Final Jeopardy: Word Origins

The Final Jeopardy question (12/23/2014), in the category “Word Origins” was:

In the mid-1960s, a decade after it first appeared in a holiday tale, this word came to be used for any mean killjoy.

Current champ Allison Fraser has a 2-day total of $40,901. Trebek said that these two players: Melissa Applebee, from Urbana, IL; and Avishai Gebler, originally from Sharon, MA., are here “to put an end to” Allison’s winning ways. Let’s see what happens.

Round 1: Allison found the Jeopardy! round Daily Double in “Authors” under the $600 clue before the first break. She was in second place with $1,200, $3,000 less than Avishai’s lead. She made it a true Daily Double and she was RIGHT.

This woman is truly “Beloved”, winning a Pulitzer in 1988 & a Nobel in 1993. show

Avishai finished in the lead with $6,200. Allison was second with $5,800 and Melissa was last with $3,200.

Round 2: Melissa found the first Daily Double in “The 1920s” under the $800 clue on the second pick of the round. Since the first clue was a triple stumper, she still was in third place with $3,200, $3,000 less than Avishai’s lead. She bet $1,000 and she was RIGHT.

In 2012, the top 1% of earners had their biggest share of U.S. household income since this year just before a crash. show

Allison found the last Daily Double in “National Parks of the World” under the $800 clue. In the lead with $13,800, she had $3,600 more than Avishai in second place. She bet $2,000 and she was RIGHT.

A Tanzanian National Park on this plain features grassland & migrating antelope & zebras. show

Allison finished in the lead with $19,400. Avishai was next with $12,600 and Melissa was in third place with $9,000.

Upon returning from the break, Melissa’s score was upped to $9,800 because komodo dragons are monitor lizards.

Only ONE of the contestants got Final Jeopardy! right.


““How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” is probably Dr. Seuss’s most classic story of all…. The story is about a green ogre who lives on a mountain, miserable and angry and resentful of the Whos in the village below who are celebrating Christmas. The happier they are, the angrier he gets. This continues until finally he can’t take it anymore and hatches a plan to steal away their joy– by stealing Christmas….” (Why the Grinch Stole Christmas)

On, killjoy, party pooper and wet blanket are the top 3 synonyms for grinch.

Melissa wrote down “Debbie Downer”. She lost her $9,601 bet and finished with $199.

Avishai got it right. He bet it all, doubling his score to $25,200.

Allison thought it was Scrooge (the Dickens character, noted for his miserliness). She lost her $5,900 bet and wound up in second place with $13,500, making Avishai the winner.

The 2-day curse has struck again and we now look to the new champ to break it.


Avishai Gebler used to be a high school teacher. During the chat, he explained that he left that occupation and is currently studying to become a rabbi at the Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in Riverdale, NY.

2 years ago:: ALL of the players got this FJ in “Art & Activism”

Though being added to much more slowly than 20 years ago, it’s now 1.3 million sq. ft., too big to display in one place. show

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

You may also like...

18 Responses

  1. JEAN says:

    Personally I thought the final Jeopardy was really easy. I got it right out of box and was surprised that only one of the contestants got it right.

  2. Tom Clark says:

    Wait … just a second here … hold on …

    Did that nincompoop really think Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in the 1950s?

    Or does she think “decade” means “one hundred years”? Still not good – “A Christmas Carol” was published in 1843.

    Or does she think “Scrooge” comes from the Carl Barks comic book creation of Donald Duck’s rich uncle, Scrooge McDuck, commonly known as Uncle Scrooge?

    That’s better, because he did first appear in a Christmas story, i.e., “Christmas on Bear Mountain” — but it was in 1947.

    By the way, I’m only going to complain and point out stupid things from now on, so if you don’t like it, don’t read anything following my name. If my health improves, I might go back to being my old sunshiny self.

    • john blahuta says:

      Tom, you get all kind of things in fj…. the one that will always stick with me is the lady who had 11K and the leader 22K before fj and she did not bet it all, knowing that the leader would not bet a penny!! (and got fj right…)
      i guess during fj “brainfreeze” sets in sometimes. pressure, shortcut in the brain? who knows? everybody is liable to do something really foolish from time to time.

      don’t let it spoil your christmas,and whatever ails you: i hope you will recover soon and fully! that’s my christmas wish to you. Mele Kalikimaka from Lahaina, Maui. Hang in there, ok???

    • john blahuta says:

      and btw: i know people who have NO CLUE what a decade is, that DEKA is the old greek for ten, then used in latin as DECEM for ten, anglicized to decade=10 years. in german it’s “dekade”, in french “decennie”, italian (closest to latin) “decennio” or even “decade”, spanish “decada”. sometimes you think something is completely clear to everybody. far from it, let me assure you….
      be that as it may: get better soon!!!

    • VJ says:

      I thought she just got stuck on “Scrooge” and wrote it down anyway rather than have nothing at all.

      In any event, Scrooge is a he, not an it, even as a duck.

      • JEAN says:

        FYI The Grinch is also a HE, not an it. BUT Scrooge is an miser, not a killjoy

        • VJ says:

          true and true — wikipedia calls grinch HE, and even has a grinch and scrooge connection “The name almost certainly derives from a Russian dialect word гринч ‘humbug’.”

          I do associate miser with scrooge though I never even thought of him because of the grinch song. FYI, on, meanie is one of the synonyms for scrooge.

      • Tom Clark says:

        I think “it” referred to the word as a word, not the character.

        And Ebenezer Scrooge was a killjoy. When wished a Merry Christmas, he would just reply, “Bah, humbug!” which is pretty close to what I’ve been doing this year.

    • JEAN says:

      Hope you feel better, but that is not the reason to complain all of the time. A great attitude sometime can help you to start feeling better. Just saying…
      Happy jeopardy watching

  3. allison lapin says:

    I don’t know when this was taped. The funeral if his mother, may she rest in peace ,was today.

    • john blahuta says:

      whose mother? did not see the show, we had a power outage due to rain and high winds. since you say “his” i presume you are talking about avishai’s mother? and that during hanukkah….
      whoever it is, my condolences to the surviving family!

  4. VJ says:

    pretty sure we all would have predicted a triple solve on this FJ if we saw it earlier!

    Don’t know how many watch the contestants during the think music… I do and I was astonished that Allison wasn’t writing at first — thought for sure she’d get it. I could tell Melissa was writing too much, and Avishai looked confident enough for me.

    • Cece says:

      Yeah, VJ – even I found that fj too easy (and I’m no genius, and a Brazilian to boot). Well, five years ago when I voted against an office X-mas party, a co-worker called me a Grinch. “What’s a Grinch?”, I asked. “A wet blanket”, he replied.

      This is how one learns the nuances of a foreign language. The hard way.

  5. jacob ska says:

    Avishai was a good solid player. Loved the way he played the game with fortitude. Very careful thinker. Hope he wins tomorrow. He started responding right out of the gate. Fantastico!

  6. john blahuta says:

    allison was in the ballpark, but…..