Today’s Final Jeopardy – Monday, August 21, 2023

Note: This page contains spoilers for the August 21, 2023, game of Jeopardy! — please do not scroll down if you wish to avoid being spoiled. Please also note that today’s game is an encore presentation of the game that originally aired on November 7, 2022.

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category Phrases from the Ancient World) for Monday, August 21, 2023 (Season 39, Game 42):

Cicero wrote that a tyrant ordered this to be hung from the ceiling “by a horse-hair”; his guest begged to leave

(correct response beneath the contestants)

Today’s Jeopardy! contestants:

Sam Buttrey, an associate professor of operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School from Pacific Grove, California
Sam Buttrey on Jeopardy!
Jessica Stephens, a statistical research specialist from Nashville, Tennessee
Jessica Stephens on Jeopardy!
Zach Newkirk, an attorney from Arlington, Virginia
Zach Newkirk on Jeopardy!

Andy’s Pregame Thoughts:

I posted the following paragraph back in November before this match:

I have a favor to ask of everyone reading this. Be kind towards others. Be kind towards contestants. I have seen way too much unkindness towards people over the past few months on the Internet towards contestants in general. If you’re going to come into my comments section, or Twitter, or Facebook, or Reddit, to sound off about how much you dislike a certain player—civilian or celebrity—you need to do some deep personal introspection. I’m, quite frankly, tired of the open season on contestants, only amplified by the vox Twittuli reporting by the tabloids. Every single contestant is a human being, just like you or me. How would you feel if you were on the show and everyone decided to take to social media to say bad things about you based on what they saw on television? Be better. Do better.

Incredibly, after some of the things I have seen just in the comments section during the encore presentations over the past few weeks, I actually decided that I needed to keep the above paragraph in this recap today. Way too many “fans” are vile human beings without a shred or an ounce of humanity whatsoever, and the things that these people say about some of the contestants make me believe that the show’s fandom would be significantly better off without these so-called “fans” in it.

Now, the Tournament of Champions continues today with our last of six quarterfinals. (And yes, “six quarterfinals” is acceptable terminology; “quarterfinal” only means the round before the semifinal.) Zach Newkirk—who, because of COVID restrictions, began his run with Alex Trebek still hosting in June 2020—gets to take on Professors Tournament winner Sam Buttrey and Week 1 Second Chance qualifier Jessica Stephens. The prediction model thinks that Sam is the favorite in this game because of his strong performance in the Professors Tournament, especially at the bottom of the board. I’m not expecting to see fireworks today, but I also think today’s game will be a solid game of Jeopardy. A number of fans believe that Jessica has been underrated by the prediction model; it wouldn’t surprise me to see her have a good game today.

Tomorrow’s episode—the exhibition match between Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio, and Mattea Roach—won’t be an elimination match, as many markets back in November preempted the show for election coverage.

(Content continues below)

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Correct response: What is the Sword of Damocles?

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.)

According to legend, courtier Damocles agreed to switch places with the King of Syracuse, Dionysius II—however, to evoke the sense that a king or leader always needs to watch out for their enemies, Dionysius arranged for a sword to be hung over Damocles. Damocles then realized that “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Do I think just a generic “sword” will be accepted by the judges? I could see them ruling either way on this—I believe that the generic fails to fit a “Phrases from the Ancient World” category; many fans fail to remember that responses generally do need to fit the constraints of both clue and category.

We have many new offerings at The Jeopardy! Fan Online Store! Here are our current featured items:

Game Recap & Tonight’s Game Stats:

Looking to find out who won Jeopardy! today? Here’s the Monday, August 21, 2023 Jeopardy! by the numbers, along with a recap:

Jeopardy! Round:

(Categories: Valleys; That ’70s Or ’80s Show; Dance; “D” In Science; Get A Handle On It; In The Nato Phonetic Alphabet)

Sam got off to a great start and was unfazed by dropping $3,400 on the first Daily Double. Meanwhile, Zach and Jessica struggled to get in edgewise.

Statistics at the first break (15 clues):

Sam 10 correct 2 incorrect
Zach 1 correct 0 incorrect
Jessica 2 correct 3 incorrect

Today’s interviews:

Sam started a scholarship with some of his winnings.
Jessica surprised her guests by running a phobias category in Second Chance.
Zach bought a house with two treehouses connected by zip line.

Statistics after the Jeopardy round:

Sam 20 correct 3 incorrect
Zach 5 correct 0 incorrect
Jessica 3 correct 3 incorrect

Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:

Sam $8,000
Zach $2,200
Jessica -$1,400

Double Jeopardy! Round:

(Categories: Vice Presidents; A Crash Of Symbols; Brit Bits; 13-Letter Words; In That Novel; Herbal & Spicy Names)

Sam’s dominance continued, with Sam getting another 14 correct in this round, forcing Zach to attempt a big move on the last Daily Double. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, and Sam cruised to a runaway. Meanwhile, Jessica had to take some chances to get out of the red, and it didn’t work out for her today.

Statistics after Double Jeopardy:

Sam 34 correct 5 incorrect
Zach 14 correct 3 incorrect
Jessica 4 correct 7 incorrect
Total number of unplayed clues this season: 8 (0 today).

Scores going into Final:

Sam $19,600
Zach $5,200
Jessica -$5,800

Sam and Zach both got Final correct (with the full name); Sam is now a semifinalist!

Tonight’s results:

Jessica -$5,800 (By rule, did not participate in Final Jeopardy)
Zach $5,200 + $528 = $5,728 (What the Sword of Damocles?)
Sam $19,600 + $0 = $19,600 (What is the Sword of Damocles?) (Semi-Finalist)

Sam Buttrey, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the August 21, 2023 game.)

Other Miscellaneous Game Statistics:

Daily Double locations:

1) “D” IN SCIENCE $600 (clue #10)
Sam 3400 -3400 (Zach 200 Jessica -1200)
2) BRIT BITS $1600 (clue #8)
Sam 8400 +2000 (Zach 6600 Jessica -1800)
3) IN THAT NOVEL $2000 (clue #12, $21200 left on board)
Zach 9000 -7000 (Jessica -1800 Sam 10000)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: -154

Clue Selection by Row, Before Daily Doubles Found:

J! Round:
Zach 5 5 4
Jessica 3
Sam 4 2 1 1 2 3*

DJ! Round:
Zach 4 5 3 2 1 3 5*
Jessica 3
Sam 1 4* 2† 4

† – selection in same category as Daily Double

Average Row of Clue Selection, Before Daily Doubles Found:

Sam 2.40
Zach 3.70
Jessica 3.00

Unplayed clues:

J! Round: None!
DJ! Round: None!
Total Left On Board: $0
Number of clues left unrevealed this season: 8 (0.19 per episode average), 0 Daily Doubles

Game Stats:

Sam $22,600 Coryat, 34 correct, 5 incorrect, 59.65% in first on buzzer (34/57), 3/3 on rebound attempts (on 6 rebound opportunities)
Zach $12,200 Coryat, 14 correct, 3 incorrect, 22.81% in first on buzzer (13/57), 3/3 on rebound attempts (on 8 rebound opportunities)
Jessica -$5,800 Coryat, 4 correct, 7 incorrect, 12.28% in first on buzzer (7/57), 1/4 on rebound attempts (on 6 rebound opportunities)
Combined Coryat Score: $29,000
Lach Trash: $5,400 (on 5 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $17,600

Player Statistics:

Zach Newkirk, career statistics:

148 correct, 23 incorrect
14/17 on rebound attempts (on 44 rebound opportunities)
29.86% in first on buzzer (132/442)
8/14 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $6,500)
5/8 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $15,475

Jessica Stephens, career statistics:

77 correct, 12 incorrect
8/12 on rebound attempts (on 25 rebound opportunities)
24.56% in first on buzzer (70/285)
3/3 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $7,000)
3/4 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $10,680

Sam Buttrey, career statistics:

136 correct, 11 incorrect
8/9 on rebound attempts (on 22 rebound opportunities)
45.26% in first on buzzer (129/285)
3/4 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $3,000)
3/5 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $19,920

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • While I knew Sam was good, I was not expecting 34 correct. He’s certainly got a puncher’s chance in the semifinals.
  • Today’s box score: August 21, 2023 Box Score.

Final Jeopardy! wagering suggestions:

(Scores: Sam $19,600 Zach $5,200 Jessica -$5,800)

Zach: Bet whatever you like. (Actual bet: $528)

Sam: No reason to bet anything here, just bet $0. (Actual bet: $0)

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10 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Monday, August 21, 2023"

  1. And here we have the ToC debut of Steve Mart- er, um, Sam. I knew Sam was good, but I was absolutely not expecting this as the result! I know a lot of people tend to underrate Sam or say he’s undeserving of a spot in the Masters, but after watching this, as well as the performances he put up against Matt Amodio, Amy Schneider, and Andrew He, I think he’s absolutely deserving of a spot in Masters.

    It’s honestly a shame that this game didn’t work out for Jessica, especially because I thought she was the favorite to win this match. I guess it’s really proof of the old business saying “past performance is not indicative of future results”. I know that everyone in the ToC is an extremely high level player, but the fact that two players who had previously dominated their respective SCCs had a combined $5,000 going into Final is just rough and something I absolutely wasn’t expecting.

    I’ve seen what a lot of vox Twittuli have been saying about certain contestants, and… it’s absolutely disgusting. People need to learn how to keep their idiotic thoughts to themselves, especially when it’s about a person they’ve never met on a game show they claim to be a fan of. More than that, we as an entire community need to do better.

  2. Mary A Rose | August 21, 2023 at 4:40 pm |

    You go, Steve. I mean, Sam! You are a positive ray of sunshine.

  3. Catherine Adriance | August 21, 2023 at 4:56 pm |

    I just don’t understand why anyone has to say anything negative at all about the contestants. It’s so easy to comment from your easy chair and probably harder than we think to actually be on the show. Even the contestants that don’t get to play Final are probably more intelligent than most of the people watching. And if comments are about appearance that is shameful and disgusting…frankly, a sign of jealousy and insecurity. It takes guts to get up there and even more so when one “fails”. I can’t recall who said this but it was something akin to ‘you can only fail if you never try’. Be nice!! It’s not that difficult !!!

  4. I was so glad to see fans written in quotes when referring to so-called fans (but not using ‘so-called’ at the time). They are at best “self-deluded viewers” and at worst “trolls disguised as fans”.

  5. Sandie Wasko | August 21, 2023 at 10:41 pm |

    Question was what is the most western province in Canada
    Answer was British Columbia. Said no correct answer is Alberta
    Umm. British Columbia IS the correct answer

    • No, Sandie, the clue said “westernmost PRAIRIE province”.

      As a Canadian myself, you’d think I would have said something on this point had Jeopardy! itself been wrong on this point.

      In general, if you think Jeopardy! has made a mistake this egregious, it is much more likely that you the viewer got something important confused, rather than the show.

      • “In general, if you think Jeopardy! has made a mistake this egregious, it is much more likely that you the viewer got something important confused, rather than the show.”

        Duh! Ain’t that the truth!

        I am surprised that someone who knows to come here to comment on a presumed “error” DOESN’T know to go to ‘J! Archive’ first to check on actual wording (of clue, response, host comment, etc.) as opposed to what they thought they heard/saw on TV.

  6. Dewayne Swink | August 21, 2023 at 11:16 pm |

    I have a question. Tonight Jessica was minus $5800. Is this a record low ?

    • No—not even close to a record.

    • For the Tournament of Champions, I do believe it is a record.

      For tournaments in general, as far as I know, it’s just $200 short of the record (-$6,000 by Hans von Walter in the first finals match of the 2010-B College Championship).

      Just in general, counting all regular play games, no, not even close. Without doubled dollar values, the record is -$7,400 by Patrick Pearce (in, ironically enough, a Matt Amodio game). With doubled dollar values, the record is -$5,100 (-$10,200) by Joan Kantor, and there were also scores of -$4,500 (-$9,000) by Ron Vernon and -$4,900 (-$9,800) by Elaine McCauley.

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