Today’s Final Jeopardy – Friday, January 29, 2021

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category British Army History) for Friday, January 29, 2021 (Season 37, Game 90):

The Army’s longest continuous campaign, 1969-2007, began in this Northern Ireland city known by either of 2 different names

(correct response beneath the contestants)

As I said in my recent editorial, if you’re going to express an opinion about one host or another, I ask that you make thoughtful, reasoned arguments. A lot of your opinions on one host over another are going to be a matter of personal taste. Please also remember that a permanent host will not be named until the start of Season 38.

Today’s contestants:

Bo Mendez, museum cultural professional originally from New Braunfels, Texas
Bo Mendez on Jeopardy!
Kristen Seigel, high school Spanish teacher from Columbus, Ohio
Kristen Seigel on Jeopardy!
Zach Newkirk, attorney from Alexandria, Virginia (5-day total: $110,870)
Zach Newkirk on Jeopardy!

Andy’s Pregame Thoughts: Zach Newkirk’s long-awaited title defense turned out swimmingly for him, taking out a 7-time champion in an excellent game yesterday. This should cement him into the 30th Tournament of Champions; as Ken announced yesterday, the time cutoff for the 29th has already taken place, with Brian Chang also locking in a spot in number 30.

PSA: The best way to keep COVID-19 at bay (and keep Jeopardy! producing new episodes) is for everybody to abide by physical distancing guidelines and when you are not able to do so, properly wear a mask. Ensure that your mask covers both your nose and your mouth.

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Correct response: What is Derry/Londonderry?

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More information about Final Jeopardy: (The following write-up is original content and is copyright 2020 The Jeopardy! Fan. It may not be copied without linked attribution back to this page.)

The August 1969 Battle of the Bogside was one of the early confrontations in what became known as The Troubles in Northern Ireland, with Catholic nationalists on one side and Protestant unionists on the other. Due to gerrymandering, the Unionists were the ruling party in a predominantly Catholic area and tensions had been rising until they culminated in clashes between both sides.

The naming of the area in Northern Ireland has become a shibboleth in order to determine which side of The Troubles one is on: nationalists generally prefer Derry, while unionists generally prefer Londonderry.

Which brings me to this: This is the worst Final Jeopardy! clue that the show has ever put together in the 37-year history of the show. Why does the show actually think that in 2021, that it is at all a good and proper idea to make its contestants essentially weigh in on The Troubles, one of the most politically charged and religiously charged events in the Western world in the late 20th century, in order to win on the show? Note that the clue is asking contestants to give only one of the two names. There is a nonzero chance that contestants are going to be harassed by supporters of the other side because of which response they elect to put down here. Here at The Jeopardy! Fan, I am spitting nails when it comes to this one. Mike Richards, you should have vetoed this clue. Forcing your contestants to weigh in on these matters in 2021 is a mark of an incompetent Executive Producer. Sony needs to find a new one.

One thing that I would like to say: This is a fan site. It has absolutely no ties to the show. If you would like to provide feedback to the show on this clue, you can go to their website and fill out the Contact form there.

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

Scores going into Final:
Zach $17,000
Kristen $7,000
Bo $4,400

Tonight’s results:
Bo $4,400 – $4,000 = $400 (What is Belfast?)
Kristen $7,000 – $1,900 = $5,100 (What is Belfast?)
Zach $17,000 – $2,999 = $14,001 (What is Belfast?) (6-day total: $124,871)

Zach Newkirk, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the January 29, 2021 game.)

Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
Zach $4,800
Bo $3,000
Kristen $2,600


Opening break taken after: 15 clues

Daily Double locations:
1) LINCOLN BLOGS $800 (clue #4)
Zach 800 +1000 (Kristen 0 Bo 400)
2) AROUND THE CARIBBEAN $2000 (clue #6)
Zach 6800 +3000 (Kristen 1800 Bo 1400)
3) BIG STAR $2000 (clue #27, $4800 left on board)
Bo 5800 -2600 (Zach 15000 Kristen 5400)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 99

Unplayed clues:
DJ! Round: None!
Total Left On Board: $600
Number of clues left unrevealed this season: 152 (1.69 per episode average), 2 Daily Doubles

Game Stats:
Zach $15,800 Coryat, 18 correct, 2 incorrect, 30.91% in first on buzzer (17/55), 1/1 on rebound attempts (on 7 rebound opportunities)
Kristen $7,000 Coryat, 10 correct, 2 incorrect, 18.18% in first on buzzer (10/55), 1/2 on rebound attempts (on 8 rebound opportunities)
Bo $7,000 Coryat, 17 correct, 7 incorrect, 40.00% in first on buzzer (22/55), 1/1 on rebound attempts (on 3 rebound opportunities)
Combined Coryat Score: $29,800
Lach Trash: $12,600 (on 12 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $11,000

Zach Newkirk, career statistics:
115 correct, 15 incorrect
11/14 on rebound attempts (on 32 rebound opportunities)
29.88% in first on buzzer (98/328)
8/12 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $17,000)
4/6 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $16,400

Kristen Seigel, career statistics:
10 correct, 3 incorrect
1/2 on rebound attempts (on 8 rebound opportunities)
18.18% in first on buzzer (10/55)
0/0 on Daily Doubles
0/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $7,000

Bo Mendez, career statistics:
17 correct, 8 incorrect
1/1 on rebound attempts (on 3 rebound opportunities)
40.00% in first on buzzer (22/55)
0/1 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: -$2,600)
0/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $7,000

Zach Newkirk, to win:
7 games: 57.175%
8: 32.690%
9: 18.691%
10: 10.686%
11: 6.110%
Avg. streak: 7.335 games.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • The clue was still wildly inappropriate, but all three players managed to duck it by picking Belfast. Crisis averted?

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41 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Friday, January 29, 2021"

  1. I like to imagine Zach is over the moon about retaining his title and beating a 7-day champ.

  2. I knew the answer was Londonderry. It is the only city in Northern Irekand that I know. I wouldn’t have gotten it from the other info in the clue. I suspect Zach knows it and will win Game #6.

  3. I agree with Andy that Mike Richards should have nixed this FJ. Similarly, a clue that prompts contestants to take a side on the name of the Persian Gulf/Arabian Gulf should be rejected. I’m sure we can ID other clues with similar problems.

  4. My only hope is that Zach comes up with a correct response in FJ! and wins the game.
    I agree, this topic is one which is probably better avoided. But everyone knows, that to win this game, one or the other of these city names must be written down. However, this act, to win the game, does not in the least, make me think ANY ONE of the contestants has any feelings toward EITHER of the warring factions over in Northern Ireland.
    No one will remember the topic for two seconds, after we – hopefully – see that big Zach Newkirk smile, as he wins another game!
    Peace be to us all.

  5. Ten years ago I would have disagreed with Andy but times have really changed, particularly with social media. Andy’s thoughts on this are right on.

  6. I agree with this. I think clues like this should be banned, period. If there are any more clues that force contestants to pick a side (God forbid that happens), then it seems my faith in Mike keeping the spirit of the show alive after Alex’s death (God rest his soul) has been grossly misplaced. Alex would have rejected it himself. While Mike didn’t necessarily write it, he deserves a large part of the blame for giving this the thumbs-up.

    Making this even worse is all the events of the world going on in 2021. Aside from all the unrest and attempted coup, there is also cancel culture. All three are undoubtedly going to get canceled on social media for something completely out of their control. Both Mike and TPTB should have known better.

    Apologies if I sound harsh, but I just can’t believe clues like this are being conceived, let alone approved. Mike Richards is the guy who put The Price is Right in a clear direction after Bob retired and there were constant gimmicks throughout Drew’s first two seasons. I had faith in him to keep Jeopardy going on that clear direction. Now I’m disputing it. If the show doesn’t issue an official apology, this won’t look good. Again, apologies if I’m being pessimistic.

    • UPDATE: I ask you not to moderate the comment I made or this one. It was still inappropriate, but all three contestants responded with Belfast, so crisis averted.

    • I generally agree with your comment and sentiment but I think you’re overstating the influence of “cancel culture” a little too much here.

    • I really was. I’m against it, but I guess I overblew it.

  7. A very education clue for me. I only knew Londonderry from “Londonderry Air”. I didn’t know it was in Northern Ireland, that it went by a shortened name, or that it was involved in The Troubles. It looks like the same must have been true for the contestants. Any possible inappropriateness aside, I was happy to learn a lot from the clue.

  8. So what does it mean politically that they all said Belfast?

    • I think it just means that Belfast is the only city in Northern Ireland that any of them could name.

      • Me included, but if any of them had responded correctly I hardly then would assume to know where their political sympathies lay, or if they even had contemplated it.

        • Therein lies the problem, though. There are people online who would have seen “Derry” or “Londonderry” and assumed that the contestant was taking one side or the other.

        • Yeah, my first inclination is that the controversy over the clue is way overblown. But given that I was ignorant of the political controversy, I suppose it’s possible I underestimate how fanatical people could be.

          Although if the worry is about fanatics overreacting to the clue, I don’t know that it’s a good idea, in general, to censor what you will or will not discuss based on the worst motivations of the worst people.

    • This is 2021. We’ve experienced a lot of unrest, needless to say, and social media is bound to cancel people more than ever. By forcing contestants to essentially pick one side in a notorious dispute, they are definitely going to be canceled by the other side.

  9. Crisis averted – indubitably and spot on!
    Tonight, as I enjoy the show, I shall sip a glass of red wine in celebration of another win for Smilin’ Zach!

  10. Mike richards should have nixed this clue as it was a bit inappropriate. Still though crisis has been averted once everyone went to belfast. And yet another win for zach with that bright smile. I didn’t get London derry either.

  11. As you can see from the FJ triple stumper, most Americans aren’t familiar with the specifics of this conflict, or with the names of the cities. Thus, most people wouldn’t be offended one way or another. Only someone like Joe Biden, with his Irish connections and public office, might be put in a tough position, but he could always write both names.

    • And as a PS: Most contestants have problems when it comes to geography, history, science etc OUTSIDE the U.S. And those are the smart ones. Ignorance is unfortunately – together with arrogance towards anything foreign – still widely spread in our country.

  12. Well said Sean!

  13. I don’t think the clue has anything to do with oversensitivity. The Troubles were ugly, and deadly, and Brexit has caused some of that tension to boil up again. Steering away from that is a no-brainer. This is reminiscent of the Israel/Palestine controversy that came up in that clue last season. It’s not hard to steer clear of controversial topics when you can ask about literally any topic.

  14. Geez, lighten up some. It is just a word. No reason for everyone to have an aneurysm.

  15. Michael Day | January 29, 2021 at 4:57 pm |

    Given that The Troubles are starting to bubble up again, it might have been wiser to steer clear of this clue. But I don’t think it was as awful as you are making it out to be. I suppose one could make the same argument about Civil War Battles (Antietam/Sharpsburg, Bull Run/Manassas, Shiloh/Pittsburg Landing); if you give the Southern name, are you supporting the Confederacy?

  16. Andy, thanks for the thoughtful and educational commentary. I took the opportunity to look up ‘shibboleth’, and learned something new in addition to the history lesson about (London)Derry. The word’s biblical origin that involves killing enemies who can’t pronounce the word makes it appropriate in describing the problem with today’s clue.

  17. Brad (not Rutter) | January 29, 2021 at 5:17 pm |

    Let’s all appreciate that Zach has won yet another game in fairly routine fashion.

  18. Pizza Face Fred | January 29, 2021 at 10:48 pm |

    “Shibboleth,” that’s some kind of word, ain’t it?

  19. Isaidtheanswer1st | January 29, 2021 at 11:05 pm |

    I accidentally deleted my recording of tonight’s show (dumbass!) so I went online to see what could be done and found this site, which not only has the results but also the fj clue and great info and comments- LOVE it, thank you!

  20. While I do agree that this was not an appropriate clue, especially since the category referred to the British Army, I still find it disconcerting that not one of the contestants could name any city in Northern Ireland other than Belfast. After all, the “Londonderry Air”, to which “Danny Boy” is sung, is world-famous. Maybe they could have made it a bit easier for the contestants by asking them to name the capital of Northern Ireland, in which case they would all have gotten it right. Given recent trends with the contestants struggling on every basic history and geography question, I can see the show going in that direction.

  21. What pin was Bo wearing??

  22. Andy,

    With all due respect, I feel that you are totally overreacting to the FJ clue.
    How doe someone knowing the name of the city involved the The Troubles indicate any political leaning whatsoever? It’s simply an answer to a good question (Which, FWIW, I incorrectly thought was Belfast)

    For some perspective, I wonder if you’ve ever seen the black comedy “Derry Girls”.
    Not only is it poignant, extremely well-written, and flat-out hilarious (even considering the setting, It also happens to be the most popular comedy in UK history.

    If anyone should be entitled to be “spitting nails” angry it would be the denizens of the city that actually lived though it. Yet the producers, writers, actors, and everyone involved with the show is actually from the area.

    It’s awfully presumptuous to think that one of the contestants would answer that FJ based on any political leaning.

    Calling for Jeopardy’s! producer to step down is “cancel culture” to the extreme.
    That being said, I will continue to enjoy your site.

    P.S. Please watch “Derry Girls”, if you can.

    • I stand by my remarks.

      While I am very aware that Jeopardy! does not air in Northern Ireland, the Internet is a global place. In a different situation, all it would have taken is for the wrong person to comment in their timeline about the situation (one with a number of international followers, for example) and the floodgates could have opened, leaving contestants unnecessarily open to abuse. The abuse this site, of all places, receives whenever a prominent right-wing politician comments on the show is evidence of this.

      Jeopardy! placed their contestants in jeopardy—pun intended—unnecessarily in this situation.

      (I have elected to close comments early on this post.)

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