22 day run on Jeopardy!
July 1, 2004 12:17 PM   Subscribe

How long can he go? Jeopardy streak hits $697760 for 21 consecutive days.

This guys is simply amazing to watch. He's had more airtime than some tv stars. Any bets to how long he can go?
posted by blahblah (56 comments total)
 
WaPo article.
posted by shoepal at 12:23 PM on July 1, 2004


Don't they usually have a policy as to how long you can be on a game show? You'd think the guy would have caught his limit by now.
posted by me3dia at 12:26 PM on July 1, 2004


Jeopardy used to have a one-week limit. They got rid of it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:28 PM on July 1, 2004


It's a truly amazing run. I just wish he'd get half the publicity that stars from American Idol or Survivor receive.
posted by BlueTrain at 12:33 PM on July 1, 2004


A google news query and a link to Jeopardy.com? This post will be useless in about a week or so.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:33 PM on July 1, 2004


As opposed to its extreme utility right now?
posted by falconred at 12:37 PM on July 1, 2004


Still, it is pretty amazing. It has got me hooked on Jeopardy again for the first time in, oh, 15 years.
posted by Quartermass at 12:38 PM on July 1, 2004


This guy is amazing. He's a nerd (he and his friends cheer whenever a movie's title is mentioned in said movie), he loves his wife (on one show, when he was so far ahead, final jeopardy didn't really matter and he answered with "what is... hi [wife's name]. And he's frugal. On one show he could have topped the highest one day total of around 52,000 but he decided to keep it an even 40,000.

This is some of the best reality tv out there right now. Although, if he keeps it up for say a month or two, it will get kinda tiring to watch.
posted by futureproof at 12:39 PM on July 1, 2004


Any bets to how long he can go?

ISTR that it's another few days to a week. These were all taped in February; earlier articles -- that seem to have been disappeared or edited -- said how long his run was (fnarr fnarr) and how much he won. It's a long time, and a whacking great pile of cash.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:39 PM on July 1, 2004


The Michael Larson Incident (another rlibrary link)
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:39 PM on July 1, 2004


Enh. Publicity stunt. The people they're putting him up against have a few instant disadvantages - the biggest of which is, after a few tapings' worth of shows (they tape 5 per day), you have the buzzer system down to an art. It's hard to see just how the Jeopardy buzzer system works and how early it will allow buzzing until you see it in action. That's the biggest reason it used to be restricted to 5 wins - after that point, the momentum and your knowledge of the program's workings would propel you a long way. The other contestants also have the psychological disadvantage - "this guy's our first-ever 12 time champion" are not the words you want to hear as you come onstage for the first time, still nervous and not used to the lights and cameras.

Basically, they're trying to show that they're competitive with Millionaire, which was also the point of doubling the question values. I'm guessing the guy tops out at almost exactly one million dollars, thus "proving" that you can win as much.
posted by u.n. owen at 12:41 PM on July 1, 2004


Absolutely fascinating. More impressive than winning for 21 consecutive days is how he's won. I've watched since probably day 6 or 7, and I think I've only seen two or three shows where he failed to have more than double his nearest competitor going into final jeopardy (which, for those who don't watch, essentially guarantees victory. Unless you're Cliff Claven). His speed and accuracy rates are incredible. It's really, really fun to watch. Of course, maybe they're pulling a Herbie Stempel and feeding him the answersquestions.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:41 PM on July 1, 2004


I've never seen this guy enter Final Jeopardy without a commanding lead. He makes it look easy, too.

I wonder, though, if Jeopardy isn't milking this whole thing by giving him less-than-challenging challengers. Of course, a game show would never do something like that, right?
posted by swift at 12:43 PM on July 1, 2004


He's amazing. I used to fancy myself good at Jeopardy but this guy knows more than I could imagine anyone knowing. And he's incredibly fast on the signalling button.

One poor contestant even had "what ever Ken's answer is" as her Final Jeopardy. I'd hate to have to face him.
posted by tommasz at 12:45 PM on July 1, 2004


I used to work with a dude named Ken Jennings. He's a salesguy that probably makes and takes one hundred calls per day.

I feel sorry for him now.
posted by trharlan at 12:49 PM on July 1, 2004


I've been watching this guy since day one. I couldn't believe it when he was at 5 straight wins. It's so seldom that you see more than a couple wins in a row.

He's definitely made Jeopardy! a much more exciting watch. Normally I'm cooking while it's on, shouting (often wrong) answers/questions from the kitchen. For the past 2 weeks, I've been planted on the couch watching.
posted by fizz-ed at 1:17 PM on July 1, 2004


I used to work with a dude named Ken Jennings. He's a salesguy that probably makes and takes one hundred calls per day.

incredible. could you start over and somehow incorporate shoelaces and a rocket ship?
posted by Satapher at 1:25 PM on July 1, 2004


From the WaPo link... "The biggest challenge, Walsh says, was coming up with a different funny story to tell each time. Walsh has heard the same stories as the rest of the world -- all supplied by Jennings. How Jennings is a computer guy who likes roller coasters and hates Ferris wheels. How he played on a successful quiz bowl team as a student at Brigham Young University in the late 1990s. How he has a 1-year-old son, Dylan, a wife, Mindy, and a puppy named Banjo...."

Must be nice to make it look so easy.
posted by blahblah at 1:28 PM on July 1, 2004


Charles Van Doren.
posted by solistrato at 1:28 PM on July 1, 2004


This guy is amazing. He's a nerd (he and his friends cheer whenever a movie's title is mentioned in said movie), he loves his wife (on one show, when he was so far ahead, final jeopardy didn't really matter and he answered with "what is... hi [wife's name]. And he's frugal.

But has he bombed shit in the cause of revolution? Jeopardy alumnus Brian Flanagan ($23,000 winnings) is a former member of the Weathermen.
posted by liam at 1:29 PM on July 1, 2004


oops - disregard my last post... that's what happens when you skim articles all the time. (the quote's about the last record holder...)


why can't I delete posts? grrrr
posted by blahblah at 1:33 PM on July 1, 2004


Tic Tac Dough, 1980.
Naval lieutenant Thom McKee.
43 opponents eviscerated.
$312,700 in winnings = $755,888 in 2004 dollars.
And you probably wouldn't kick him outta bed.
posted by Oddly at 2:00 PM on July 1, 2004


I wonder, though, if Jeopardy isn't milking this whole thing by giving him less-than-challenging challengers. Of course, a game show would never do something like that, right?

My best friend was one of his challengers. (her show aired last week). I can say with certainty that she is one of the smartest people I know, and certainly had a good chance, except...

Like it was said above, she got locked out of the buzzer constantly on questions she knew. He's got the timing down so exactly, that I don't really see how he can lose.
posted by antimony at 2:11 PM on July 1, 2004


incredible. could you start over and somehow incorporate shoelaces and a rocket ship?

Satapher, you have no idea how hard it is to share a name with a famous person. It's unbearable.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:13 PM on July 1, 2004


When they changed the rules, my first thought was that they wanted their own Thom McKee. It was only a matter of time before somebody like this came along to get everybody interested in the show again.

earlier articles -- that seem to have been disappeared or edited -- said how long his run was (fnarr fnarr) and how much he won

This does not seem likely to me. Jeopardy historically hasn't allowed even losing contestants to divulge this kind of information, never mind record-setting winners.

The people they're putting him up against have a few instant disadvantages

Maybe so, but this guy is still one of the best players I've ever seen. He has an incredibly broad range of knowledge. Most players you'll see shying away from categories out of their comfort zone -- he doesn't play that way. He even jumps into the dumb stunt categories with aplomb.
posted by jjg at 2:29 PM on July 1, 2004


If it were based on sheer question knowledge, i've been keeping track and could have beaten him on several different days.

His strength does lie in his breadth of knowledge - but lots of contestants have that.

One interesting fact: Jeopardy tryouts start with a 50 question written test. The cutoff is at 35 questions - less than 10% get that many, and they go onto the next round.

But from several different rounds of tryouts and extensive comparing of scores once we had the answer sheets (an advantage of geeks with good memories - we knew what we'd answered), I can tell you that almost everyone who gets on the show gets 41-43 of the questions. There'd always be a couple of us who had 48-50, and we never once made it to the show. I always figured they dug up a 48-50 answerer when they needed a five-time champion.

Now, I figure they pulled up a good scorer when they needed a superchampion for ratings. So he probably has that going for him right away - the difference between 43 and 48 questions right can be huge, it suggests a willingness to answer outside one's "comfort zone" and such.

Combine that with 5 straight days of learning and living the buzzer system, 5 games a day, and you've got a recipe for winning a whole lot of money against contestants who don't know as much and are intimidated and cowed down by the end of the regular Jeopardy! round.
posted by u.n. owen at 2:40 PM on July 1, 2004


to share a name with a famous person. It's unbearable.

Feh. Something to talk about at the cash register. And maybe a decent table in a restaurant now and then.
posted by yerfatma at 2:42 PM on July 1, 2004


U.N. Owen -- I strongly suspect that he gamed the process and sandbagged the casting directors. A moderate degree of intelligence and a thorough preparation (basically, outlining the scope of knowledge by watching a season or two of tapes, and then studying relevant references) got him up the ramp, and then buzzer mastery did the rest.

I wonder if his experience will lead Jeopardy! to a straightforward merit-only nerd-friendly policy. Say goodbye to cheery middle-aged ladies in knits, hello endless march of too fat or too skiny (or the classic geek combination of both too fat AND too skinny at once, with those sickly little stick legs), thick glasses and/or accents...
posted by MattD at 2:57 PM on July 1, 2004


you have no idea how hard it is to share a name with a famous person. It's unbearable.

Hey, man, you're the one who named yourself after him.
posted by rory at 3:07 PM on July 1, 2004


I'll add something... Ken is online of course. If he had a Metafilter account, he would post to this thread. He's on both TWoP and the Sony Jeopardy boards, usually commenting on each day's play. It's really neat.
posted by smackfu at 3:30 PM on July 1, 2004


MattD: I'm actually really hoping so. The current tryout process leaves a lot to be desired.

At least on Millionaire, they never see a photo - so they can't say "well, we've already got a tall woman on today, can't have two," and poof, you're off the show. Jeopardy does that constantly. I have been consistently surprised by the people they choose as contestants - they're all very middle-of-the-pack among the people who get the cutoff score, and they generally have moderate buzz times and not a lot of personality.

Ken may have picked up on that, became their "perfect" contestant (I'm going to try the same at my next tryout so wish me luck) and got on that way. As well, he's fairly inoffensive looking - 30's white male, average height, average build.

With enough studying, anyone can get to the cutoff and beyond - I consistently get 48 or 49 (never a perfect score) on practice and real ones, and I rarely study anymore. A good Scholastic Bowl regimen in high school kept me pretty prepared for Jeopardy. In an average Jeopardy! show, I miss 4 questions total - and since their question writers changed, they're usually the low dollar value ones. I have a habit of picking up the ones no one else has any clue about.

Next time, I'm so going to get on. I've been wanting it since I was seven years old. But being a fat, six foot tall girl who's 20 years old maybe doesn't help matters much.
posted by u.n. owen at 3:44 PM on July 1, 2004


Fix the buzzer system: instead of awarding the answer opportunity to the first person to hit the buzzer after the buzzers get unlocked, do this:

Establish a sequence of short (150 ms) buzzer "zones." So, the first 150 ms period after the buzzers get unlocked is zone 1, the next 150 ms is zone 2, etc.

If multiple contestants buzz in in the same earliest-buzzed zone, randomly award the questioning rights among those contestants. It'll trend toward rewarding fast players, but it prevents someone with millisecond accuracy from locking out other players.
posted by cortex at 4:29 PM on July 1, 2004


ken jennings is the cousin of one of my best friends.

:o
posted by y0bhgu0d at 4:33 PM on July 1, 2004


Are you disqualified if you try to buzz in before they're unlocked, or is it just courtesy not to tap the buzzer continuously with both hands as he finishes reading the question?
posted by abcde at 5:19 PM on July 1, 2004


Has anybody else noticed that the Jeopardy! writers seem to be showing off now that they're up against somebody of a higher caliber? I mean, there was an entire category on Luxembourg a few days ago, when most episodes I watch rarely have questions much more challenging than "Who was the president eight years ago?" (OK, that's a slight exaggeration, but I feel like the "What the hell?" factor of Jeopardy! trivia has gone down in recent years.)
posted by logovisual at 6:01 PM on July 1, 2004


abcde -- I believe you are locked out if you ring in early, yes.
posted by logovisual at 6:02 PM on July 1, 2004


Color me naive, but I honestly believe that the show is straight-up. I don't believe that they "cherry-pick" the contestants based on age, gender, height, etc.

Ken Jennings is truly remarkable. While I will grant that his buzzing skills have likely helped him to some degree, said skills don't account for his now-legendary run. It is undeniable that he is monster-smart and has an incredible memory + lightning recall.
posted by davidmsc at 7:32 PM on July 1, 2004


Are you disqualified if you try to buzz in before they're unlocked, or is it just courtesy not to tap the buzzer continuously with both hands as he finishes reading the question?

If you buzz too early, there's a lockout period before you can buzz in again. (There's a light that comes on when you can buzz. Learning to anticipate the light is a major element of Jeopardy skill.)
posted by kindall at 8:54 PM on July 1, 2004


From what I've heard (A colleague of mine was on a few months ago), the buzzer does indeed suck and takes quite a bit to get used to as you have to wait until the question has been completed and a light/signal (off-stage) has gone out (or turns on?). Also, I think she mentioned that you can kinda read the question from the podium, but pretty much have to rely on your listening skills combined with your hand/eye/buzzer coordination which when confronted with the history of Luxembourg could be quite daunting. (Which is why it is much easier to play along at home, even while cooking dinner).

on preview: What kindall said...
posted by shoepal at 9:07 PM on July 1, 2004


Assuming they pick contestants randomly from the people who pass the test and screening, a streak like this is an inevitable consequence of removing the 5-show limit. The current system will take one of the best of the eligible contestants and repeatedly put him or her up against two average contestants. e.g., say Ken is in the top 1% in terms of Jeopardy ability out of all eligible contestants. Then we should expect it to take 100 more contestants, or 50 shows, until someone matches his ability. And it only takes 50 shows for one of these 1% people to show up in the first place.

The show's producers must have understood that this would happen when they removed the 5-show rule.

There's really no other type of competition that's organized this way. To be reasonable, you either have to have all average people (like the old Jeopardy), or a way of matching up the best with the best (a tournament, etc.)
posted by mcguirk at 9:37 PM on July 1, 2004


Assuming they pick contestants randomly from the people who pass the test and screening, a streak like this is an inevitable consequence of removing the 5-show limit

Unless part of the screening is weeding out too-smart people. And then there's scheduling to think of. I'm sure each contestant has a profile that the producers are well aware of, and they time their appearnces to create advantageous matchups.

Obviously, they thought it was time to unloose a super-genius on a bunch of sub-standard contestants. And it's no wonder why. They've created a celebrity. This is pure television producer orchestration (even if there is no straight-up rigging involved).

TV. So exciting I have to wear Depends.
posted by scarabic at 10:10 PM on July 1, 2004


Color me naive, but I honestly believe that the show is straight-up. I don't believe that they "cherry-pick" the contestants based on age, gender, height, etc.

You are exactly wrong. Sure, you have to pass all the tests and play the game well, but in the end the producers are going to be judging how well you'll come across on TV.

The show's producers must have understood that this would happen when they removed the 5-show rule.

Indeed, it was the reason for the decision.

And then there's scheduling to think of. I'm sure each contestant has a profile that the producers are well aware of, and they time their appearnces to create advantageous matchups.

You may be underestimating the complexity of what you're suggesting. I think they do select certain categories to match the demonstrated expertise of the players, but I don't think they match players to each other.
posted by jjg at 10:26 PM on July 1, 2004


Unless part of the screening is weeding out too-smart people.

No matter how much weeding they do, assuming they do it consistently, there's always a top 1% of the remaining group. No rigging is required to get the current result, so why bother? It's a great set up-- an "amazing" streak is a natural consequence of the current rules, but no one seems to realize that it is.

It's kind of like those long distance plans where they charge 99 cents for all calls up to 20 minutes. The disadvantage is hidden in plain sight (you're being way overcharged for short calls)-- no disclaimer required and a lot of people don't even think about it.

Imagine how insane it would be to have any other game or sport organized this way-- e.g. a one-on-one basketball tournament where you admit anyone who's "pretty good", and the first college player who happens to get in creams all the guys who only play at the local Y for the next few months. The college guy is not even close to one of the best players in the world, but they're making no effort to look for the best players.
posted by mcguirk at 10:44 PM on July 1, 2004


No matter how much weeding they do, assuming they do it consistently, there's always a top 1% of the remaining group. No rigging is required to get the current result, so why bother? It's a great set up-- an "amazing" streak is a natural consequence of the current rules, but no one seems to realize that it is.

Not quite. Yes, there will always be a top 1%, but that doesn't mean that someone in the top 1% can't have an off day and be beaten by someone in the top 2%. Or the top 10%. Or the top 90%. Keeping the contestants fairly homogenous (by weeding out supergeniuses) makes the difference between these percentiles increasingly negligible. Imagine two people of relatively equal skill, with one having a slight edge over the other. Now imagine 98 people who fall in between them. Are you telling me the guy who slightly edged out his buddy is destined to go on a 50 game winning streak?

Oh, and regarding your b-ball example, the whole point is that they weed out the college player who would cream everyone.

Logically, it seems that this is a case of the system failing or being outsmarted (i.e. he didn't show off in the tryouts), not at all a "natural consequence." If it was planned then it was planned - I have no trouble believing that - but this is an exceptional case, by no means the product of the standard rules and procedures.
posted by rorycberger at 11:32 PM on July 1, 2004


G-Thug beat you to it.
posted by whoshotwho at 11:36 PM on July 1, 2004


Not quite. {...} Keeping the contestants fairly homogenous (by weeding out supergeniuses) makes the difference between these percentiles increasingly negligible.

OK, you make a good point, and I agree with you here. I was assuming an uneven distribution.

but this is an exceptional case, by no means the product of the standard rules and procedures.

Well, since neither of us knows what the procedures actually are, this is pure speculation. If one assumes "no weed-out", I believe my conclusion still holds. Given that the "no weed-out" case is not only simpler procedurally, but also provides a greater benefit to the show's ratings, why would it be more reasonable to speculate that there is "weed-out"?
posted by mcguirk at 12:21 AM on July 2, 2004


One interesting fact: Jeopardy tryouts start with a 50 question written test. The cutoff is at 35 questions - less than 10% get that many, and they go onto the next round.

No longer true. They aren't divulging what the cutoff number is anymore, and judging by the discussion I had with the rest of the pack of people who passed the test when I did two weeks ago, it's more likely 40 this year. (They no longer provide the correct answers after the test, but being nerds with good memories, we were able to discuss it in depth afterward.) The process has become much more competitive, but there is also a more competitive batch of people trying out. Out of 100 people in our session, 19 of us passed.

(Of course, I tested in D.C. and had similar results the last time around, also in D.C. where an excruciatingly large number of the applicants are lawyers, teachers or grad students. All of the passing group in both of my tryouts fell into one of those three categories. Results may vary in, say, Richmond or Detroit, two other cities on this season's tryout tour.)

I can tell you that almost everyone who gets on the show gets 41-43 of the questions.

One of the things we were told was that once the test was scored for the purposes of seeing who passed, it was thrown away, and your score became irrelevant. There is no longer any effort to put the people who scored best on the show, or to match contestants based on their test score or their demographics.

That's what we were told. Was it true? That remains to be seen. I don't know how it could be proven one way or another.

I'm sure each contestant has a profile that the producers are well aware of, and they time their appearnces to create advantageous matchups.

That would be very difficult. You're called about a month in advance. You can say no. You can miss the calls, or miss the window of opportunity to return a message. A large number of people are called at once. The show tapes two days a week, five shows a day (IIRC) and since there will never be a champion rollover now, there will never be a need for more than 21 contestants in any given taping session.

Now, considering that the contestant pool is about 4,000 people each season, it would take an awful lot of work to cull out a homogenous group for each taping session when there's no way to know in advance who is going to be able to travel to LA when they're called and which contestants are going to end up as champions and then repeat champions.

The idea of weeding out "supergeniuses" is just... it's a 50 question test on subjects like literature, geography, history, basic math, basic science, entertainment and popular culture.

Many of the questions, even in the literature and science categories, were phrased in a manner which would allow someone with only a passing knowledge on the subject to come up with the correct answer or even for someone to guess based on a clue in the question from a non-related subject. Scoring highly -- even perfectly -- on the test wouldn't prove that you were a supergenius, nor that you'd do well on the show. It would prove only that you happened to have a broad range of knowledge which coincidentally pinged nicely with the test that day. It would not necessarily indicate that your broad range of knowledge would ping nicely with the categories which came up on the show the day you stood behind that podium.

Nor would a high test score indicate that you'd be good at playing the game; clearly everyone who gets on the show is pretty daggone smart, but there have been more than a few who don't even make it to Final Jeopardy because they're in the red, and many more who go in with $1,200 while the other competitors have $8,000 and $13,500 or figures in those ranges. Smartest != Best Player.

You are exactly wrong. Sure, you have to pass all the tests and play the game well, but in the end the producers are going to be judging how well you'll come across on TV.

This is true, which is why you stand there, not six feet from them, and play a mock game, complete with a game board on a large screen in front of you (not quite as large as the real thing but a very reasonable facsimile) and buzzers which only work once the lights on the side of the game board go off and the whole schmatta. (Only Alex is missing.) You're judged on your "game" voice, your personality, your ability to not fidget like a ADHD kid whose skipped his ritalin and whether or not you can come across like you've seen the show before, realize that it's just a damn game and can have some fun with it all.

Sitting there watching as the other 16 folks in our group got up to play (I was in the first group) I could tell instantly that some of them would never get a phone call. The mock games lasted less than ten minutes but there were people who were incapable of standing still, who could never master the buzzer, who had to be told repeatedly to speak up - it was clear from jump street. If there's weeding for "good TV" purposes, it happened right then and there.

As to Ken Jennings, while I give him all due respect for kicking much metaphorical Jeopardy butt, I've had a problem with him from the beginning which I finally put my finger on just last night.
posted by Dreama at 5:41 AM on July 2, 2004


Here's Jennings' list of favorite movies. Web design isn't one of his strong suits. I got this link via the Jeopardy! message board, where he occasionally posts.
posted by iconomy at 6:49 AM on July 2, 2004


There's a brilliant short story by David Foster Wallace called "Little Expressionless Animals," about a woman who wins on Jeopardy! every day for a year...
posted by 88robots at 8:07 AM on July 2, 2004


Well, since neither of us knows what the procedures actually are, this is pure speculation. If one assumes "no weed-out", I believe my conclusion still holds. Given that the "no weed-out" case is not only simpler procedurally, but also provides a greater benefit to the show's ratings, why would it be more reasonable to speculate that there is "weed-out"?

Fair enough, I had been basing my assessment primarily on u.n. owen's experiences, but it sounds like dreama may have a more up to date opinion on the subject. Yes, your conclusion somewhat holds based on a heterogenous group of players, although you still have to allow for off-days and near competitors. As I said, just because someone's in the top 1% does not mkae them unbeatable. As for why they would weed people out, there's the obvious issue of finding people who are tv-friendly, but also, if the players are too smart, then the questions have to match that. One of the biggest reasons people watch jeopardy is that they like to play along. If they can't answer any of the questions, then most people take no pleasure in watching.
posted by rorycberger at 8:16 AM on July 2, 2004


I think we have to assume that they weed some people out, because too many things could go wrong, potentially, if they didn't. I'd love to see the Jeopardy contestant who swears when he gets the answer wrong, or delivers his answers like so: "What the *hell* is Titanium, Alex?" but I don't think the studio would be too happy.

As rorycberger points out, the questions have to be hard (people expect it) but not too hard, and the contestants have to be smart, but not too smart, otherwise the game would be too easy. Jeopardy would be boring if no one ever guessed wrong. To keep the balance of the game just so, I'm sure they have to profile contestants pretty thoroughly. I'm sure they will go back to matching people evenly soon enough. This guy is a phenomenon, and that's interesting, but only for a while.

Just guessing though. I don't know a thing about Jeopardy behind the scenes. But I wouldn't underestimate the complexity of their operation. There's a ton of money in that show, and you can bet they know exactly what they're doing with it. They don't just line people up who've passed a standard test.
posted by scarabic at 10:27 AM on July 2, 2004


"What the *hell* is Titanium, Alex?"

Anyone who gets on Jeopardy and does that is a winner, even if they lose.
posted by kindall at 10:31 AM on July 2, 2004


"What the *hell* is Titanium, Alex?"

Well, I was suggesting that there was no weed-out based on excessive ability. Whether there is weed-out based on factors like appearance, mannerisms, etc., doesn't really matter unless those factors have a strong correlation with ability.

Also, as long as the people who almost never miss are rare enough, there's no need to specifically weed them out, particularly if you have a 5-show limit or if you think having long streaks is a good thing.

But in any case, since it's all speculation, there's not much use saying much more about it.
posted by mcguirk at 11:49 AM on July 2, 2004


Here's Jennings' list of favorite movies.

"Ordinary People" ahead of "The Empire Strikes Back" for 1980?!? What kind of nerd is this guy, anyway?
posted by pardonyou? at 11:51 AM on July 2, 2004


What the *hell* is Titanium, Alex?"

I've always wondered about this. Do the rules simply state that they must answer in the form of a question, or do they have to ask "what/who is x?" Has anyone ever seen someone use a different type of question. a few possibilities off the top of my head:
Is the answer x?
Can you tell me about x?
Why should I care about x?
What do you think about x, Alex?
How would you best describe x?
What did you say?

With specific questions you could probably get even more creative. e.g.
A: This sport is played on a diamond.
Q: Why do you think baseball sucks?

A: This sport is played on ice.
Q: Why do people from colder climates tend to be good at hockey?
posted by rorycberger at 1:47 PM on July 2, 2004


I specifically recall Dorothy Zbornak not getting to go on Jeopardy due to her "i rock; you suck" personality in the try-outs
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:41 AM on July 4, 2004


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