Today’s Final Jeopardy – Wednesday, September 15, 2021


Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category Authors) for Wednesday, September 15, 2021 (Season 38, Game 3):

In addition to knowing many languages & making up his own, he also taught language at the Universities of Leeds & Oxford

(correct response beneath the contestants)


Today’s contestants:

Nick Auricchio, a social studies teacher from Mission Viejo, California
Nick Auricchio on Jeopardy!
Maureen Skehan, a research associate from Baltimore, Maryland
Maureen Skehan on Jeopardy!
Matt Amodio, a Ph.D student from New Haven, Connecticut (20-day total: $678,801)
Matt Amodio on Jeopardy!

Andy’s Pregame Thoughts: Yesterday, Matt Amodio tied Julia Collins by winning his 20th game. Will his streak continue today? He still had a runaway game yesterday in spite of finding neither Daily Double in Double Jeopardy. I figure that the best chances of beating Matt will come if Matt is in first on the signalling device fewer than 25 times, if he does not find all of the Daily Doubles, and if he doesn’t get Final Jeopardy! correct. It’s a lot, but it’s possible.


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Correct response: Who is J.R.R. Tolkien?


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J.R.R. Tolkien, best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, taught at Leeds early in his academic career and Oxford later. Tolkien also translated Beowulf into Modern English; it was completed in the 1920s but not published in 2014. For The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien constructed fantasy languages within the Middle-earth setting of those novels, including Elvish, Dwarvish, and Entish.


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

Scores going into Final:
Matt $41,200
Nick $8,000
Maureen $7,600


Tonight’s results:
Maureen $7,600 + $7,600 = $15,200 (Who is Tolkein?)
Nick $8,000 – $0 = $8,000 (Who is ?????)
Matt $41,200 + $20,000 = $61,200 (Who is Tolkein?) (21-day total: $740,001)


Matt Amodio, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the September 15, 2021 game.)


Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
Matt $11,200
Maureen $7,200
Nick $2,400


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Opening break taken after: 15 clues


Daily Double locations:
1) ACTION & SUSPENSE NOVELS $600 (clue #13)
Matt 5400 +5400 (Maureen 4200 Nick 0)
2) ACROSS THE USA $1600 (clue #3)
Matt 14800 +6000 (Maureen 7200 Nick 2400)
3) FAMOUS FAMILIES $2000 (clue #13, $16800 left on board)
Matt 26400 +4000 (Maureen 7200 Nick 3200)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 156


Unplayed clues:
J! Round: None!
DJ! Round: None!
Total Left On Board: $0
Number of clues left unrevealed this season: 0 (0.00 per episode average), 0 Daily Doubles


Game Stats:
Matt $30,000 Coryat, 33 correct, 3 incorrect, 56.14% in first on buzzer (32/57), 1/1 on rebound attempts (on 1 rebound opportunity)
Maureen $7,600 Coryat, 15 correct, 1 incorrect, 24.56% in first on buzzer (14/57), 2/2 on rebound attempts (on 3 rebound opportunities)
Nick $8,000 Coryat, 9 correct, 0 incorrect, 15.79% in first on buzzer (9/57), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 4 rebound opportunities)
Combined Coryat Score: $45,600
Lach Trash: $4,600 (on 3 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $3,800

Matt Amodio, career statistics:
671 correct, 69 incorrect
34/38 on rebound attempts (on 75 rebound opportunities)
53.51% in first on buzzer (633/1183)
42/47 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $160,400)
15/21 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $26,724

Maureen Skehan, career statistics:
16 correct, 1 incorrect
2/2 on rebound attempts (on 3 rebound opportunities)
24.56% in first on buzzer (14/57)
0/0 on Daily Doubles
1/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $7,600

Nick Auricchio, career statistics:
9 correct, 1 incorrect
0/0 on rebound attempts (on 4 rebound opportunities)
15.79% in first on buzzer (9/57)
0/0 on Daily Doubles
0/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $8,000

Matt Amodio, to win:
22 games: 92.394%
23: 85.366%
24: 78.873%
25: 72.874%
26: 67.331%
Avg. streak: 33.147 games.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • $61,200 is the 28th-highest one-day total of all time and the 7th-highest that does not belong to James Holzhauer. Matt also becomes only the 2nd player to surpass the $60,000 mark three different times.

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32 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Wednesday, September 15, 2021"

  1. I was thinking Star Trek not Lord of the Rings on this one – though screen writers aren’t generally considered authors.

  2. Wonder if they would ding you for not writing the whole name, since a few Tolkiens (Simon, Christopher) have published books.

  3. Thomas Hoisington | September 15, 2021 at 9:45 am | Reply

    Matt Amodio has said that he’s a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings, so he’s unlikely to get this wrong.

  4. Insta-get for me, but I’m a really big fan.

    Re: What it will take to beat Matt, here’s what I think could happen in rough order from most likely to least likely:

    Matt appears to have the stamina to stave off too much fatigue, though it’s worth noting that his only two non-runaways since Game #6 were in the last two games of his third full taping day (and second taping day in a row). Strong competition Thursday/Friday next week or even this week could mean trouble.

    I think Matt’s second-last game last season is pretty instructive. He’s got a habit of betting low on DD2 and that nearly came back to bit him when Ruth was able to nearly double up (she underbet slightly) on DD3. Stuff like that leaves him exposed in cases where he’s not able to get a crush (second place with more than two thirds of the leader’s total, meaning he’s vulnerable to losing on a triple stumper with rational betting from second).

    Another possibility is that he doesn’t get a runaway and gets a fairly easy FJ that’s just not in his wheelhouse (someone on Reddit (ugh) mentioned The Bible), which is basically what happened to Roger Craig: https://www.j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=3464

    Or we could see the stars align for an opponent on a DJ category or two, the way they did for Scarlett Sims against Austin Rogers.

    Finally, we could see a superstar come around like Emma, pick up a couple DDs and win that way.

    Lots of people predicting Matt will drop a DD or two and lose that way, but I don’t think that’s as probable as others seem to. Matt’s DD conversion has been strong and he’s dominant enough on the buzzer that it’s not a huge deal if he misses one.

    • That’s a very good point that you brought up Ruth’s game against Matt Amodio. But to be greedy and not get FJ! right sort of backfired on her part.

      That’s not also taking into consideration that the last game to season 37 ended in a lock-tie situation for Matt, but because of the new rules, no ties were allowed. Matt could have been hairs away from a repeat or to have his reign end.

      Overall, my take with Matt Amodio is that, he acts so casual and doesn’t fold easily. Yes, there are times he may not be as “dominant” in some games, but he just finds any number of ways to win games, regardless of how big (or small) of a lead he has. He’s cool as a cucumber and seems to have a laser focus when he’s playing the game.

  5. As a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings, I got tolkein. I have seen a couple of the lord of the rings movies and the hobbit about Smaug and the other battle of the five armies. a big 60K payday for Matt is a new record compared to the 77K record set by Roger Craig. Overall, matt will be impossible to beat unless fatigue takes him over. Give matt a spot in the chaser’s lounge if he ever does get there. And another daily double clean sweep today.

    • With respect, no one is impossible to beat. It may or may not be fatigue, it may or may not be Daily Doubles, it may or may not be uncooperative categories, it may or may not be just having a bad game and someone else has a better game. Everyone is ultimately beatable.

  6. I just happened to think: Matt and Ken Jennings had something going for them that James Holzhauer did not: a nice vacation in the middle of their streaks. James was clearly getting tired. I would love to see Matt get in the neighborhood in number of wins as James did, perhaps even Ken.

  7. I was off on this one. I went with Tolkien’s friend C.S. Lewis.

  8. I missed this Final Jeopardy, alas. I thought of Anthony Burgess of “A Clockwork Orange,” fame. He taught at university and was a translator and also a linguist who invented some cinematic languages — Nadsat for “Clockwork”, and Ulam which was used in “Quest for Fire.” But he didn’t fit the requirements of the clue. Oh, well.

    • Burgess was certainly a reasonable guess as possibly the most famous other British author known to include constructed languages in his work.

  9. Do we know what Ph.D. candidate Matt’s academic subject is? Seems unlikely to be math, physics of science – more like literature or history. And presumably, it’s at Yale. Any comments?

  10. Matt is a beast, that’s the only way to put it. Coming back from a 1-month break and immediately averaging $55,066 in just three games is something that can only be done by an incredible player.

    Really wish he bet a dollar less in today’s Final Jeopardy though so his total would be an even multiple of 10,000. I am now sad.

  11. Matt didn’t take long figuring out Mike; after buzzing first only 40÷ on Monday, about 55÷ the last two days!

    • Point being, besides other factors mentioned affecting Matt losing, a new host
      (such as Mayim on Monday, provided he survives the week) is a factor.

  12. Maureen was the first contestant this season to not be wearing an outfit somewhere in the blue family. (Or maybe not–her jacket looks black to me, but I have some blue/black colorblindness.) With the new blue-blue-and-more-blue set, is it fair to assume that contestants have been told not to wear colors which substantially vary from that? (That is, no outfits which are primarily yellow, orange, red, pink, etc.)

    And seeing that Wheel of Fortune’s new color scheme this season is nearly identical–might this be something Richards did prior to departing both shows?

  13. Interesting: The two contestants who got FJ correct both reversed the “e” and the “i” in their answers.

  14. So both Matt and Maureen actually both misspelled Tolkien as “Tolkein? (Not able to watch it here). A very odd misspelling, if so.

  15. Bernie Lopinski | September 15, 2021 at 7:46 pm | Reply

    Amodio didn’t give a correct answer tonight. He responded “Hunt for Red October” as the book title. It’s actually “The Hunt for Red October”. They gave him a pass, unless I misheard his response.

    • Bernie:

      Leading articles of titles are allowed to be added, changed, or removed without penalty unless ambiguity is created. Thus, “The Hunt for Red October”, “A Hunt for Red October”, and “Hunt for Red October” are considered by the show to be equally correct.

      • Andy, a request for clarification on your understanding this rule: Does it apply only to “leading articles” at the start of the response? Or does it also apply to “leading articles” elsewhere in the response? For example, per the rule, would “The Hunt for a Red October” have been accepted today?

        • Bill:

          By definition, a leading article can only appear at the beginning. Other articles are considered internal; internal articles must be exact.

          • Thanks Andy. I wasn’t sure if, in this case, “leading” meant “leading the phrase”, or “leading the noun” (which, grammatically speaking, could also be “by definition”.)

  16. In terms of a ‘weaker’ player upsetting the champ, it boggles my mind why the people trying to catch up choose the $400 clue in DJ. To beat Matt you must get the DD’s before he does, so choose clues with the best probability of being a DD. Also, in Double Jeopardy, if a DD is revealed in category “X”, then don’t pick that category again. Having said all that, the way Matt will go down is the same way Ken went down, and that is when someone has more than half his total, and they get FJ right and he gets it wrong. It’s as simple as that.

  17. What’s Rudyard Kipling?

  18. I loved Matt’s expression when they came to his FJ answer. Normally he’s good at keeping a poker face pre-reveal, but not this time!

  19. Also went with Burgess.

    I am very much NOT a fan of Tolkien-type Fantasy Lit., so have not read.

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