Today’s Final Jeopardy – Thursday, December 3, 2020

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category 19th Century Americans) for Thursday, December 3, 2020 (Season 37, Game 59):

In 1858 these 2 men faced each other in Alton, Freeport, Galesburg & 4 other nearby towns

(correct response beneath the contestants)

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Today’s contestants:

Fred Nelson, a university professor originally from Manhattan, Kansas
Fred Nelson on Jeopardy!
Morgan Steele, a theatre manager from Berkeley, California
Morgan Steele on Jeopardy!
Leslie Minot, a grant writer from Las Vegas, Nevada (1-day total: $2,700)
Leslie Minot on Jeopardy!

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Correct response: Who are (Abraham) Lincoln & (Stephen) Douglas?

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In 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Steven Douglas, in their attempts to win the Illinois General Assembly for their respective parties (as the winning party would then appoint Lincoln or Douglas to the Senate) agreed to debate each other on the issue of slavery in seven of the nine Illinois congressional districts. (They had already spoken in Springfield and Chicago within a day of each other). The seven debates were widely reported on nationally and many traveled from out-of-state to attend a debate first-hand (it was reported that nearly 10,000 attended in Alton.) In spite of Douglas being elected to the Senate in 1858, the debates raised Lincoln’s profile to the point that he received the Republican nomination for President in 1860 (and was then elected President later that same year).

In addition to Alton (October 15), Freeport (August 27), and Galesburg (October 7), debates were held in the Illinois locations of Ottawa (August 21), Jonesboro (September 15), Charleston (September 18), and Quincy (October 13). From a question-writing perspective, it was a good idea to only clue “Alton, Freeport, Galesburg, and four others”—the four others are definitely locations better associated with places that are not Illinois.

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

Scores going into Final:
Fred $15,000
Leslie $14,800
Morgan $5,000

Tonight’s results:
Morgan $5,000 – $4,997 = $3 (Who are Doc Holliday & Wyatt Earp? :))
Leslie $14,800 – $14,700 = $100 (Who were Lee & Grant?)
Fred $15,000 + $5,001 = $20,001 (Who are Lincoln + Douglas) (1-day total: $20,001)

Fred Nelson, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the December 3, 2020 game.)

Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
Fred $4,200
Leslie $3,600
Morgan $1,800


Opening break taken after: 15 clues

Daily Double locations:
1) NEW YORK CITIES’ NICKNAMES $800 (clue #15)
Fred 2800 -1000 (Leslie 2600 Morgan 400)
2) POETIC CHARACTERS $1200 (clue #8)
Leslie 4000 +2000 (Morgan 3800 Fred 9000)
3) HEALTH & MEDICINE $1600 (clue #25)
Leslie 14800 -2000 (Morgan 3800 Fred 13800)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 1

Unplayed clues:
J! Round: None!
DJ! Round: None!
Total Left On Board: $0
Number of clues left unrevealed this season: 115 (1.95 per episode average), 2 Daily Doubles

Game Stats:
Fred $16,000 Coryat, 20 correct, 6 incorrect, 40.35% in first on buzzer (23/57), 2/2 on rebound attempts (on 3 rebound opportunities)
Leslie $16,000 Coryat, 18 correct, 1 incorrect, 26.32% in first on buzzer (15/57), 2/2 on rebound attempts (on 8 rebound opportunities)
Morgan $5,000 Coryat, 11 correct, 3 incorrect, 22.81% in first on buzzer (13/57), 1/1 on rebound attempts (on 5 rebound opportunities)
Combined Coryat Score: $37,000
Lach Trash: $8,800 (on 9 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $8,200

Leslie Minot, career statistics:
27 correct, 6 incorrect
4/4 on rebound attempts (on 14 rebound opportunities)
21.05% in first on buzzer (24/114)
1/3 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: -$500)
0/2 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $10,600

Morgan Steele, career statistics:
11 correct, 4 incorrect
1/1 on rebound attempts (on 5 rebound opportunities)
22.81% in first on buzzer (13/57)
0/0 on Daily Doubles
0/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $5,000

Fred Nelson, career statistics:
21 correct, 6 incorrect
2/2 on rebound attempts (on 3 rebound opportunities)
40.35% in first on buzzer (23/57)
0/1 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: -$1,000)
1/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $16,000

Fred Nelson, to win:
2 games: 48.252%
3: 23.282%
4: 11.234%
5: 5.421%
6: 2.616%
Avg. streak: 1.932 games.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • On the final clue of Double Jeopardy, I was disappointed by both Fred’s attempt at a guess, and then Leslie’s failure to guess once Fred gave an incorrect response. With how the scores were, the only way Fred could lose the lead going into Final was to be incorrect. Once Fred was incorrect, it essentially gave Leslie a free shot at the lead. Leslie would have risked absolutely nothing position-wise in making a guess at that point.
  • My best explanation for Fred’s Final Jeopardy! wager, looking at it, was that he was trying to keep Morgan locked out but made a math error. I have no other explanation.
  • As much as I was disappointed with gameplay in parts today, I do need to point out that variety is the spice of life, and that if everybody played the way I would play, the game would be much more predictable and boring. Part of the drama in Final Jeopardy! is that people don’t always bet the way that you expect that they would.

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17 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Thursday, December 3, 2020"

  1. Though Lincoln became POTUS I think we’ll face a triple whiff again today.

  2. I knew the answer instantly and I think all three contestants will also.

  3. I would’ve loved this Final as a player, because I have a son named Lincoln. I would’ve quickly written (Who) are Lincoln and Douglas? Then down below (Hi Lincoln and Austin) for my boys. They frown on that, but hey, it’s your 30 minutes of fame.

  4. Even though she didn’t win, kudos to Leslie for having a much more impressive game today!

  5. It’s interesting to review how your thought process works on these clues. When I saw “face-off” I immediately thought of a duel, but then realized successive encounters wouldn’t be plausible, then somehow recognized those as Illinois towns, and the 1858 date confirmed it had to be Lincoln-Douglas, which I recall learning about in school. All this in less than 5 seconds. Maybe these debates aren’t covered much anymore in school curricula? That would be unfortunate. Anyway, good final Jeopardy.

    • Ben (Glutton for Punishment) | December 4, 2020 at 4:14 pm |

      I’m not sure if it’s generational, Leslie and Morgan are different ages and both missed it. I’m between their ages and don’t remember it specifically being covered in class, but had friends on the speech and debate team. Maybe more of a “what was your high school clique?” final. Morgan, working in theater, would’ve hung out with that crowd presumably. I did see the generation gap on display in regulation though, with Fred nailing clues about vintage pop culture (Wilt Chamberlain, Rex Harrison, etc.)

  6. Because of the date I knew it wasn’t the Civil War. Because there were repeat meetings I Kennewick it did not involve gunplay. That made the Lincoln/Douglas debates the obvious answers even if I did not recognize the cities.

  7. Finally, an easy FJ for me. I live in between two of those towns, and have been to the third many times. Although I admit my first thought was, “You mean other states have a place named Galesburg? That’s strange.” Then it clicked in. I admit I did consider a duel first, but thought it would have been a pretty lousy duel if they had to do it that many times.

  8. Brad (not Rutter) | December 3, 2020 at 5:18 pm |

    I’m not smart, and even I thought this was an easy FJ.

  9. I expected all three to get this. I wonder if I may be overestimating how common knowledge the topic is though, given that I did Lincoln-Douglas debate in high school.

  10. Pizza Face Fred | December 3, 2020 at 10:34 pm |

    So many parenthetical remarks, so little time . . .

  11. Interesting observation about the last clue in Double, Andy, but I think we vastly overestimate contestants’ abilities to see what the score is in the midst of non-FJ, non-Daily Double play. Even if Fred and Leslie took the time to look up at their scores, I think it’s asking too much to also expect them to do quick head math and make a decision on ringing or not ringing in, all in the span of a few seconds.

    Contestants who can do that, of course, probably stand a good chance of doing damn well!

    • Ben (Glutton for Punishment) | December 4, 2020 at 3:03 pm |

      As a former contestant, I concur, I checked the scoreboard once when I was 50/50 on a $2,000 clue that nobody initially rang in on, and ran out of time. I knew a royal but not the Roman numeral, and it turns out they were the first and only, and no Roman numeral would’ve been correct. Which was a relief, my standard plan is always to guess II if pushed. That being said, you have time to do the math on the Final, and Andy’s analysis is required reading. Criticisms of that are fair game.

  12. Adam Francois Watkins | December 3, 2020 at 11:35 pm |

    What an odd wager from our new champ. I agree with you Andy that it seemed like he was trying to cover third place but added a buck instead of subtracting. It’s not unusual to see … surprising … bets from second and third place but I am so used to seeing the standard cover bet from first that it was jarring. Still, if it’s a bad category for you, first place can reasonably bet small and hope that second place misses too.

    Also glad to see Leslie do well, especially after Alex’s opening remarks were less than generous. (Still love Alex of course).

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