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I've Got a Good Feeling About This
November 10, 2010 8:29 AM   Subscribe

Caitlin Burke solved a 27 letter puzzle having seen only one letter revealed on the November 5 episode of Wheel of Fortune. Many are saying it was a miracle or dumb luck, but could it have been the work of a master puzzle solver?
posted by reenum (140 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
The first two comments on YouTube sum this up for me:

#
caddyshack12190
17 hours ago 5

SHE'S A WITCH, BURN HER


#
2ara4ever
17 hours ago 4

it's really annoying how they clap the whole damn time !!
posted by Happy Dave at 8:35 AM on November 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


Sometimes you get lucky. Once, playing Charades, I correctly guessed Berlin Alexanderplatz on the basis of just "Ber-something Something".
posted by Joe Beese at 8:37 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good for her.

That said, I'm shocked that a fashion editor from one Hearst magazine would be covered in a mini feature from another Hearst magazine. What are the odds?
posted by leotrotsky at 8:39 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Caitlin Burke was interviewed by Anderson Cooper [video] on CNN. She talks about how she solved the puzzle.
posted by ericb at 8:40 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like how the story points out that she has a love for designer handbags. I guess since she is a fashion editor for a hearst magazine everyone thinks everyone thinks she is only good at dating hedge fund guys and making assistants cry.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:41 AM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


I love the look the guy next to her at the wheel gives after she guesses.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:42 AM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Caitlin Burke talks about her strategy.
posted by ericb at 8:43 AM on November 10, 2010


I was told yesterday that Caitlin Burke is my girlfriend's cousin's best friend. That is all.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:44 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm a little suspicious that someone so good at the game wouldn't have chosen a letter that occurred more in the puzzle just to max the $. But I guess she got $53k in all, which isn't too bad.
posted by DU at 8:44 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I play a lot of Scrabble and, yeah, there are no two-letter words with C or V! It's such crap. There's one with Q (qi), one with J (jo), I think five (!) with X, two with K (ki, ka)and hell, even one with Z (za, short for pizza--wtf!). I think V is the most undervalued letter in the game. And X is grossly inflated. If you're not scoring at least 50 points with every X you play, you're doing it wrong. And Alfred Butts help you if you draw two Vs.
posted by phunniemee at 8:44 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was well on my way to solving it, until I realized it was written all over the screen and then I felt like a cheater.
posted by wg at 8:45 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


In this situation, is it better to guess all the letters you can for the money, albeit at the risk of a Bankrupt? Or is it better to just take the win - didn't she only get the couple hundred for the L for that round?

I will never understand people who clearly know what the puzzle is, but buy vowels anyway.
posted by kafziel at 8:46 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


There'd be one good reason to pick the "L", DU. If you were 99% sure you had it right, but there was a lingering suspicion in your mind, in the heat of the moment, you might think - "If I pick 'L', I can completely eliminate the possibility that it starts with 'I'll' instead of 'I've', but if I pick G or T, I can't."

Now, obviously, if you picked G or T, and those letters fell in exactly the right places, that would confirm it too, but I can see how picking L would *feel* more like a confirmation.

That, or she's much cleverer than even you or I think, and deliberately thought to herself, "I know the answer already, and I'm going to solve this puzzle after getting only one letter."
posted by kyrademon at 8:48 AM on November 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


I've done this before watching the show. Even without any letters. You're brain sometimes just fills it in right. I'm actually surprised nobody has successfully attempted this before -- what's the worst that can happen?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:49 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


That, or she's much cleverer than even you or I think, and deliberately thought to herself, "I know the answer already, and I'm going to solve this puzzle after getting only one letter."

This way she can get those lucrative crossword puzzle magazine endorsement deals.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:50 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


a miracle? People who truly, truly believe that may have a hard time deciphering "Smart as a box of roc*s".... mutters: a miracle my ass.

however I gotta say Good on her, I kinda dislike that show, but it was fun to see someone nail it like that.
posted by edgeways at 8:52 AM on November 10, 2010


She cheated.

The basis of my opinion? Her reaction. Jokey pun comment about "having a good feeling." The knowledge that she knew it was a prize puzzle, which meant winning outright had an extra bonus.

A real player would have had a completely different reaction. She was too well put-together.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:52 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm a little suspicious that someone so good at the game wouldn't have chosen a letter that occurred more in the puzzle just to max the $.

I think it was pretty clear that she wanted to dazzle at least as much as she wanted the money. There was a guy on Jeopardy several years ago who bet $1337 on his (winning) final answer, much to Trebek's confusion. He could have won a lot more, but he was after something else.
posted by OmieWise at 8:54 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I play a lot of Scrabble and, yeah, there are no two-letter words with C or V!

That's only if you use the American Scrabble players dictionary -- OSPD. The British version of the same -- the Official Scrabble Word -- has a two-letter word with c (ch) as does SOWPODS the combined list used for international Scrabble tournament play.
posted by peacheater at 8:54 AM on November 10, 2010


That, or she's much cleverer than even you or I think, and deliberately thought to herself, "I know the answer already, and I'm going to solve this puzzle after getting only one letter."

According to the linked article, that's pretty much exactly what happened here. Except she picked the "L" kind of randomly, not for one-letter-neener-neeners, but she solved it with no letters before she even spun the wheel.
posted by Gator at 8:56 AM on November 10, 2010


Yeah, I was able to solve it using the same deductive reasoning she did (which I learned about after the fact). The key is the _'_ _. It could only be "I've" or "I'll" and she needed to guess the L to make sure. Once you get "I've", then "got a" is pretty obvious and "feeling" is a natural progression from that. The rest of it kind of falls into place once you've got that far. Of course, it took me 5 minutes to go through that reasoning and it took her 5 seconds.

I think the reasoning behind not playing out the round is the fact that it's a "prize puzzle". I don't watch the show regularly, but I assume that means there is some kind of big prize she wins just for solving it, which makes the building up of money non-essential.

Also, on the clip of CNN I saw about this, I liked the footage of the guy who got the puzzle "Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa" wrong even though ALL the letters were in place, because he mispronounced Ripa.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:59 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


She cheated.

lady, you can't cheat at wheel of fortune. if you could, i would. i won because i was lucky...lucky to wind up in a town full of losers.
posted by rainperimeter at 8:59 AM on November 10, 2010 [13 favorites]


A real player would have had a completely different reaction. She was too well put-together.

To me, if she had gone all jumping up and down, Price is Right style, I would have thought she was a cheater. Jumping up and down makes it look like she's surprised or something. Being all cool about it gives off the message "Yeah, I wasn't guessing. I was 100% sure."
posted by 23skidoo at 9:00 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I got halfway there watching at home, and I didn't have the benefit of being able to look at the board for a full minute while the other guy was spinning and Vanna was doing her thing.

_'__ ___ _ ____ _______ _____ ____ isn't that hard. The first word is obviously "I've" or "I'll," but there are very few commonly-used present/future verbs with three letters, making "I'll" unlikely. So I went with "I've." "Got a" is so common that we have the word "gotta," and "got" is especially common after "*'ve" or "have." With "I've got a" my mind automatically filled in "(beat) bad case of lovin' you" -- "bad" doesn't fit, but made my mind put in "good" for the four-letter word, by association.

If she got as far as I did and actually felt a good feeling about it, it wouldn't have been a big jump for her brain to take. If she or a friend had said "I've got a good feeling about this" (re her being on Wheel of Fortune) some time right before the show, it wouldn't have been a big jump for her brain to take.
posted by thesmophoron at 9:01 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Or is it better to just take the win - didn't she only get the couple hundred for the L for that round?

In her interviews she mentions that she went bankrupt on the previous round. Since this was a "bonus round" she wanted to go home with something. She won a $6,500 trip to Grenada.
posted by ericb at 9:02 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie:
I've done this before watching the show. Even without any letters. You're brain sometimes just fills it in right.


Totally true. And yet:

Cool Papa Bell: She cheated.

The basis of my opinion? Her reaction. Jokey pun comment about "having a good feeling." The knowledge that she knew it was a prize puzzle, which meant winning outright had an extra bonus.

A real player would have had a completely different reaction. She was too well put-together.


I also completely agree with this.

It isn't impossible, but the way she did it was pretty suspect.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:02 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The basis of my opinion? Her reaction. Jokey pun comment about "having a good feeling." The knowledge that she knew it was a prize puzzle, which meant winning outright had an extra bonus.

Of course she knew it was a prize puzzle - they tell you at the beginning of the round (she also would have known it was a phrase). And of course she made a jokey comment about having a good feeling about it - what else do you say in that situation?

I'm not saying I could have solved this, but it's completely reasonable that someone could.
posted by maryr at 9:03 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


lady, you can't cheat at wheel of fortune. if you could, i would. i won because i was lucky...lucky to wind up in a town full of losers.

I'm so glad not to be the only person on earth to have seen this movie.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:04 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


My mother (this is anecdotes about my parents day) did this a lot when we watched Wheel of Fortune, and she was really angry about how slow the contestants were. She also opened the newspaper every day and simply read out the answer to the cryptogram.

Most days, myself, I manage to spell the majority of the smaller words I use correctly.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:04 AM on November 10, 2010 [16 favorites]


There'd be one good reason to pick the "L", DU. If you were 99% sure you had it right, but there was a lingering suspicion in your mind, in the heat of the moment, you might think - "If I pick 'L', I can completely eliminate the possibility that it starts with 'I'll' instead of 'I've', but if I pick G or T, I can't."

You're absolutely right. She talks about this in her CNN interview.
posted by ericb at 9:05 AM on November 10, 2010


thesmophoron - exactly. It's not like there's a void with two characters and nothing more, it's a structured series of spaces, or even a random string of words. If you play enough word games, your mind starts filling in the blanks automatically, trying out phrases to see if the words fit.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:05 AM on November 10, 2010


She also went home with $53,000.
posted by ericb at 9:06 AM on November 10, 2010


That, or she's much cleverer than even you or I think, and deliberately thought to herself, "I know the answer already, and I'm going to solve this puzzle after getting only one letter."

Again, you are right. Check out this interview (as above).
posted by ericb at 9:07 AM on November 10, 2010


Eh, she was just lucky that the answer wasn't "I'll bet a dime against Bobby Flay".
posted by norm at 9:08 AM on November 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


A real player would have had a completely different reaction. She was too well put-together.

How do you know?
posted by kenko at 9:09 AM on November 10, 2010


And of course she made a jokey comment about having a good feeling about it - what else do you say in that situation?

"No way! OMG OMG I can't believe it! Oh, wow! Holy crap. I mean, I had a guess..."

You know. Emotion. Like the rest of us normal humans. Seriously, she's not a very good actor.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:10 AM on November 10, 2010


She cheated.

The basis of my opinion? Her reaction. Jokey pun comment about "having a good feeling." The knowledge that she knew it was a prize puzzle, which meant winning outright had an extra bonus.

A real player would have had a completely different reaction. She was too well put-together.


I thought her reaction seemed a little odd, too... kind of phony... but on the other hand, how would one cheat at solving the puzzle on Wheel of Fortune? I suppose there are ways but none are coming to mind.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:12 AM on November 10, 2010


(Also, if she likes Black Eyed Peas more than Robert Palmer, "I've Got A ..." would have led her someplace totally different than it led me)
posted by thesmophoron at 9:13 AM on November 10, 2010


As thesmophoron and Astro Zombie the first said above, it's not rare to just look at a Wheel of Fortune puzzle (even before a letter is turned) and have the answer. I've done it from the couch plenty of times.

And I don't get the cheating thing. I'm not sure what my reaction would have been, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was much the same as hers.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:14 AM on November 10, 2010


After watching that interview, I can't believe they screwed someone out of a win for pronouncing "Ripa" as in "ripe." That's some very weak sauce.
posted by explosion at 9:15 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


As thesmophoron says, it was actually not as amazing a leap as it might have seemed, for someone who's a word puzzle solver who knows how to think about word and letter patterns and understood that there being no "L" in the puzzle meant it had to start with "I've."

I was actually watching the show when it aired and had been thinking earlier in that episode that this particular contestant was unusually clever for a Wheel of Fortune contestant - and I even joked to my partner how she must have sneaked through the screening process. The other normal-cleverness people on the show didn't have a chance against her.

She also won the bonus round, or whatever it's called on WOF, which doesn't happen very often either (I mean, I don't watch all that often anymore, but it'd been a long time since I'd seen someone win the bonus prize).
posted by aught at 9:15 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


People are notoriously bad at behaving the way we're think they're supposed to in a given circumstance. I read nothing into her reaction other than that it's now how I think I would react.

But, then, I never react how I think I will.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:16 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell, she looks pretty excited and happy to me. (Of course, I'm Canadian, and we calibrate differently.) But why would a successful cheater be visibly less happy and excited than a successful smart person who didn't cheat?
posted by maudlin at 9:17 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


not, rather.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:17 AM on November 10, 2010


I've done this before watching the show. Even without any letters. You're brain sometimes just fills it in right.

This is absolutely true. Since I was a kid, I've found "Wheel" a boring show because you can usually solve the puzzle during the first round or so, and then it's just a long slow drag to see who's going to win. If you are a word puzzle person at all - or even a voracious reader with a good visual memory - you easily recognize word lengths and patterns. And this one, with the rare apostrophe right after an initial letter, gave you a great head start.
posted by Miko at 9:19 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm with you guys that shit was easy. I could have solved it with no letters.

also, she cheated.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:19 AM on November 10, 2010


I had the same instant reaction as Cool Papa Bell - I instantly thought she cheated after seeing how she handled the whole thing. It was just way too ha-ha-ha forced laugh for me.

I do think she did it on her own merit, but i'd be interested to know what she was actually thinking when he said she was right. Maybe she was just reacting to the shocked atmosphere.
posted by ukdanae at 9:20 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm just happy to know that Sajak can still be spooked.
posted by Theta States at 9:23 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


The basis of my opinion? Her reaction. Jokey pun comment about "having a good feeling."

No, no. Having watched it, it was clearly one of those disarming self-deprecating comments people make to avoid having to admit they're significantly smarter or more skilled than the people around them. The guy next to her looked like he wanted her dead, so you can imagine why she might have been trying to make it seem like amazing luck, rather than being more skilled than the usual parade of hapless dull-normals who trot through game shows.
posted by aught at 9:23 AM on November 10, 2010 [24 favorites]


I'd be curious about the process by which people think she cheated, and why she didn't use that process elsewhere in the show. Or are we going to be Mycroft Holmeses here, rather than Sherlocks, jumping to astonishing conclusions about criminal behavior but not having any actual energy to demonstrate how the crime was committed?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:23 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Even the least Star Wars geek can tell you it's "I've got a BAD feeling about this".

So, obviously, the Force was with her.
posted by briank at 9:24 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm so glad not to be the only person on earth to have seen this movie.

Well, the truth is, you're not pretty. You're an ugly little girl.
posted by benzenedream at 9:24 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


"No way! OMG OMG I can't believe it! Oh, wow! Holy crap. I mean, I had a guess..."

But she totally COULD believe it. She wasn't surprised at ALL that she was correct.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:24 AM on November 10, 2010


I think she had a hidden earpiece and Nilda O. from Florida fed her the answer.
posted by chococat at 9:26 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was underwhelmed when I saw it the other day (although I liked the lady). If you read/write a lot these puzzles aren't that hard, because you get used to the shapes arising from the juxtaposition of different word lengths; there are only so many places a verb can be and three letter verbs roll around like a slot machine. The longer the phrase, the easier it is. Also, shows like WoF never stray too far from mainstream vocabulary - Americans don't like their game shows to get too intellectual.
posted by anigbrowl at 9:27 AM on November 10, 2010


I've done this before watching the show. Even without any letters. You're brain sometimes just fills it in right. I'm actually surprised nobody has successfully attempted this before -- what's the worst that can happen?

I was a precocious Wheel of Fortune watcher as a kid, my grandma loved the show and I would race her to solutions when we were over at her house. Modulating for the ease of doing it at home vs. in front of cameras and the likely show runner practice of screening out the intense savants from the contestant pool so the home viewers can feel like they're not horribly outmatched, it's still, yeah, likely that folks solve puzzles really early a fair amount of the time.

But whether it pays to do it or not is another question. Unless the game mechanics have changed significantly since I was eating Otter Pops on Grandma Shirley's davenport, your reward for winning a puzzle is keeping your earnings that round. Nothing else. So a one-spin solution with no mitigating factors is an easy way to pocket a very small amount of money, and that's it.

And you win the game, and hence go onto the bonus round (and get in the tourney bracket, maybe? Or vie for a place, anyway, by hoping for a really high cashout?), by accruing the largest stack of cash of the three players in the game. So winning small rounds quickly doesn't necessarily give you an edge over another player who lucks or risks their way into a big payoff by spinning more than is strictly necessary.

In this case it looks like she netted a big pile of cash value for the round-specific prize, which is a nice shortcut: several grand in one spin, instead of trying to build up some amount of that through repeated spins and potentially losing a turn or even bankrupting and passing on a now-less-opaque partial solution to the other players. Savvy!
posted by cortex at 9:28 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


are we going to be Mycroft Holmeses here, rather than Sherlocks
I think we're going to be Encyclopedia Browns and deduce her guilt from some trivial inconsistency which actually has no bearing on the question at all.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


That's nothing. I once watched a woman win the bonus round on the single-word puzzle _ R _ _ . The timer starts and the first word she guesses is frog.

IT WAS FROG.
posted by jinjo at 9:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sometimes you get lucky. One time I won a round of Pictionary by correctly guessing "Frankenstein" when the drawer had only sketched a partial rectangle.
posted by sambosambo at 9:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can totally tell she is cheating by the way I don't like the looks of this.
posted by orme at 9:30 AM on November 10, 2010 [22 favorites]


eh... I've long thought the Wheel itself may be rigged, but it's right in conspiracy theory territory to based an accusation of cheating on how someone reacts to winning.
posted by edgeways at 9:30 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, it'd be exciting in a gawking way if this turned out to be a horribly inept bit of theatrical cheating and whatnot, but I think the simplest solution to her not having some crazy freakout of surprise is that (a) she figured out the damned puzzle, why would she be surprised and (b) smugness is as smugness does, she just nailed that shit cold and she's feeling clever.

Not everybody reacts to game show situations in the same way; this should be familiar to anyone who did e.g. Science Bowl back in school. You've got the squealers and curses and smug grinners and poker face Captain Serious people and every other sort of thing. Screened gameshow contestants are gonna trend toward cheerful and camera-friendly, but they still don't come off an assembly line.
posted by cortex at 9:31 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


The only thing unusual about this is that she actually went ahead and solved the puzzle so early. This one was pretty easy. The only question was whether it was "I'll" or "I've," which she answered with her first guess as has been pointed out.

Good players often know the solution, or a set of possible solutions pretty early on and the rest is balancing the chance of losing a turn or going bankrupt against the number of multiple letters there are for maximum profit. She wanted the trip, so she solved it.

My basis for this is that this is how I go about it when I watch and play in my head and compared to most of the people that make it on the show I seem to be pretty good. My dad, though, is much quicker at it than I am. In fact, he got to the final stage of the screening process before they told him that he was too good to be allowed on the show. Maybe she was smart enough to play dumb.

How would you cheat at Wheel of Fortune anyway?

Ripa/ripe
If it were "ripe-a" vs "reepa" I'd say it was unfair, bur "ripe" is in no way a valid pronunciation of "Ripa."
posted by cmoj at 9:31 AM on November 10, 2010


The basis of my opinion? Her reaction. Jokey pun comment about "having a good feeling."

No, no. Having watched it, it was clearly one of those disarming self-deprecating comments people make to avoid having to admit they're significantly smarter or more skilled than the people around them. The guy next to her looked like he wanted her dead, so you can imagine why she might have been trying to make it seem like amazing luck, rather than being more skilled than the usual parade of hapless dull-normals who trot through game shows.


Bam. People whose minds work this fast are satisfied when they do well, and that's enough. After she solved it, she was probably thinking, "Okay, good. Got it. Well done." But standing there looking self-satisfied isn't really a good posture to take at that moment, as she's probably learned from years of being called "brainy" and "weird" in a derogatory fashion. So she forces herself to be a little silly and excited. It comes off as false because it's not how she would normally react if she'd solved that same puzzle sitting in her living room, or playing the game by herself.
posted by lholladay at 9:32 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


If it had been    _ R _ _     _ R _ _ , the obvious guess would be "frog orgy".
posted by Wolfdog at 9:33 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


If it had been _ R _ _ _ R _ _ , the obvious guess would be "frog orgy".

Damn! I guessed "Drug Brie."
posted by aught at 9:35 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, how do you draw "dignity"?
posted by norm at 9:37 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


On the bonus round, the 'e' in Brie would have been revealed.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:37 AM on November 10, 2010


How would you cheat at Wheel of Fortune anyway?

The implication is that Wheel itself was cheating by feeding her an answer somehow to make for an exciting moment on the show.
posted by cortex at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2010


DRUG FRAY and ORCA CRAP would both be reasonable, though, depending on the category.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's kind of embarrassing to start any sentence with "If you watch a lot of 'Wheel Of Fortune,' but if you watch a lot of 'Wheel Of Fortune,' that's actually not a hard puzzle. It came to me before I saw her solve it, which isn't because of being a master anything, it's exactly what folks have said -- the first word really takes you by the hand.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:39 AM on November 10, 2010


and CRAB ARMY.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:40 AM on November 10, 2010


I remember the first time I got the conundrum* on Countdown I ran round the house whooping like a lunatic. It was doubly amazing because neither of the contestants got it.

*I've only got it about 3 times total ever. I'm a demon on the numbers mind.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:40 AM on November 10, 2010


Another trick you can do is to yell out "Wrong letter, Pat!" and when he goes to check you run for the touchdown.
posted by orme at 9:40 AM on November 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


My mother (this is anecdotes about my parents day) did this a lot when we watched Wheel of Fortune, and she was really angry about how slow the contestants were.

Yes. A friend of mine of only moderate intelligence auditioned for Wheel of Fortune. They told him he was too smart and he should audition for Jeopardy. Wheel is for dummies.

I auditioned for Jeopardy myself. Oh the audition was tough, I was sure I had blown it because I didn't know the Bible questions. I passed the audition but wasn't selected, they said they had too many men, they needed more women contestants. Damn.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:41 AM on November 10, 2010


If it had been _ R _ _ _ R _ _ , the obvious guess would be "frog orgy".

PLEASE. It's clearly "TRON Prom". (what do i win, what do i win)
posted by 23skidoo at 9:42 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


(My favorite game show recently has been The Cube. When people win a round on that, they do not react with calm, smug, satisfaction.)
posted by Wolfdog at 9:43 AM on November 10, 2010


'T' also would be revealed in the bonus round. GRIM ARIA, though, that's a possibility.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:44 AM on November 10, 2010


My mother (this is anecdotes about my parents day) did this a lot when we watched Wheel of Fortune, and she was really angry about how slow the contestants were.

Oh, my father would get APOPLECTIC with the dummies on Wheel of Fortune. But he was always apoplectic about something.
posted by Gator at 9:45 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm an average puzzle solver at best, and I got this one fairly quickly (after the L went up). As others have said, the first word had to be "I've" and "got a" follows naturally. Then a four letter word followed by a long word? Probably an adjective and noun. "Good" is a common four letter adjective on the Wheel. The "L" in the middle of the word helped a lot too. I don't know the stats, but I'd bet that when a single "L" in the middle of a word is followed by three letters, those letters tend to be "-ing." I also have the sense that a single "L" (in the middle of a word) is usually immediately preceded by a vowel, and the most common vowel is "E." If you get that much the rest is easy.

Or maybe I just had the stupid Black Eye Peas song stuck in my head and as soon as I thought "I've got a.." my mind automatically filled in "...feeling - wooo hoooo"
posted by chndrcks at 9:46 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I forgot to add to the conspiracy! The solution to a prize puzzle usually has something to do with the prize. (A lot of times the category is "What are you doing?" and the answer is "Relaxing on the beach" and OMG you're going to the beach!) I didn't see any such connection here.

Also, I think Wheel of Fortune is like crossword puzzles - if you watch it enough, you start to pick up on the tricks and patterns the puzzle makers use. They don't use complicated words or unknown phrases. Getting the sense of what words/phrases they do use eliminates a lot of possibilities quickly
posted by chndrcks at 9:52 AM on November 10, 2010


If it were "ripe-a" vs "reepa" I'd say it was unfair, bur "ripe" is in no way a valid pronunciation of "Ripa."

Except it sounds (to me at least) like he does say "ripe-a".
posted by howling fantods at 9:55 AM on November 10, 2010


The article makes it sound like solving a puzzle is some kind of genius alchemy. I mean, "Burke's strategy, her puzzles-within-puzzles way of thinking"?
As opposed to what? Just staring at it blankly until something pops into your head?
posted by lucidium at 9:56 AM on November 10, 2010


One of my favourite South Park moments is the episode where Stan's dad is on Wheel of Fortune, and loses the final round with N_GGERS, and the clue "these people annoy us".

That's right, he didn't guess "naggers", and neither did anyone watching, I suspect.
posted by fatbird at 10:03 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Count me in the "yea, that's reasonable" category. Wheel of Fortune is not a particularly difficult game. I solved "AU CONTRAIRE" with zero letters when I was eight. My mom really wanted to know how I knew a French phrase (I don't know how I picked it up either, but there you go).
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:09 AM on November 10, 2010


I don't think her jokey pun is all that remarkable. First of all, it's a pretty obvious joke. And second of all, she had plenty of time to think of it. Remember she had already solved before she even spun and with edits who knows how much time she'd been staring at it.
posted by DU at 10:10 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


This makes up for the time I watched Wheel when I was a kid and they had one letter left in:

_T Takes One To Know One

And the contestant guessed "E.T. Takes One To Know One."

I mean, what the fuck was that? I suppose it's possible she had never heard the phrase "It Takes One To Know One" but this was only a few months after E.T. was out in the theaters and nowhere on Earth had anyone ever uttered the phrase "E.T. Takes One To Know One."

It was such an amazing moment of stupidity that I remember it still, almost 30 years later. I wonder where that woman is today. She's probably a senator or something.
posted by bondcliff at 10:14 AM on November 10, 2010 [32 favorites]


Drew Carey told her what it was.
posted by starman at 10:16 AM on November 10, 2010


Seems quite obvious from the layout that it started "I've got a", I got that far myself. She also knew it had no R in it. That narrows it down quite a lot. If she had an hunch, then confirmation on one more letter backs it up and it isn't isn't really as big a leap as it first appears.

Still Impressive though.
posted by devon at 10:27 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm sure she has a long story about a hard life growing up in the slums that would explain this extraodinary performance.
posted by Theta States at 10:28 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was exercising the gray matter on a snarkalicious response. But then the brain cells delivered the news: even mild snark is overkill for Wheel. Of. Fortune.
posted by theora55 at 10:35 AM on November 10, 2010


Chocolate Babies?
posted by The Bellman at 10:38 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know. Emotion. Like the rest of us normal humans.

You also know that "normal" humans aren't all clones, right? Seriously, go watch an episode of Antiques Roadshow. One person will be jumping and practically having a heart attack out of joy at being told their grandmother's brooch is worth $700, and the next person will learn that their antique chair is worth $150,000 and calmly say, "well, isn't that nice" with a faint smile.

Also: a few months ago in the hangman/game theory thread I related how I once solved a WOF puzzle at home with no letters showing.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:47 AM on November 10, 2010


I've seen more impressive one-letter wins.
posted by Eideteker at 10:51 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just tickled that a producer (editor?) for a sister publication in the building said "Ooh! Shit! That's good -- let's get some shots of you tomorrow, Caitlin, and we'll run this in [that section]". I mean, the shots are so beautifully staged of her relaxed office enviroment. That's what I'm enjoying.

Also, spooked Sayjak.
posted by cavalier at 10:53 AM on November 10, 2010


Worst Youtube video title ever.
posted by swift at 10:54 AM on November 10, 2010


Here's what it looks like when a game show contestant does something amazing. That said, there are accusations that this person cheated, too. But at least the reaction looks right.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:55 AM on November 10, 2010


And what's this horseshit about cheating because she made a pun? She jumped around and was gleeful that she won and she spun the answer into a witty remark. Haven't you ever nailed something and thus felt confident and exhilarated that you were awesome?
posted by cavalier at 10:57 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


CPB, that's a startled reaction to a blind guess, as opposed to being shown all of the blanks to a word game and watching enough WoF to narrow it down to a category.
posted by cavalier at 10:59 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, what does this have to do with Metafilter's Own Caitlin Burke? (friend met crush date)
posted by nicwolff at 11:06 AM on November 10, 2010


This isn't MeFi's own caitlinb, right?

I love how the top YT comment now is "someones been fucking the producer imo."
posted by jessamyn at 11:08 AM on November 10, 2010


Well, I have been. But I don't see how that's relevant, or how they knew.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:12 AM on November 10, 2010


E.T. Takes One To Know One.

I remember someone having SECRETARY OF DEFENSE DONALD RU_SFELD, and guessing K. Sometimes people are dumb.
posted by notswedish at 11:13 AM on November 10, 2010


I don't watch WoF so I'm not familiar with the rules, but could she have guessed without spinning?
posted by howling fantods at 11:26 AM on November 10, 2010


Here's what it looks like when a game show contestant does something amazing. That said, there are accusations that this person cheated, too. But at least the reaction looks right.

No, that is not what it looks like when a game show contestant does something amazing. That's what it looks like when someone falls backasswards into winning something.

In that case, the winner simply heard an answer yelled from the audience, and submitted that as his answer. Lucky for him that the person yelling out the answer was some sort of Price is Right superfan who had memorized the prices of all the items in the showcase. Superfan wasn't yelling out an estimated guess, he was yelling out what he KNEW was the answer.

If Superfan was on stage, he wouldn't've been freaking out, either.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:37 AM on November 10, 2010


When you know the right answer, you really aren't surprised.
posted by Miko at 11:38 AM on November 10, 2010


IDIOTS. THOSE PRIZES ARE RIGHTFULLY MINE.
posted by flotson at 11:45 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't watch WoF so I'm not familiar with the rules, but could she have guessed without spinning?

No.
posted by jackflaps at 11:50 AM on November 10, 2010


I got as far as "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts". But that's not it.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:51 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


PLEASE. It's clearly "TRON Prom". (what do i win, what do i win)

Pick me up Friday at six, in a limo, with a corsage ready.
posted by trondant at 12:09 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


za, short for pizza--wtf! [is a legit scrabble word]

I learned this from Friday Night Lights.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:09 PM on November 10, 2010


How the fuck could she have cheated? It's not that hard, anyway. When I watched this show, I often pissed off my grandmother by guessing the answers straight away with zero letters. "TOO ZOON!" she'd yell at me with her Estonian accent.

Anyway, my favorite WoF bungle was when someone managed to get this far: WIRE HAN_ERS. "I'd like to solve the puzzle. Is it 'WIRE HANDERS'?"
posted by Skot at 12:33 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is officially the most time this many smart people have spent thinking about Wheel of Fortune.

I like to think that after you die, you're treated to the old school shopping-style prize round of Wheel of Fortune where you have to spend your money on Yamaha scooters and dinette sets.

Do I have to buy the ceramic elephant?

Everyone has to buy the ceramic elephant.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:36 PM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


The people who insist that she cheated because she didn't respond according to their idea of the "correct" way of behaving are wrong. I say this because I don't like the way they're typing.
posted by papercake at 12:41 PM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


the likely show runner practice of screening out the intense savants from the contestant pool so the home viewers can feel like they're not horribly outmatched

Personal anecdote: Back in the late '80s, I covered the auditions for the college edition of WoF for the student newspaper. They really encouraged potential contestants to buy vowels -- even though, I believe, it's relatively easy for the mind to fill in the blanks on its own, thank you very much. I had the distinct impression that the people who didn't need to buy vowels didn't make the cut.
posted by Gelatin at 12:46 PM on November 10, 2010


MetaFilter: eating Otter Pops on Grandma Shirley's davenport.
posted by ericb at 12:55 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I work with a know it all "look at me I'm so smart" person like this.

I hate her.

Kaitlyn w/ her $5k over there is all "fucking show off. Die."
posted by stormpooper at 1:09 PM on November 10, 2010


It was such an amazing moment of stupidity that I remember it still, almost 30 years later.

I have a moment like that as well. Back in the 80's, Chuck Woolery had a game show that was also related to solving word puzzles. The contestant got the puzzle down to this:

_OUNT RUSHMORE

Jumping up and down with elation, because this was for the grand prize, he yelled out, "Count Rushmore!"

Even funnier than the mistake was the look on Chuck Woolery's face .
posted by DrGirlfriend at 1:14 PM on November 10, 2010


They've obviously never visited Fount Rushmore.
posted by bondcliff at 1:22 PM on November 10, 2010


Chuck Woolery had a game show that was also related to solving word puzzles

That would have been Wheel of Fortune as well. He was the previous host.
posted by aught at 1:22 PM on November 10, 2010


_OUNT RUSHMORE

How did he get the second 'M' without getting the first?
posted by howling fantods at 2:24 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


_OUNT RUSHMORE

How did he get the second 'M' without getting the first?


Zing! Bingo!
posted by ericb at 2:30 PM on November 10, 2010


This isn't MeFi's own caitlinb, right? – jessamyn

I've known ours since like 1981 and no it isn't.
posted by nicwolff at 2:40 PM on November 10, 2010


Do I have to buy the ceramic elephant?

Everyone has to buy the ceramic elephant.


But I already own a ceramic elephant... It is also a teapot.
posted by maryr at 2:42 PM on November 10, 2010


One of my favourite South Park moments is the episode where Stan's dad is on Wheel of Fortune, and loses the final round with N_GGERS, and the clue "these people annoy us".

Funny, but since when does Wheel of Fortune have clues?

Self potato is my favorite Wheel of Fortune moment.
posted by Dismantled King at 2:44 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


DNR the whole thread, but I solved it in about 15 seconds—even without seeing the title of the youtube clip.
posted by stargell at 2:45 PM on November 10, 2010


Jumping up and down with elation, because this was for the grand prize, he yelled out, "Count Rushmore!"

Somewhere on the Internet there was a list of missed answers to the lowest ($100?) level of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. I have no idea if they were real. My favorite, though, was: "Duck, duck, ___", for which the contestant had allegedly selected answer (c) "Duck".
posted by The Bellman at 2:57 PM on November 10, 2010


I have no idea if they were real. My favorite, though, was: "Duck, duck, ___", for which the contestant had allegedly selected answer (c) "Duck".

Sigh. You're forcing me to admit that I once watched that horrorshow. I can confirm that this one is real; I watched in agony as the dude sat there vacillating for something like a minute. "It's either 'duck' or 'goose' . . . " My mental screams gave psychics around the world nightmares for weeks, I'm sure.
posted by Skot at 3:03 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am a professional word nerd and ever since I became one, crosswords and cryptograms have become less challenging, sadly. Once you get so used to word patterns and frequencies, the answers are rarely surprising. Glad for this gal though!
posted by Calzephyr at 4:39 PM on November 10, 2010


In Minnesota, the answer is "gray duck". So there could be a better story than you think.
posted by norm at 7:06 PM on November 10, 2010


"No way! OMG OMG I can't believe it! Oh, wow! Holy crap. I mean, I had a guess..."

You know. Emotion. Like the rest of us normal humans. Seriously, she's not a very good actor.


I'm like this. Just dry. I can be very excited on the inside, but overly analytical. I'm the guy that they would never show if he won the publisher's clearing house thing, 'cause I'd just look at Ed and say. "oh. cool. Thanks."

Not that it wouldn't be a big deal, not that it wouldn't change my life, but it's just my kneejerk. "oh. neat. That'll help a lot I'm sure. So.. do you come in the house now, or do I just call you later to iron it out? Cause I'm missing Buffy."



I also often hope that I'm never a suspect in the murder of a loved one. (Also? I hope a loved one is never murdered. But I digress.) They always show how the reaction of the person makes the cops suspicious, but I can guarantee (from tragic deaths close to me that were not the type where someone needed to solve it) that my reaction would be dry and maybe even gallows humor'ed. Even while inside I was losing it.

Not quite the same thing, but my point is, not everyone hoops and hollers, and the lack of same doesn't mean there is some crime you need to solve, Joe Hardy.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:20 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wolfdog: If it had been _ R _ _ _ R _ _ , the obvious guess would be "frog orgy".

"Frog frog" comes to mind for some reason.

There are far less random answers: army brat, grey area, tree frog.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:31 PM on November 10, 2010


stargell: DNR the whole thread, but I solved it in about 15 seconds—even without seeing the title of the youtube clip.

The title here spoiled it too.

I know, it's not worth complaining about. It's not like my grandma reads Mefi!
posted by Pronoiac at 8:42 PM on November 10, 2010


I paused the video and guessed it too, what the hell else could it be? "I've got a most forlorn heart baby?"
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:23 PM on November 10, 2010


The "Regis Philbin & Kelly Ripa" puzzle is notorious because all three of the contestants mispronounced the names. There was RIPE-A, and Philbrin, and Philman and Reepa.
posted by Danila at 11:34 PM on November 10, 2010


There are far less random answers: army brat, grey area, tree frog.
Nice, but r,s,t,l,n, and e are revealed in the bonus round. So those would appear as, at worst, -R-- -R-T, -RE- -RE-, and TREE -R--.

BONUS ROUND.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:38 AM on November 11, 2010


This is brilliant, but to the people accusing her of cheating because she made a pun? Do none of you people ever watch evening game shows? They make terrible puns/unfunnily try to be funny ALL THE TIME. The most painful things, to me, are the little interviews that Alex Trebek does on Jeopardy.

Alex: "So... I understand that you have a very... Unusual hobby?"
Contestant: "Yes Alex! I knit tiny hats and scarves for garden gnomes!"

Ugh.
posted by antifuse at 6:15 AM on November 11, 2010


I've got a bad feeling Nilda O. keeled over in shock. Maybe Caitlin is the world's best hitwoman and some cradle-robbing Floridian is tooling around the Caribbean with his 55 year-old floozy.
posted by yerfatma at 6:30 AM on November 11, 2010


You assholes *made* me go track down this duck, duck, goose story. Turns out that he blew his "ask the audience" lifeline on it, but got it correct, and went on to make $500,000.

Youtube don't lie. Much.
posted by norm at 7:38 AM on November 11, 2010


Well, one time I won at pictionary by correctly guessing "balloon" before the pencil touched the paper. She needed a stinkin L. Bah humbug.
posted by R a c h e l at 6:56 PM on November 12, 2010


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