Today’s Final Jeopardy – Thursday, September 23, 2021

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category Food & Drink in the Bible) for Thursday, September 23, 2021 (Season 38, Game 9):

In the King James Version, these creatures are a plague in Exodus 10, but deemed okay to eat in Leviticus 11

(correct response beneath the contestants)

Today’s contestants:

Guhan Venkatesan, an undergrad student and EMT from New Providence, New Jersey
Guhan Venkatesan on Jeopardy!
Caroline Minkus, an ophthalmologist from Minneapolis, Minnesota
Caroline Minkus on Jeopardy!
Matt Amodio, a Ph.D student from New Haven, Connecticut (26-day total: $929,401)
Matt Amodio on Jeopardy!

Andy’s Pregame Thoughts: Matt Amodio has dropped significant amounts of money on a missed Daily Double two games running, but he’s managed to survive both of these games, with runaways to boot. Whether Matt gets to $1 million today, tomorrow, Monday, or even at all will definitely depend on how he does on the four major betting clues a game.

Meanwhile: I think that Mayim Bialik’s hosting style this week is being unfairly criticized in a number of spaces online. A number of the actions that some viewers are choosing to criticize are things that Alex Trebek would do all the time when he hosted. It feels to me as though these viewers are using this criticism as a proxy for their own biases.

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Correct response: What are locusts?

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In the King James Version: Exodus 10 talks about the well-known plague of locusts brought upon Egypt, the eighth of ten disasters brought upon Egypt in order to convince the Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery. Further on in the Bible, Leviticus 11:21-23 reads: “Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.”

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

Scores going into Final:
Matt $26,800
Guhan $11,500
Caroline $9,200

Tonight’s results:
Caroline $9,200 + $8,000 = $17,200 (What are locusts?)
Guhan $11,500 + $11,493 = $22,993 (What are locusts?)
Matt $26,800 – $1,000 = $25,800 (What are frogs locusts?) (27-day total: $955,201)

Matt Amodio, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the September 23, 2021 game.)

Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
Matt $6,400
Guhan $5,500
Caroline $2,000


Opening break taken after: 15 clues

Daily Double locations:
1) SPORTS VENUE NICKNAMES $600 (clue #25)
Guhan 3400 +1500 (Matt 5800 Caroline 2200)
2) SUPERLATIVES $800 (clue #12)
Caroline 2800 +2800 (Matt 10000 Guhan 9500)
3) REVIVAL $1600 (clue #15, $19200 left on board)
Matt 10400 +10400 (Caroline 4800 Guhan 9500)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 244

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 $18,000 Coryat, 24 correct, 3 incorrect, 40.35% in first on buzzer (23/57), 3/3 on rebound attempts (on 7 rebound opportunities)
Guhan $10,600 Coryat, 17 correct, 5 incorrect, 35.09% in first on buzzer (20/57), 1/1 on rebound attempts (on 5 rebound opportunities)
Caroline $7,200 Coryat, 13 correct, 4 incorrect, 21.05% in first on buzzer (12/57), 2/4 on rebound attempts (on 8 rebound opportunities)
Combined Coryat Score: $35,800
Lach Trash: $6,600 (on 6 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $11,600

Matt Amodio, career statistics:
860 correct, 88 incorrect
46/53 on rebound attempts (on 98 rebound opportunities)
52.92% in first on buzzer (807/1525)
52/60 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $198,800)
19/27 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $26,719

Caroline Minkus, career statistics:
14 correct, 4 incorrect
2/4 on rebound attempts (on 8 rebound opportunities)
21.05% in first on buzzer (12/57)
1/1 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $2,800)
1/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $7,200

Guhan Venkatesan, career statistics:
18 correct, 5 incorrect
1/1 on rebound attempts (on 5 rebound opportunities)
35.09% in first on buzzer (20/57)
1/1 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $1,500)
1/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $10,600

Matt Amodio, to win:
28 games: 90.754%
29: 84.526%
30: 77.401%
31: 72.235%
32: 66.444%
Avg. streak: 39.560 games.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • Especially with Matt ending the previous season as an 18-day champion, contestants absolutely need to have prepared themselves to play Matt’s game in order to have the best chance of beating him. To me, it is a gross failure in preparation to play a more “normal” game (i.e. selecting first-row clues with Daily Doubles still unseen and failing to take full advantage of Daily Doubles) when there is a very good chance that you’ll be facing a defending champion that’s won nearly $1 million. The $1,900 that Guhan left on the table on the first Daily Double cost Guhan today’s win by the end of it.

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43 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Thursday, September 23, 2021"

  1. My first thought was locusts as I know that some cultures like them. I had an employee who would bring them for his lunch.

    • Despite being kosher, I don’t know any Jews who do eat them – you have to be able to look at the hinged legs to determine which are and which aren’t kosher. But it was a nicety in that if the locusts ate your crops, you could eat them.

  2. Seeing a Bible FJ made me worried for Matt, but this is eminently guessable. Hope he doesn’t overthink it.

    • Narrator: He overthought it.

      I’m sure this will go down in the books as another “lucky” win for Matt, because if he’d gotten DD3 wrong, he would have been done. But the exact opposite is true. Many, many players would have bet “conservatively” (i.e. not enough to secure the runaway) on DD3 and would have likely lost the game.

      Matt’s game strategy is really, really good, and the commentariat would do well to learn from it rather than second-guess it constantly.

      • It will go down as a lucky win for other reasons. As Andy pointed out,Guhan leaving $1,900 on the board was the difference. He’d have exactly half of Matt’s total going into Final, Matt is aggressive and would play for the win, and Guhan would’ve won probably by $1, all other things being equal. Matt is lucky despite his proper gameplay.

    • I thought the same thing when I saw today’s category. Matt has been superb in so many areas, especially anything to do with geography, but my recollection is he hasn’t done that well on Bible clues. Of course when you have a runaway, it doesn’t matter.

  3. Only two possible answers…Frogs and locusts. Reminds me of the movie “Hidalgo” with Viggo Mortensen…the arab sheik’s daughter gives him a skin filled with camel’s milk, and she reminds him to not fear the locusts, and that they are a gift from above, not a plague.

  4. For some reason I’m getting a rerun today in Houston market. Does anyone know why that would be?

  5. If Guhan bet all of his $3,400, he would’ve finished with $13,400, which would be exactly half of Matt’s total and the streak could’ve ended right then and there. I feel like he’s incredibly disappointed in himself.

    And this is the third time that Matt overthinks FJ and crosses out the correct answer to put a wrong one. Thank god it didn’t cost him too much this time.

  6. Hopefully Matt knows Bible facts to win his 27th game. But he has been overthinking his DD responses lately so he may overthink this FJ response as well. I hope not.

  7. A bible final jeopardy seems to be making me think of locusts since there have been tons of people that bought locusts as kosher meals. I thought Guhan was a giant killer today but it seems that didn’t happen and now that bet cost her the game. Matt is almost at the million dollar mark from the looks of it but it seems this category in final was not in his wheelhouse.

  8. Debbie Stover | September 23, 2021 at 1:51 pm |

    Andy, when you say the $1,900 Guhan failed to bet on the DD cost him the game today, you’re assuming Matt would’ve bet $1 if he’d ended up in a lock-tie with Guhan, correct? As that’s exactly what he bet when he was in a lock-tie with Nicolle Neulist on 13 August.

    Or am I missing something?

    • Debbie:

      Yes, that’s exactly the assumption that I’m making here, and considering he’s already bet this way before, I think it’s a safe assumption to make.

      • Debbie Stover | September 23, 2021 at 2:39 pm |

        That makes sense. It’s almost eerie that that left-behind $1,900 is indeed what cost Guhan today’s game. It’s as if the gods of Jeopardy were trying to make a point, and using a finely honed needle to do so.

        • I think it’s a stretch to assume the game would have played out exactly equivalently had Guhan gone all-in. It’s also possible Matt would have bet $0 in what we know is a weak category for him, but I doubt it.

          • Debbie Stover | September 23, 2021 at 6:13 pm |

            All we have is what’s in front of us. If both players played rationally, that would’ve been the outcome. (And Matt bet everything on the one remaining DD, so he maxed out his opportunities; there was nothing left for him to use to move further ahead.)

            As for Matt betting $0 in Final, as I think Andy has pointed out before, any really good Jeopardy player is going to bank on his knowing the answer to Final rather than take a chance on the coin flip the tiebreaker represents.

  9. I think Matt’s play here gives away his strategy. Instead of having to risk an unknown clue in an unknown category (FJ) he’s willing to risk everything to more than double up before he gets there. It saved him today.

  10. Sir, your post referencing criticism of Ms. Bialik’s hosting is probably 100% correct. Ms. Bialik is a fine host and adds to the enjoyment of watching the game. Those taking shots at her have issues that have nothing to do with hosting Jeopardy.

    • Some people have different opinions.

    • She might doing things exactly as Alex would have done, but I like her less. Don’t know why, can’t characterize it. Maybe it is that Alex was making jokes for our enjoyment, but she seems to be doing things for her enjoyment. But that does not detract me from my enjoying Matt and his great run.

  11. What was gutsy about Matt’s game today was the true daily double on the “Revival” category which had yet to have a clue exposed. No guarantees on the category content there as opposed to something like the “def” category. Guhan played well, but I think someone will need both the fast buzzer and only 1 or 2 misses to take down Matt.

    • Yes, while I was pulling for Matt in his quest for a million, of course I have to wish the best to a fellow Jersey boy, especially one from my region of the state. He can be proud of his performance.

  12. I am really enjoying Ms.Bialik as host. She has steadily improved since her first hosting stint.

    • Debbie Stover | September 23, 2021 at 6:40 pm |

      Completely agree. She seems quite comfortable on that stage now. Her pronunciations are crisp and correct. She keeps the game moving. I think she’s doing a terrific job.

    • I agree. I like how she emphasized “LOU Gehrig” after “What’s Gehrig?” yesterday, which I found to be a little disrespectful to Lou. She seems more comfortable, which must’ve been hard since from what I read, Richards was still around as EP for this tape day.

  13. Andy, totally agree with your “Andy’s Thought” on challengers going to the top row clues. I came on here to say the same thing. I will add that another strategic error was made today when Caroline got the first DD in DJ, and then stayed in the same category. A champion player like Matt would never do that. The second DD is not going to be in that category. Sure enough Matt got control of the board and two clues later found the second DD, and basically put the game away.

  14. As good as Matt is, I think I have to give James the slight edge because Matt has admitted he is weak in pop culture (I noticed it as well), whereas it seemed like there was simply no weakness in James’s knowledge base.

    If Matt can survive the tomorrow (the last taping of the day) that’s a huge step towards catching James’s streak.

    • Debbie Stover | September 23, 2021 at 9:01 pm |

      Judging by numbers of incorrect responses alone, James was a stronger player than Matt. James was, I believe, just under 3% incorrect responses over all, and Matt is around 9%.

      I liked James. I love Matt. But that’s a pretty stark difference. I think it was Claire McNear in her recent Ringer article who said that James never appeared to be guessing. Matt does seem to guess more often.

      I’m crossing my fingers that Matt overtakes not just James but Ken as well. In a head-to-head competition between James and Matt, the buzzer would obviously be key. Still, that’s a pretty big disparity in incorrect responses.

  15. Completely agree with Andy’s Thoughts. Right after Guhan’s DD I said to myself that he might come to regret leaving money on the table. Now he’s on the list of players who had a chance to dethrone Matt but couldn’t quite put all the pieces together.

  16. I would have said cows, but though they were part of a plague, they weren’t a plague themselves. I think that plague on Egypt’s livestock is in Deut. chapter 9, not 10. But they were allowed to eat them in Leviticus chapter 11.

  17. Hoping someone can clear something up for me. In the game there was a category talking about college venues. Matt answered Florida to one question and it was deemed correct. Then Mayim said University of Florida. But there is also a Florida State University. Did I just completely miss that the category just wanted the state name and not the college?

    • “Florida” unqualified, especially in the world of college sports, refers to the University of Florida. Even CBS in its coverage uses just “Florida” to refer to the school.

      Moreover, the show has accepted just “Florida” in the past to refer to the school. This is nothing new.

      • Thanks. Clearly it’s new to me. 🙂 Seems very sloppy, though, since there’s no way to know if the contestant actually knew the right answer. Suppose that shouldn’t surprise me, though. It seems to me that in the past Jeopardy required contestants to be more precise in their answers. Oh well. Again, thanks for the quick answer.

        • I’m not sure where you’re getting your “in the past” sentence from. “Florida” unqualified was explicitly accepted in Final Jeopardy back in 2007. It’s always been this way.

    • Richard Rolwing | September 25, 2021 at 10:28 pm |

      Speaking of this category, I thought Matt had exhibited enough of an interest in sports for knowing the “Carrier Dome” was the venue at Syracuse U.–Plus, its a venue that has almost gone beyond the sports realm in terms of recognition…

  18. Richard Rolwing | September 25, 2021 at 10:32 pm |

    How many people still buy Pledge for their “dust-fighting” jobs? Not these three, obviously…

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