Today’s Final Jeopardy – Friday, May 19, 2023

Warning: This page contains spoilers for the May 19, 2023, game of Jeopardy! — please do not scroll down if you wish to avoid being spoiled. Please note that the game airs as early as noon Eastern in some U.S. television markets.

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category The USA) for Friday, May 19, 2023 (Season 39, Game 180):

People going north on this route say they’re traveling “GAME”, an acronym regarding their beginning & ending points

(correct response beneath the contestants)

Today’s Jeopardy! contestants:

Chris Hammer, a teacher from McKinney, Texas
Chris Hammer on Jeopardy!
Erica Johnson, a stay-at-home mom from Greenbelt, Maryland
Erica Johnson on Jeopardy!
Ben Chan, a philosophy professor from Green Bay, Wisconsin (7-day total: $213,000)
Ben Chan on Jeopardy!

Andy’s Pregame Thoughts:

After another commanding victory last night, Ben Chan now has seven runaways in seven games; the only other player to do that was Chuck Forrest, who also had runaways in his first seven trips to the stage. However, we get into a bit of a counting issue regarding Chuck’s eighth match. Chuck’s eighth match was a 2-day match, the Tournament of Champions final of 1986. In that match, Chuck only led Paul Rouffa and Marvin Shinkman $7,600–$4,000–$2,800 going into Final Jeopardy! on the first day of the final. However, Chuck’s Day 2 performance was enough to go into Final Jeopardy! on that second day with a lock tournament. So, the question is: does Chuck Forrest have 8 runaways to start a Jeopardy! career, or does he just have 7?

Today’s challengers are Maryland’s Erica Johnson and Texas’s Chris Hammer. Will either of them be able to stop the buzzsaw that is Ben?

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Correct response: What is the Appalachian Trail?

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More information about Final Jeopardy:

(The following write-up is original content and is copyright 2023 The Jeopardy! Fan. It may not be copied without linked attribution back to this page.)

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,170-mile-long East Coast trail in the United States, running from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Along with the Continental Divide Trail (running along the Continental Divide) and the Pacific Crest Trail, the three long-distance trails are known as the Triple-Crown. Those through-hiking northbound use the terms GAME (Georgia to Maine) or NoBo (Northbound), while those through-hiking southbound use the terms MEGA (Maine to Georgia) or SoBo (Southbound).

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Game Recap & Tonight’s Game Stats:

Looking to find out who won Jeopardy! today? Here’s the Friday, May 19, 2023 Jeopardy! by the numbers, along with a recap:

Jeopardy! Round:

(Categories: Some Of The 10 Commandments; On A First-Name Basis With Booze; Hurray For Hollywood!; Those Balls Have “I”S; Multiple Meanings; Gates)

In a game that felt sluggish to start, Ben broke things upen after the break by converting a True Daily Double (with an incorrect response that he’d given earlier!) Erica, who definitely seemed to be enjoying herself, sat second.

Statistics at the first break (15 clues):

Ben 6 correct 1 incorrect
Erica 3 correct 0 incorrect
Chris 2 correct 2 incorrect

Today’s interviews:

Chris taught ToCer Jaskaran Singh.
Erica has a 3-year-old son; but she secretly likes eating his snacks.
Ben is an Ultimate Frisbee champion in Green Bay.

Statistics after the Jeopardy round:

Ben 14 correct 1 incorrect
Erica 6 correct 0 incorrect
Chris 5 correct 2 incorrect

Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:

Ben $10,400
Erica $3,600
Chris $1,400

Double Jeopardy! Round:

(Categories: Sweet 1616; Literary Mismatches; The Human Body; Hip-Hop Names; Anagrams; Gaits)

Ben lost $10,000 combined on the pair of Daily Doubles in this one—which I bet gave him (and his fans) some heartburn! It did not matter, though, as Ben’s knowledge of hip hop names secured his 8th runaway in 8 games!

Statistics after Double Jeopardy:

Ben 29 correct 5 incorrect
Erica 9 correct 2 incorrect
Chris 9 correct 3 incorrect
Total number of unplayed clues this season: 26 (0 today).

Scores going into Final:

Ben $12,400
Erica $4,800
Chris $3,400

All 3 players got Final correct; Ben comes back on Monday as champion to go for win #9!

Tonight’s results:

Chris $3,400 + $3,299 = $6,699 (What is the Appalachian Trail?)
Erica $4,800 + $4,800 = $9,600 (What is the Appalachin Trail?)
Ben $12,400 + $2,400 = $14,800 (What is the Appalachian Trail?) (8-day total: $227,800)

Ben Chan, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the May 19, 2023 game.)

Other Miscellaneous Game Statistics:

Daily Double locations:

1) THOSE BALLS HAVE “I”s $600 (clue #21)
Ben 4000 +4000 (Erica 3000 Chris 400)
2) SWEET 1616 $1600 (clue #2)
Ben 11200 -4000 (Erica 3600 Chris 1400)
3) LITERARY MISMATCHES $1200 (clue #12, $19600 left on board)
Ben 13600 -6000 (Erica 4400 Chris 2200)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 20

Clue Selection by Row, Before Daily Doubles Found:

J! Round:
Ben 3 4 5 2 4 4 5 4 5 4 5 3 5 3*
Erica 1 2 3 1
Chris 3 2 2

DJ! Round:
Ben 4* 3 5 4 2 5 5 4 3*
Erica 1
Chris 2 3†

† – selection in same category as Daily Double

Average Row of Clue Selection, Before Daily Doubles Found:

Ben 3.96
Erica 1.60
Chris 2.40

Unplayed clues:

J! Round: None!
DJ! Round: None!
Total Left On Board: $0
Number of clues left unrevealed this season: 26 (0.14 per episode average), 0 Daily Doubles

Game Stats:

Ben $19,000 Coryat, 29 correct, 5 incorrect, 54.39% in first on buzzer (31/57), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 4 rebound opportunities)
Erica $4,800 Coryat, 9 correct, 2 incorrect, 17.54% in first on buzzer (10/57), 0/1 on rebound attempts (on 6 rebound opportunities)
Chris $3,400 Coryat, 9 correct, 3 incorrect, 19.30% in first on buzzer (11/57), 1/1 on rebound attempts (on 4 rebound opportunities)
Combined Coryat Score: $27,200
Lach Trash: $14,000 (on 11 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $12,800

Player Statistics:

Ben Chan, career statistics:

235 correct, 20 incorrect
7/9 on rebound attempts (on 29 rebound opportunities)
47.59% in first on buzzer (217/456)
16/21 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $32,205)
7/8 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $23,475

Erica Johnson, career statistics:

10 correct, 2 incorrect
0/1 on rebound attempts (on 6 rebound opportunities)
17.54% in first on buzzer (10/57)
0/0 on Daily Doubles
1/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $4,800

Chris Hammer, career statistics:

10 correct, 3 incorrect
1/1 on rebound attempts (on 4 rebound opportunities)
19.30% in first on buzzer (11/57)
0/0 on Daily Doubles
1/1 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $3,400

Ben Chan, to win:

9 games: 77.105%
10: 59.452%
11: 45.840%
12: 35.345%
13: 27.253%
Avg. streak: 11.368 games.

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • “Appalachia” has two equally acceptable pronunciations.
  • It may have worked out today for the challengers in that Ben missed both Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy, but 1s and daggers by your name in the “Clue Selection By Row” section are generally not a path to victory.
  • Today’s box score will be linked to when posted by the show.

Final Jeopardy! wagering suggestions:

(Scores: Ben $12,400 Erica $4,800 Chris $3,400)

Ben: Limit your bet to $2,799. (Actual bet: $2,400)

Erica: Standard cover bet over Chris is $2,001. (Actual bet: $4,800)

Chris: Limit your bet to $599; this stays ahead of Erica if she covers and is incorrect. (Actual bet: $3,299)

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33 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Friday, May 19, 2023"

  1. I read Bill Bryson’s “A Walk In The Woods”, which familiarized me with the Appalachian Trail. I didn’t see the movie based on it, but I liked the book. I don’t remember if the “GAME” acronym was in there, but it would have been obvious to any reader. A good way to end the week!

    • Many TV episodes of “North Woods Law”, set sometimes in Main and sometimes in New Hampshire, have often shown rescues of people injured or lost while hiking the Appalachian Trail. So it was an easy one for me.

  2. Michael Johnston | May 19, 2023 at 9:29 am | Reply

    For a walker, there sure is a lot I don’t know about hiking😕 I thought the clue was referring to a road and guessed US1.

    Current FJ streak: 1L, and no traction.

    • Same here. I assumed that each letter stood for a different major city instead of each pair being a state. I couldn’t think what the cities would be, but knew that US1 has a famous north-south road for a very long time, so guessed that.

  3. As someone who lives close to the Appalachian Trail, this was such an easy get for me. I’m predicting a triple get.

  4. I have friends who are currently on a 5 month through hike of the Appalachian trail, and I am following their blog. When you plan on finishing in August, north is the route you take. So, yeah, today’s was an obvious one for me.

  5. I immediately thought of the I-95 for some reason.
    I know that’s wrong for multiple reasons but it’s how my mind works and I only had 30 seconds.

  6. My vote is on Chuck Forrest having 8 runaway games…the two day TOC final should count as ONE game, just continued into a two day affair for TV purposes. That is just my opinion.

  7. For those of us using the Jeopardy! calendar, the Appalachian Trail was a question a few days ago! Definitely helped me get this one

  8. Would it be possible to include date taped in your write ups?

  9. DruidOfTheFang | May 19, 2023 at 3:25 pm | Reply

    I wonder how many spellings of Appalachian they’re going to get.

  10. I recall noting that when Alex Jacob won the Tournament of Champions in 2015, he had achieved locks in all four of his games — a feat that not even Chuck Forrest accomplished.

    That said, I agree with Thomas G. above. When compiling all-time win-loss records for players who had appeared in the major reunion events, I counted each multiple-game, total point match as a single win or loss. I think the same should ultimately go for lock games/matches.

    Having achieved an eighth straight lock to open his Jeopardy! run, Ben can now claim undisputed possession of the longest such streak if he extends it on Monday, as Forrest did not win his Super Jeopardy! quarterfinal game, much less lock it.

  11. We finally see a chink in Ben’s armor. Today’s opponents were not able to exploit it. But this easily could have been a losing day for him.

  12. Robert Fawkes | May 19, 2023 at 6:56 pm | Reply

    The question of whether or not Chuck F. has 7 or 8 runaways in a row is sort of moot. As I recall from reading it somewhere, Ken Jennings had a streak of 28 runaways. Sure, Ben and Chuck may have had 8 in a row at the start but how does that really stack up against 28 in a row. Personally, I don’t view when the streak occurs as being as significant as the total in the streak. Still, kudos and congratulations to Ben for having a significant runaway streak at the outset of his run. May he have many more (maybe, make it to 29 and the whole thing is put to rest).

    • Robert Fawkes | May 19, 2023 at 6:59 pm | Reply

      p.s. As someone who has hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail many times, today’s FJ was an instant recognition. I’ve never attempted either GAME or MEGA and don’t see myself doing that now.

    • The question was asked to make it easier to grasp whether Ben holds the record for most runaways from the start. As good as Ken Jennings was, his first non-runaway game was also his first game, and he had another non-runaway in his fifth. Chuck Forrest, on the other hand, locked up all of his first seven appearances on the stage, and Ben just locked up all of his first eight. So I think that’s the question Andy is trying to get at.

      • Exactly. The four people on the Alex Trebek Stage for Masters quarterfinal game 12 (the second game this past Monday night) not only have the four longest regular play runs overall; each has one of the four longest streaks of lock games.

        As mentioned, Ken has the longest (games 21-48). James had a run of 15 (games 3-17); Matt had a run of 14 (games 25-38, broken by his loss); and Amy had a run of 13 (games 28-40, broken by her loss).

        James’s second game wasn’t a lock; Matt only had a $400 lead over Josh Saak entering Final in his first game; and Amy came from behind to defeat Andrew He in her first.

        And I’ll note here explicitly what I hinted at in a previous comment — that it seems the TJ!F style guide’s current revision includes guidance to deprecate the term “lock” in favor of “runaway” for games where a player can wager in Final so as not to put victory at risk. For the time being, this is in opposition to the J! Archive glossary.

  13. Getting the two daily doubles incorrect did not keep Ben from having a runaway, but not being correct (or more precisely, betting too much on categories that were not clear-cut enough for him to be sure about his chances) kept him from making position 20 on the All Time Jeopardy! Winnings, Regular Play Only chart in his first 8 (all runaway) games — and even keeps him off that list entirely if someone manages to beat him Monday!

    [However, I take exception to the ‘Literary Mismatches’ clue that Ben lost $6,000 on because acid indigestion was part of the clue and heartburn IS acid indigestion, implying that the missing word was SOMETHING ELSE. The quotes presumably mean that this is what she actually wrote in the book, but maybe the book itself should have been edited better (perhaps to include stomach ulcers instead of acid indigestion). Anyway, the show did not have to use this misleading clue that the writers came up with (especially for just a mid-level answer rather than a bottom row or FJ!) and I don’t think they should have. Alternatively, the writers could have NOT made it a quote and left out the word “acid” and the clue would have been no less true, but less misleading.]

    • Robert Fawkes | May 19, 2023 at 9:40 pm | Reply

      On the other hand, if Ben just plays up to his average winnings on Monday and wins the game, he easily could move up to number 16 on the all-time winnings list in regular play. I, for one, would like to see him do it. In any event, we will see him again in the ToC.

      • Right, and that is really what I expect to see happen, I just meant that if he didn’t win Monday, that would be an additional negative that could be attributed to his over-betting on DDs [NOT the actual losing on Monday, just not making it into the top 20].

        I had originally included a phrase showing that I think it is extremely unlikely that he will lose Monday, runaway or not, but I edited that out for making the sentence unwieldy when whether or not he wins again was not my main point.

    • That clue was not “misleading” at all, in my estimation. As soon as I saw “Nora Ephron” and then the list of medical ailments (redundant or not, editing or not), it was a connect-the- dots type of answer. This was a case of not overthinking it. It was/is a perfectly acceptable clue.

  14. Judy+Lichtman | May 19, 2023 at 8:09 pm | Reply

    I’ve never heard GAME used before but figured it meant Georgia to Maine. I was last on the Appalachian Trail last year when our family took a day trip from our Maryland home to Harper’s Ferry. I got it right.

  15. Nope, didn’t pull this one out. I think I missed the episode where it was a question a few days ago. I was too focused on highways for the entire 30 seconds and the idea of people making that trip hiking never crossed my mind. Whoops.

    Erica was very entertaining, but I don’t understand why she didn’t want the Daily Double. Had she gone for the only other option in the same category instead of the top row, she might’ve been able to catch Ben. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: To beat a superchamp, you have to play like one.

  16. Holy smokes! This was a weak game for Ben Chan, today. Very stomach churning! I’m so glad that he still managed to win, though. Yay! I was able to get today’s Final Jeopardy! answer. At first, I briefly thought that it was an interstate highway. But then I quickly realized that the acronym GAME was referring to “Georgia to Maine.” I had never heard of this meaning of “GAME” before. But it hit me that it was the Appalachian Trail. Whew!

  17. Bill Vollmer | May 20, 2023 at 2:34 pm | Reply

    I know of the Appalachian Trail. Never heard of the acronym,or, the book Andy’s explaination refers to. I understand them, just never heard of them being used.

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