Today’s Final Jeopardy – Thursday, May 27, 2021


It’s Thursday, and it’s Day 1 of the Final of the 29th Tournament of Champions! Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category Music & Geography) for Thursday, May 27, 2021 (Season 37, Game 174):

In a British folk tune, the title lass Maggie May is sentenced to go way down south to this penal colony that rhymes with her name

(correct response beneath the contestants)


Today’s contestants:

Sam Kavanaugh, a teacher originally from Carlton, Minnesota
Sam Kavanaugh on Jeopardy!
Jennifer Quail, a wine tasting consultant from Dowagiac, Michigan
Jennifer Quail on Jeopardy!
Veronica Vichit-Vadakan, a librarian from Portland, Oregon
Veronica Vichit-Vadakan on Jeopardy!

Andy’s Pregame Thoughts: In a very evenly matched tournament, Veronica, Jennifer, and Sam have qualified for the finals. I would expect to see fireworks on the Daily Doubles, as there is plenty of time tomorrow to make a comeback if things go south. The prediction model has Jennifer as a slight favorite overall.


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Correct response: What is Botany Bay?


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More information about Final Jeopardy: (The following write-up is original content and is copyright 2021 The Jeopardy! Fan. It may not be copied without linked attribution back to this page.)

Botany Bay is the location where James Cook first landed the HMS Endeavour in Australia. Currently located near Sydney, the Sydney area became a British penal colony; regardless of whether the colony was located at Botany Bay itself or the nearby Sydney Cove, “Botany Bay” became the British colloquial term for the entire area.

Now, I was only partly adjacent to the TikTok sea shanty craze; did Maggie May show up as part of that?

Finally: I absolutely hate this clue. Botany Bay only shows up in alternate lyrics of the song, and certainly not the Beatles version of this tune. I think that the clue was too flimsy because “Botany Bay” doesn’t show up in every version of the song and is inappropriate for any level of the show, let alone a Tournament of Champions final.


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

Scores going into Final:
Sam $24,000
Jennifer $11,000
Veronica $8,200


Tonight’s results:
Veronica $8,200 – $1,800 = $6,400 (What is Doubleday?)
Jennifer $11,000 + $3,500 = $14,500 (What is Botany Botany Bay?)
Sam $24,000 + $14,000 = $38,000 (What is Botany Bay?)


Today's final Jeopardy! scores from the May 27, 2021 game.


Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
Sam $7,600
Veronica $5,000
Jennifer $1,200


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Opening break taken after: 15 clues


Daily Double locations:
1) SHAKESPEAREAN CHARACTER FOOTBALL TEAM $1000 (clue #18)
Sam 3400 +3400 (Veronica 4000 Jennifer -600)
2) HISTORY $800 (clue #11)
Jennifer 4400 +4400 (Veronica 5000 Sam 15600)
3) LAW SLAW $2000 (clue #12, $18000 left on board)
Jennifer 8800 -3000 (Veronica 5000 Sam 15600)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 166


Unplayed clues:
J! Round: None!
DJ! Round: None!
Total Left On Board: $0
Number of clues left unrevealed this season: 188 (1.08 per episode average), 2 Daily Doubles


Game Stats:
Sam $21,600 Coryat, 23 correct, 2 incorrect, 42.11% in first on buzzer (24/57), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 3 rebound opportunities)
Jennifer $10,400 Coryat, 18 correct, 5 incorrect, 35.09% in first on buzzer (20/57), 0/1 on rebound attempts (on 2 rebound opportunities)
Veronica $8,200 Coryat, 12 correct, 0 incorrect, 17.54% in first on buzzer (10/57), 2/2 on rebound attempts (on 5 rebound opportunities)
Combined Coryat Score: $40,200
Lach Trash: $6,200 (on 6 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $7,600

Veronica Vichit-Vadakan, career statistics:
149 correct, 16 incorrect
10/14 on rebound attempts (on 41 rebound opportunities)
30.43% in first on buzzer (136/447)
5/7 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $8,200)
5/8 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $14,075

Jennifer Quail, career statistics:
317 correct, 35 incorrect
19/24 on rebound attempts (on 51 rebound opportunities)
44.08% in first on buzzer (298/676)
17/18 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $33,500)
11/12 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $19,717

Sam Kavanaugh, career statistics:
186 correct, 16 incorrect
4/5 on rebound attempts (on 29 rebound opportunities)
34.32% in first on buzzer (174/507)
13/14 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $74,200)
7/9 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $15,933

Andy’s Thoughts

  • Sam’s “effective lead” is $11,750 over Jennifer and $15,800 over Veronica (as tomorrow’s scores can be doubled in Final Jeopardy!

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21 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Thursday, May 27, 2021"

  1. Slow Eddy | May 27, 2021 at 10:37 am |

    I would agree that this is pretty obscure, even if you were British.

    Rod Stewart sung about Maggie May, and like the Beatles, he also never mentioned Botany Bay.

    And the traditional version of Maggie May doesn’t mention Botany Bay.

  2. I’m British and this is not obscure at all. I found it very easy to rhyme Maggie May with Botany Bay. A “penal colony way down south” was a giveaway in my opinion.

  3. Botany Bay and maggie may are very easy to rhyme but this was a giveaway thanks to the clue penal colony way down south. This fj clue wasn’t really that obscure at all. Good scores by the players. So I am definitely hoping for Jennifer to win this one.

  4. This is the first time in a very long time that I’m not rooting for anyone in specific during the finals – I’ll be happy if anyone wins. I think Jennifer and Sam definitely have very high chances of winning, but you never know, Veronica could pull one of the biggest upsets in Jeopardy history and take home the 250 grand. Looking forward to tomorrow!

    • Veronica’s down over 30K to Sam.

      It would have to take at least a “Meryl Federman” kind of comeback to have a shot of something like that happening because…it’s one thing to be down $25,000, but it’s a different story when it’s being down by $30,000, even more than that.

      Looking at the previous tournament finals, the results from from when a player is at $0 (Or anything below $1,000 at best) and tries to fight back from a medium deficit (Somewhere around $10,000-$20,000), let alone, a BIG one ($30,000 or more) have not been as successful:

      Eric Newhouse (Million Dollar Masters, 2002) – Started with $0, finishes with $25,600, $1 below Brad Rutter after trailing by $11,800 in game 1. (2nd place)

      Courtney Bennis (Teen Tournament, 2004) – Started with $0, finishes with $1 after trailing by $23,300 in game 1. (3rd place)

      Arthur Gandolfi (Tournament of Champions, 2004) – Started with $0, finishes with $12,400 after trailing by $19,700 after game 1. (3rd place)

      Jayanth Iyengar (College Championship, 2005) – Started with $399, finishes with $16,999 after trailing by $28,601 after game 1. (3rd place)

      Bill MacDonald (Tournament of Champions, 2006) – Started with $0, finishes with $399 after trailing by $30,800 in game 1. (3rd place)

      Aidan Mehigan (Teen Tournament, 2009) – Started with $0, finishes with $0 after trailing by $33,000 in game 1. (3rd place)

      Jason Zollinger (Tournament of Champions, 2010) – Started with $0, finishes with $18,900 after trailing by $9,200 in game 1. (2nd place)

      Hans von Walter (College Tournament, 2010) – Started with $0 (Ended with -$6,000 in game 1), finished with $10,801 after trailing by $15,999 in game 1. (3rd place)

      Kristin Morgan (Tournament of Champions, 2013) – Started with $400, finished with $9,599 after trailing by $21,800 in game 1. (3rd place)

      Becky Giardina (Teachers Tournament, 2013) – Started with $0, finished with $0 after trailing by $15,200 in game 1. (3rd place)

      Roger Craig (Battle of the Decades, 2014) – Started with $0, finished with $4,000 after trailing by $10,000 in game 1. (3rd place)

      Cooper Lair (Teen Tournament, 2014) – Started with $200, finished with $31,200 after trailing by $24,800 in game 1. (3rd place)

      Michael Borecki (Teen Tournament, 2016) – Started with $0, finished with $14,200 after trailing by $28,000 in game 1. (3rd place)

      Buzzy Cohen (Tournament of Champions, 2017) – Started with $0, finished with $24,299 after trailing by $8,800 in game 1. (Comeback won)

      William Scott (College Tournament, 2018) – Started with $0, finished with $16,801 after trailing by $9,000 in game 1. (2nd place)

      Tyler Combs (College Tournament, 2020) – Started with $200, finished with $20,000 after trailing by $21,995 in game 1. (2nd place)

      So…judging by the looks of it, this is where the results lie to this point (With the doubled clue values):

      When 3rd place is trailing by under $10,000: 1-2

      When 3rd place is trailing between $10,000-$25,000: 1-5 (Meryl Federman’s game)

      When 3rd place is trailing by more than $25,000: 0-4

      It’d be hard for Veronica to make a huge comeback in her situation, especially if Jennifer and Sam find the DDs. Then her chances are even more slim. Game 2 should be an interesting one.

      • It will be very difficult for the the two players to beat Sam. Comebacks occasionally happen when trailing badly but not often and the deficit is pretty large here. Sam getting Daily Doubles tomorrow will decrease the chances significantly. Buzzy only trailed the leader by $8,800 in his comeback.

      • Very impressive what Meryl Federman accomplished being some 18,000 and 25,000 down to 2nd and 1st in that Teen Tournament, but Jennifer and Veronica are down 23,500 & 31,600 respectively to Sam, so it’s a big hole to climb. But in Sam’s last regular season match Roey Hader achieved a 24,600 to 6,000 lead over Sam entering FJ (with Roey getting 30 responses correct) so he would have been been able to overcome any lead less than 37,200 had this been the second game of a match, by going all in and getting FJ correctly. FYI, Roey and Sam both missed FJ. So a comeback tomorrow is quite unlikely but far from impossible. In Jennifer’s first regular win she had 33 correct responses a 29,400 Coryat, won over 45k and in her last regular win she had 31 correct and missed none. If she gets on another roll like those times anything’s possible!

  5. The way down south points to Australia. I wonder if any of the contestants thought of Botany Bay from Star Trek which had one well known episode and a movie based on that ship?

  6. Slow Eddy | May 27, 2021 at 2:10 pm |

    yes, the Rod Stewart song is different, but he wrote it as a parody of Maggie May. So after I ran through the lyrics of the Beatles version, I ran through Rod Stewarts.

    no joy.

  7. Andy, what’s an “effective lead” ?

    • Ronnie Gambardella | May 27, 2021 at 5:15 pm |

      I think it means If Sam is less than $11,750 behind Jennifer and $15,800 behind Veronica he doesnt have to wager in FJ

    • Ronnie is not quite correct. It’s the lead they would need tomorrow going into FJ to have control of the game, i.e. be able to guarantee victory by wagering all their money and giving a correct response. The lead for a zero wager scenario is far more complicated because it depends upon how much money they have, e.g. Sam leads Jennifer by 23,500 – if she has a 10,000-0 lead over him tomorrow she can’t catch him because she can only double to 20,000, but if she has the same size lead of 15,000-5,000 he needs to wager 1,501 and get it right to defeat her if she doubles up.

  8. Brad (not Rutter) | May 27, 2021 at 5:01 pm |

    This has been a great tournament, but the final has turned into a dud. Congrats to Sam.

  9. Are you able to re-run the prediction model to incorporate the results of Day 1?

  10. I’ve always found the two-day final awkward. Especially the Thursday Final Jeopardy, which isn’t final at all.

  11. Didn’t know anything about the penal colony. I guessed Botany Bay from the Star Trek episode where the Enterprise came across the prison ship. It rhymed.

  12. Jason Smith | May 28, 2021 at 7:27 am |

    This was a horrendous FJ clue. Yes, it may have been a deduction to rhyme Botany Bay with Maggie Mae, but the clue specifically said “British folk song”. “Botany Bay” is not said anywhere in the traditional British folk song. It appears only in some regional UK versions and in the Australian version. I knew the song, and that part of the clue threw me off. It was very poorly written, and very indicative of the downturn of writing on the show recently. (The “mortar” clue being another example a few days ago). Yes, two of the contestants got it right, but I guarantee that it was knowing Botany Bay, not the song. They can do a lot better for the TOC.

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