Today’s Final Jeopardy – Monday, May 18, 2020


Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category America in the 1700s) for Monday, May 18, 2020 (Season 36, Game 171):

“Every state shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutred” is in No. 6 of these

(correct response beneath the contestants)


Today’s contestants:

Megan Elliott, a writer & editor from Redlands, California
Megan Elliott on Jeopardy!
Ben Scripps, a television director from Cadillac, Michigan
Ben Scripps on Jeopardy!
Jesse Laymon, a public policy director from Long Island City, New York (2-day total: $43,400)
Jesse Laymon on Jeopardy!

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Correct response: What are the Articles of Confederation?


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More information about Final Jeopardy:

The Articles of Confederation, approved by the Second Continental Congress in November 1777, was the original constitution of the United States of America. This constitution essentially legalized the structure of government that the Continental Congress had already been doing. However, after the American Revolution, the federal government realized that the limitations placed on it rendered it generally ineffective, which led to its repeal in 1789, replaced by the current Constitution.

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

Scores going into Final:
Megan $18,800
Ben $9,400
Jesse $5,400


Tonight’s results:
Jesse $5,400 + $5,200 = $10,600 (What are the Articles of Confederation)
Ben $9,400 + $9,400 = $18,800 (What are the Articles of Confederation?) (1-day total: $18,800)
Megan $18,800 – $2,200 = $16,600 (What is the Bill of Rights?)


Ben Scripps, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the May 18, 2020 game.)


Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
Megan $8,000
Jesse $5,000
Ben $4,000


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Opening break taken after: 15 clues


Daily Double locations:
1) NONFICTION $1000 (clue #11)
Megan 2800 +2000 (Jesse 1600 Ben 1200)
2) LET’S HAVE A PLANET $1200 (clue #3)
Ben 5200 -3000 (Jesse 5000 Megan 8000)
3) DA, YOU SPEAK RUSSIAN $800 (clue #11)
Ben 7400 -2000 (Jesse 4200 Megan 9600)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: -13


Unplayed clues:
J! Round: None!
DJ! Round: None!
Total Left On Board: $0
Number of clues left unrevealed this season: 362 (2.12 per episode average), 5 Daily Doubles


Game Stats:
Ben $14,400 Coryat, 21 correct, 3 incorrect, 36.84% in first on buzzer (21/57), 1/1 on rebound attempts (on 2 rebound opportunities)
Megan $17,800 Coryat, 18 correct, 0 incorrect, 29.82% in first on buzzer (17/57), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 3 rebound opportunities)
Jesse $5,400 Coryat, 12 correct, 2 incorrect, 24.56% in first on buzzer (14/57), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 1 rebound opportunity)
Combined Coryat Score: $37,600
Lach Trash: $10,400 (on 7 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $6,000

Jesse Laymon, career statistics:
54 correct, 7 incorrect
4/5 on rebound attempts (on 11 rebound opportunities)
29.24% in first on buzzer (50/171)
3/3 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $8,400)
3/3 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $8,733

Ben Scripps, career statistics:
22 correct, 3 incorrect
1/1 on rebound attempts (on 2 rebound opportunities)
36.84% in first on buzzer (21/57)
0/2 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: -$5,000)
1/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $14,400

Megan Elliott, career statistics:
18 correct, 1 incorrect
0/0 on rebound attempts (on 3 rebound opportunities)
29.82% in first on buzzer (17/57)
1/1 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $2,000)
0/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $17,800

Ben Scripps, to win:
2 games: 32.717%
3: 10.704%
4: 3.502%
5: 1.146%
6: 0.375%
Avg. streak: 1.486 games.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • The Jeopardy! Fan is of the firm belief that the best course of action in the situation that Megan found herself in is to play for the victory. Remember that since November 2014, ties in regular play after Final Jeopardy! are broken by a tiebreaker clue. I also very firmly disagree with the premise that the show should revert to pre-2015 rules; the world is significantly more connected than it was when the original rule was devised in 1964 and it would be a Standards & Practices nightmare in order to avoid collusion in today’s connected world.
  • Additionally, once Megan chooses to make a wager, I see no real material point in quibbling over the size of that wager from a strategic perspective (so long as she doesn’t bet $7,999 in this case and let Jesse back in the game).

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26 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Monday, May 18, 2020"

  1. John McCleary | May 18, 2020 at 11:31 am |

    Congrats Ben! I have a question, Does anyone have an idea of when Jeopardy will resume taping? It looks like episodes are filmed up to June 12. I don’t want a gap in the season.

  2. George Brett | May 18, 2020 at 11:33 am |

    Hi Andy. Can you please elaborate on what you mean when say “pre 2015 rules” and “collusion”. Thanks

    • Prior to 2015, the rules were that both players returned and kept their money if there was a tie after Final Jeopardy. However, in light of increasing concerns that it was becoming easier for players to collude to tie (and a significant increase in ties at the start of Season 31), the rules were changed to the current ones.

  3. George Brett | May 18, 2020 at 11:42 am |

    Thanks Andy. Clear and concise explanation.

  4. Andy — have to agree with your comment about playing for the victory. In Megan’s situation, the only way I’d personally play for the is if the FJ category is an absolute nightmare for me. If FJ was “Rap Music” or “Sudanese Abstract Watercolorists,” I’d probably bet $0 and hope for a better category in the tiebreaker. Otherwise, any bet between $1 and $7999 would be fine.

    I think that most players on Jeopardy would rather bet on themselves to be right, instead of betting on someone else to be wrong.

  5. Brad (not Rutter) | May 18, 2020 at 5:09 pm |

    I dunno. I would have bet 0. Then you have two chances to win. Either Ben screws up on the first one, or you beat him on the second. Megan put all eggs in one basket. Of course if I felt great about the category I would probably go for the win. I’m sure others have thought it through better, but that’s mt first instinct.

    • Brad: The point is, though, that because there’s a correlation between whether you get Final Jeopardy and your opponent does (often, Final is very easy or very hard) the chances of “opponent gets Final + you miss Final” happening is less than the chances of “opponent gets Final + opponent gets tiebreaker”. “Two chances” here is a fallacy.

    • Vader47000 | May 19, 2020 at 8:44 am |

      I think she felt fine about the category as she seemed to write down an answer quickly. She was just on the wrong track.

  6. Brad (not Rutter) | May 18, 2020 at 7:58 pm |

    Good point. Thanks for the response.

  7. Sad thing for Megan is that had Ben not pulled out that last minute clue, it would have been a runaway. Bill of Rights was an OK response, and would have been my guess had the clue said 2nd instead of 6th.

  8. Jeopardy SHOULD allow ties. To discourage collusion, the tied players should receive half of the money. This way, it won’t increase the amount of money awarded.

    For example, if the top two each finish with scores of $20,000, then they could be co-champions with $10,000 each.

    • Peter:

      The issues are in no way monetary. What you suggest would categorically not remove the potential appearance of collusion and would be a complete non-starter in the eyes of any competent Standards & Practices department.

  9. Pamela Ross | May 19, 2020 at 2:40 am |

    My DVR did not tape today’s apparently new show. So sad. I came here to see if there was an indication of what happened. You confirmed there was a new 5/18/20 shoe and obviously it aired in parts of the country. I’m in NY. I wonder why we were left out of the fun. 😩

    • “New 5/18 SHOW”
      Should never type and hit send in disappointment. ✍🏻

    • I thought it was pretty cool, because Ben arrived at exactly half of Megan’s score by correctly answering the last DJ clue > “At their southern end, the Andes begin in this “fiery” archipelago at the tip of South America”. Answer > What is Tierra Del Fuego? And then Megan got the FJ answer wrong.

    • Vader47000 | May 19, 2020 at 8:42 am |

      My DVR in LA also skipped it, despite the description indicating a new episode. And looking at the next two weeks, my DVR recognizes only 2 of the next 9 as worthy if recording. Of course, AT&T labeled the GOAT replay as the Teachers Tourney, so i’m stumped.

    • Check again. Something strange happened with the way the rerun episodes were classified and it wasn’t initially available for me either, but it appeared in the morning, possibly after an overnight re-airing.

      • I noticed on my DVR that or was but going to record, after having affirmatively been set to record when I looked over the weekend. I don’t know who provides the channel guide, if it is Spectrum, Comcast, FiOS, or whomever, or a third party company, but, the description for the show was changed from indicating a new show, to the generic “classic answer and question show”.

        At least the local affiliate notified us viewers that the show is being moved tonight, for a local political thing!

  10. James Allen | May 19, 2020 at 7:15 am |

    I’m curious. Is there any evidence that players have “colluded to tie” and how exactly would such collusion be achieved? I’m not discounting the notion but it never really occurred to me before.

    • Contestants who know each other might be more predisposed to offer a tie, or, more egregiously, pick a “random” number to both try to end up at.

      • James Allen | May 19, 2020 at 12:00 pm |

        Ok. This begs many questions. How do they two contestants know each other? I suppose there could be a network of would be contestants on social media. At what point could they come to such an agreement? In the green room? If I were to ever consider making such a deal I’d have to trust the person fairly well. Also, it seems shooting for a the same number isn’t all that easy. Also, are players allowed to talk to each other during commercial breaks? (I would imagine not.) It is all very interesting.

        P.S. When they changed the rule, was there a brewing controversy or did they just do it quietly? I’m guessing the latter because I don’t recall hearing about anything, of course my memory could be faulty.

        Thanks for your response and a great site.

  11. Andy, offhand do you recall who answered the most questions with no incorrect answers prior to Final Jeopardy being their only incorrect? Felt so bad for Megan!

  12. No evidence of any wrongdoing; betting to tie/dual champs started happening more often when Arthur Chu was a player, and people caught on to it being a strategy. I think the show just really wanted to avoid the appearance of any possible funny business. Additionally, having only one returning champ every day makes it easier to run the show. If two of your players return, one of the people who flew out to the studio to tape will be unable to play, and the show doesn’t want that mess. Not allowing dual champs is better as far as the show runners are concerned.

    • I was a contestant on Wheel back in 1991, when the winner could appear on up to 3 episodes before being “retired”. I finished in second in my one and only episode.

      But what they did the day I taped was ensure that there would be one or more “local” contestants in the group, so that if there were no retired champ(s) in the week’s worth of shows taped that day, one or more of the local folks would be invited back to a later tape date.

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