Final Jeopardy: Fictional Characters

The Final Jeopardy question (3/23/2017) in the category “Fictional Characters” was:

The word that gave us “picaresque” may also have inspired the name of this clever valet featured in a 1786 opera.

2x champ Kevin Shrum has won $33,500 so far. In his third game, he takes on these two players: Stephanie Garrone-Shufran, from Woburn, MA; and Robin Devereux, from Durham, NC.

Round 1 Categories: Recent Bestsellers – Grains – Decoding the Hitmaking Band – Potpourri – On the Ballot – Preposition 5

Kevin found the Jeopardy! round Daily Double in “On the Ballot” under the $800 clue with 4 clues left after it. He was in second place with $2,600 when he found it, but was awarded $800 on a reversal (see below). That brought him up to $3,400, $4,000 less than Stephanie’s lead. He bet $2,000 and thought it was Kennedy. That was WRONG.

Robert Caro, biographer of this president said his 87-vote win in the 1948 senate primary was fraudulent. show

Stephanie finished in the lead with $7,400. Kevin was second with $3,400 and Robin was last with $1,800.

Round 2 Categories: Insects – Where Is It? – Newer Words & Phrases – Big Screen Literary Adaptations – Architecture & Building – “Z” Men

Robin found the first Daily Double in “Architecture” under the $1,600 clue on the 4th pick. She was in third place with $3,000 at this point, $4,400 less than Stephanie’s lead. She made it a true Daily Double and she was RIGHT.

The Latin for ship gives us the name for this central part of a church. show

Kevin found the last Daily Double in “Where Is It?” under the $1,200 clue, with a dozen clues to go after it. In second place with $11,400, he had $200 more than Robin in second place. He bet $2,000 and thought this place was Bogota. That was WRONG.

The Plaza de Colon  show

Robin finished in the lead with $14,000. Kevin was next with $12,200 and Stephanie was in third place with $9,400.

Only ONE of the contestants got Final Jeopardy! right.


Figaro is well-known as the barber of Rossini’s opera “The Barber of Seville” and the valet in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” works based on the plays of Pierre Beaumarchais, who created the character. Some sources say the name is based on “fils Caron” (Caron’s son), as Beaumarchais was known when he worked for his father. Beaumarchais’ biographer, Louis de Lomenie, attributes the notion that “Figaro” was derived from the Spanish word “picaro” (rogue) to literary critic, Philarète Chasles. Lomenie sort of shoots down both theories, noting that Beaumarchais always wrote the name as “Figuaro” in his “Barber” manuscript. He suggests the Spanish word “figura.”

In short, Beaumarchais is the only one who knows where he got the name Figaro from, he didn’t tell anyone else and that is why the FJ clue says “may.”

Stephanie got it right. She bet $8,000 so her score rose to $17,400.

Kevin drew a blank on this one. He lost his $6,601 bet, leaving him with $5,599.

Robin came up with Picard. She lost $10,401, landing her in third place with $3,599. So Stephanie emerged the winner and she is the new Jeopardy! champ on the third consecutive day with only one FJ solve.

Final Jeopardy (3/23/2017) Kevin Shrum, Robin Devereux, Stephanie Garrone-Shufran

Reversal: PREPOSITION 5 ($400) Lesser in rank or lesser than zero, in temperature – After Kevin was dinged for sub, Robin got it with below.

A triple stumper from each round:

BIG SCREEN LITERARY ADAPTATIONS ($2000) Loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” plays, this 1991 film starred Keanu Reeves & River Phoenix

“Z” MEN ($2000) This printer’s 1735 court victory was the first major win for freedom of the press in the American colonies

2 years ago: Only ONE of the players got this FJ in “Navy Ships”

First designated as Armored Cruiser No. 1, this ship was commissioned in 1895 and operated on our East Coast and the Caribbean. show

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13 Responses

  1. Kevin S. says:

    VJ — glad you pointed out the several alternate theories as to the origin of “Figaro.” The “Fils Caron” hypothesis is the one I learned about in a music appreciation class 45-ish years ago, so my thought when the clue was revealed was, “They’re being tricky — that’s not how Figaro got his name.” I spent my time trying to think of a companion valet in the opera, and drew a blank.

    I corresponded with the producers after the show, and they pointed out the clue read “may have inspired,” not “did inspire,” thus implying that there are several possibilities.

    I should have written down “Figaro” just to avoid leaving a blank but didn’t, so kudos to Stephanie for committing to the answer. She and Robin were great competitors and fun opponents. It was nice being able to spend a day with all of the contestants for the week!

    • jacob ska says:

      @Kevin, you performed great on the show and made those of us who are retired from academia proud. Many academicians have tried and faltered on their first appearance. Your breadth of knowledge and speed on the buzzer were exemplary. Kudos to you for your repeat victories.

    • VJ says:

      Hi Kevin, I’m happy that you knew about “fils Caron” but sad at the same time that it impeded your thought process in that Final. I really enjoyed your games. Some of us folks, myself included, are in your same generation and I loved it when you got the clues most young’uns wouldn’t have known. One that springs to mind right now is when they showed the star of “Police Woman.” I said, “Kevin’s got that!” Nice to know you had a great time and got paid well for your knowledge :)

      P.S. I don’t know if you saw this link I put on the Spoiler Talk about the jodhpurs, suggesting that we might have seen Jackie Kennedy in them.

      • Kevin S. says:

        Thanks, VJ, glad to represent the boomer generation even though thumb reflexes may be slowing down. I was almost sorry to have rung in on the “Charlie’s Angels” clue in one of the episodes, since I don’t know whether or not to be ashamed I actually knew of the show…….

  2. KJ says:

    I wonder if “The Barber of Seville” would have been acceptable. Not as the title of the Opera but the character.

    • VJ says:

      @KJ, I doubt they would have accepted it. Everyone knows who that is, yes, but they wanted the character’s name, not occupation. Actually, they told you his occupation in the opera part of the play — valet. If they went with the other opera and said he was a barber, it would have been a cinch, right?

      • Kevin S. says:

        VJ, have to agree with your assessment. In the 1786 opera specified, he wasn’t a barber, so that answer wouldn’t have matched the clue.

  3. jared says:

    VJ, on your google books link, it says the critic’s name last name was Charles, not Chasles

    • VJ says:

      It does, jared. I guess when they scanned that book, it somehow got “corrected” to Charles but his name really was Chasles. (That’s why I didn’t quote the passage)

  4. Louis J says:

    This answer reminded me of the bugs bunny cartoon based on that opera the barber of Seville where bugs bunny gives a hair cut to Elmer fudd. Do you remember the title of that cartoon VJ where bugs bunny was the barber?

    • VJ says:

      Yes, Lou, and I thought of the cartoon myself. So funny– The Rabbit of Seville. Even funnier, either it was still on my mind, or because I am all stuffed up from the pollen around here, when my daughter asked me where the cat was, I accidentally said “It wan away” and they were calling me Elmer Fudd. LOL!

      LINK: 10 more clues from the match