Final Jeopardy: 4-Letter Words

The Final Jeopardy question (3/5/2014), in the category “4-Letter Words” was:

New research shows that this word that has become ubiquitous dates back to young men also called “macaronis”.

Third day of the 1990 edition of Battle of the Decades. Today’s player are: Shane Whitlock, the 1996 College Championship winner; Bob Harris, a 5x winner in Season 14; and Robin Carroll, the 2000 TOC winner.

Bob found the Jeopardy! round Daily Double in “Holidays” under the $400 clue. It was the second clue chosen and he was the only one with any money — $200. He bet the $1,000 allowance and thought it was Thanksgiving. That was WRONG.

In 2011, the 250th edition of a real oldie hit parade marched up New York’s 5th Avenue on this date. show

Robin finished in the lead with $2,000. Bob was second with $1,200 and Shane was last with $400.

Shane found the first Daily Double in “Nature” under the $1,600 clue. He was in the lead with $2,800, $1,600 ahead of Bob in second place. He made it a true Daily Double and thought it was an osprey. That was WRONG.

A type of warship or a soaring bird with a nearly 8-foot wingspan that might follow it. show

Robin found the last Daily Double in “British Authors” under the $1,600 clue. In the lead with $2,800, she had $1,600 more than Bob in second place. She bet $2,000 and she was RIGHT.

In an 1890 letter, he called himself “a Polish nobleman cased in British tar.” show

Shane finished in the lead with $10,000. Bob was next with $6,000 and Robin was in third place with $5,600.

Only ONE of the contestants got Final Jeopardy! right.


“So where does dude come from? Evidence points to “doodle,” as in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” He’s the fellow who, as the song has it, “stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.” ‘Macaroni’ became a term for a dandy in the 18th century after young British men returned from their adventures on the European continent sporting exaggerated high-fashion clothes and mannerisms (along with a taste for an exotic Italian dish called “macaroni”). The best a rough, uncultured colonist could do if he wanted to imitate them was stick a feather in his cap.” (Mental Floss)

Well, that is one theory anyway. Wikipedia lists two more: it may have derived from the Scottish word duddies, and says it was first used in print in 1876, mocking how a woman was dressed; then there was an 1885 men’s clothing ad that said it was a Swahili word.

Robin got it right. She doubled her money and finished with $11,200.

Bob thought it was “stud.” He bet and lost it all.

Shane couldn’t come up with anything. He lost his $2,001 so he ended up with $7,999.

Robin Carroll won the match, the third lady in a row to win a spot in the semi-finals.

2 years ago, 2 players got this FJ right: American Writers

A fellow author called him “A very unique cat — a French Canadian Hinayan Buddhist Beat Catholic savant.” show

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4 Responses

  1. john blahuta says:

    but as a pps:
    a college tournament winner (!) does not know that scotland and wales don’t border each other (not exactly a NEW fact…) and still wins. it would have been better to write down nothing. since she did not bet anything it would not have mattered either way and saved her face. what do they teach in schools nowadays in geography??? or history, for that matter? but maybe i’m just old fashioned there….

    • Tom Clark says:

      I agree with you. We’re only old fashioned if knowing basic things doesn’t matter any more.

      The FJs have been difficult this week, but “dude” came to me somehow. I wonder if The Great Chu would have got it. I’m thinking not.

  2. john blahuta says:

    p.s. i am still somewhat disappointed by the performance of the top decade players….but then a lot of things were not even around 30 or 20 years ago and so many things have changed. the closer you get, the better you will do imo. i think the 00 decade will do best in comparison since they are closer in touch with today than the champions 30 – 20 years ago. just a thought. i hope j is selecting categories that do NOT require “modern” knowledge (like justin bieber, if you can call that knowledge….) well, you know what i mean. just a.i. has come up with a complete new dictionary, just to mention one area.

  3. john blahuta says:

    in the last 3 days only 2 out of 9(!!), just over 22%, got fj right. who says wagering is not important. that and a sixth sense who might get it (or not) and how much your opponent(s) will bet?