that the gap between our prerecorded episodes and when the next ones can be safely recorded and shown will be short lived.

  7. I have to agree with Andy. I haven’t read the book in decades, but it was one of those clues whose answer “jumps out” by the way it is phrased. My wife rates herself to be a very average Jeopardy viewer, but even she thinks the clue was very straightforward. Her spoken chain of thought was “Superlatives only? Like best and worst? OH!” And then she was very proud to have reasoned it out without remembering anything about the book except the first dozen words.

  8. Congratulations once again to Sarah for another win!! She even got FJ! correct!! The fact that even one contestant was able to figure out the clue in the allotted 30 seconds, invalidates the premise that the wording was so poorly formulated that no one would have any chance of getting it right.
    Hopefully Sarah will reach $100K in winnings tomorrow or Friday, and we will see her in the ToC.
    I enjoy the fact that Sarah “breaks protocol” at the end. One of my fondest wishes for years is that they leave the microphones on at the end so we can hear the repartee between Alex and the contestants.

  9. Maurine Gutowski | April 29, 2020 at 4:12 pm |

    The clue completely threw me off. Congratulations to Sarah for coming back so spectacularly. The show is scheduled to be preempted again tonight (another Town Hall, which was useless last time) so I will probably not be able see how she does it. I’m missing Dr. Oz right because of the Governor’s latest report. A whole lot of useful things were scheduled to be discussed.

  10. Sorry to say this Maurine, but I would be overjoyed if the self aggrandizing pompous Dr. Oz was preempted every night!

  11. Maurine Gutowski | April 29, 2020 at 9:49 pm |

    Well, the show was NOT preempted, but I fell asleep during a stream of commercials and didn’t see anything at all. Husband said she was very good.

  12. Pizza Face Fred | April 29, 2020 at 10:40 pm |

    If I were the author, I would’ve used a semicolon after each pair of contrasting elements . . .

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