Final Jeopardy: The Declaration of Independence

The Final Jeopardy question (7/1/2014), in the category “The Declaration of Independence” was:

The first official use of this 4-word term is at the Declaration’s beginning, immediately after “The thirteen”.

2x champ Jill Rowley scored big yesterday, bringing her winnings up to $43,802. Today her opponents are: Howard Ray, from East Longmeadow, MA; and Shloka Ananthanarayanan, from New York, NY.

Round 1: Jill found the Jeopardy! round Daily Double in “Charleston Choosy” under the $2,000 clue, the very last clue in the round. She was in third place with $2,800, $5,800 less than Howard’s lead. She made it a true Daily Double and she was RIGHT.

Duckett Hall isn’t very fortress-like. It’s in the Moorish style of much of the campus of this college. show

Howard finished in the lead with $8,600. Jill was second with $5,600 and Shloka was last with $2,200.

Round 2: Howard found the first Daily Double in “Ancient Science” under the $1,200 clue. He was in the lead with $11,000, $2,000 ahead of Shloka in second place. He bet $3,000 and he was RIGHT.

Around 400 B.C., Democritus proposed that all matter is composed of these tiny units. show

Shloka found the last Daily Double in “‘P’laces” under the $1,600 clue. In second place with $10,600, she had $5,000 less than Howard’s lead. She bet $5,000 and she was RIGHT.

North America’s largest oil field lies in the area surrounding this Alaskan Bay. show

Shloka finished in the lead with $20,400. Howard was right behind her with $19,600 and Jill was in third place with $8,800.

Only ONE of the contestants got Final Jeopardy! right.


The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article on the first use of the term. The National Archives, it says, “cite the first known use of the ‘formal term United States of America’ as being the Declaration of Independence, which would recognize Jefferson as the originator. Written in June 1776, Jefferson’s ‘original Rough draught’ placed the new name at the head of the business — “A Declaration by the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in General Congress assembled.” . . . But in the final edit, the line was changed to read, ‘The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.’ The fact that ‘United States of America’ appears in both versions of the Declaration may have been enough evidence to credit Jefferson with coining the phrase, but there is another example published three months earlier.

Jill wrote down “To be s” She lost $2,000 and finished with $6,800.

Howard got it right. He added $10,600, finishing with $30,200.

Shloka came up with “the Bill of Rights.” That cost her $20,000 so she landed in third place with $400.

So Howard, a laser applications engineer, wins the day and it’s another big one! He mentioned in the chat segment that if he won, he would be taking his wife on a better honeymoon than their original weekend in Des Moines. White sand, lots of beach and umbrellas are now in their future, but hopefully, Howard can rack up some more winnings before then.

2 years ago:: ALL of the players got this FJ in “1950s Movies”

“The Man on Lincoln’s Nose” was a working title for this 1959 film show

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45 Responses

  1. Elliott Levitas says:

    The Final Jeopardy answer and question on July 1, 2014 are flawed, The words “united States of America” were not used as a “term” to identify a single entity by that name. Rather those words are used to describe the group of entities that “unanimously” acting together adopted the Declaration. A single entity does not act unanimously. Furthermore, the “u” in “united” is lower case while the “S” in “States” is a capital letter. “united” is not part of a title.

    Thus, while the words “united States of America”are used, they are not here used as a term or title. That came later no doubt influenced by this appealing formulation in the Declaration.

    • VJ says:

      You’re right, Elliott — Congress did not formally adopt the term United States of America until Sept 9, 1776 (the Lee Resolution). Perhaps the cluewriters should have phrased it to say an earlier use of this 4-letter term occurred in the Declaration, before the term itself became official, or something like that. The cluewriters are leaving a lot to be desired lately.

  2. david kopstein says:

    @jeopardy. if i am not mistaken, you got today’s (7/2/14) final jeopardy question wrong. i believe you asked about the easternmost of us territories. the answer, if i’m not mistaken, is guam.

    two contestants got it right, but were judged wrong.

    or did i miss something?

  3. eric s says:

    Anyone who is interested in the GAME THEORY of the amounts and differentials of these players would be well served to watch the YouTube video by the FINAL WAGER under the heading of SHORE’S CONJECTURE.

  4. VJ says:

    From a cool article about the new champ:

    The question was about the Declaration of Independence, and (Howard) Ray said he has two distant maternal grandfathers who signed the document. He was the only contestant to get it right, sealing a $30,200 payday.

  5. Tom Clark says:

    I read an interesting analysis as to why this is the first year in syndicated Jeopardy’s 30 season history where women are winning more often than men.

    I was a little slow on the uptake, but the main reason is because most games are two women vs. one man — thus, women are making up 2/3 of the contestants.

    Everything being equal, then women should win 2/3 of the games. However, they’re winning slightly less than that. So that means men are still outperforming women. After all, when a man wins (like today), he beat two women, whereas when a woman wins, she only beat one man (and one woman, too, of course.)

    So just trumpeting “women are outperforming men!” doesn’t tell the whole story. This is a classic example of what Mark Twain meant by “there are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

    By the way, I say this not as a “sexist” — women have always been the most important people in my life — but as a “realist.” I go where the facts lead. This Jeopardy stuff is nothing compared to the cherished beliefs “reality” has forced me to relinquish when it comes to sociology, politics, economics and religion!

    • eric s says:

      Yes, but as every week ten new contestants are brought forward, if there is an evenly distributed split and a women wins every game, the average game will have a two to one ratio.
      I never have thought you to be a sexist, nor Jacob (the understandably proud father of two doctors) who wrote what I usually would have thought to be sexist (see comments FJs of last week). To infer from both of you, I believe that the percentage of intelligent female Jeopardy viewers has increased. To address this increase, it is plausible that the producers and/or contestant coordinator have tabled many A-list male players and increased the percentage of female A-list players. After all, AChu alienated many viewers and the Semi-finals of the BoD had only one woman.
      People treat the contestant pool of players as if they’re choosen randomly: I believe not.

      • Tom Clark says:

        It doesn’t matter if the NEW contestants are evenly split. The returning champion counts as a contestant just as much (obviously!) The important thing is that most games are two women vs. one man. Today it might be two men vs. one woman. We’ll see.

        • jacobska says:

          Tom, I have yet to figure out why you have been referred to as sexist. What I am extrapolating from your comments is merely your opinion, which means exercising your 1st Amendment rights. When someone gets shouted at on a website or in person for exercising his citizenship right I see a problem. We are heading down a slippery slope my friend when we can’t freely express an opinion.

        • eric s says:

          I think that boils down to the difference between number of women who have won (e.g. Julia Collins is one) and number of games won by a woman (e.g. Julia Collins won twenty).

        • eric s says:

          Jacob, he could still be a sexist and use his first amendment rights, but he isn’t a sexist. A sexist is someone who discriminates against someone because of their sex, not merely points to a difference in the two. Tom (Tom, please correct me if I misrepresent your view) is not saying that no woman could ever win because they’re not smart enough (he remembers the formidable Larissa Kelly and many others). He is simply pointing out that there is a significantly increased number of female winners this season, and that could only happen with a statistical anomaly, or production engineering by Jeopardy.

    • john blahuta says:

      plus, j can pick and chose. it is not an equal level. they COULD pick smarter women and dumber men or vice versa. like twain: statistics….

    • eric s says:

      In this context, it may prove illuminating to revisit the rulings of Jennifer and Sunil: Jennifer’s answer of “trees” certainly didn’t seem better than “equatorial zone”. I have to wonder how these judgements fit.

    • eric s says:

      Tom, I hope you take this as the compliment that it is intended to be, but I picture you looking like Mark Twain.

      • Tom Clark says:

        Well, I’m from Missouri.

        And I usually agree with Twain’s view of the world and the people in it.

        But the resemblances end there, for better or worse.

  6. Tom Clark says:

    I’m repeating what was already said, but after all, I am “Mr. Rubitin,” aren’t I?

    Yes, “the bill of rights” is an awful answer. Up till then, Shloka Ananthanaranayamathanarayananawhammalammaranalanayamarayanan was doing pretty well. She really impressed me with her knowledge of geography.

    Besides the fact (as was pointed out) that “the thirteen the bill of rights” doesn’t make sense, she displayed that she doesn’t know that the Bill of Rights are in the Constitution, and that there are ten of them, not thirteen.

    I’d say even Jill’s answer was better!

    • eric s says:

      Actually, Tom, there were originally twelve articles to the Bill of Rights. I guess Rhode Island was as slow in providing their’s as they were in ratification (ha, ha).

    • john blahuta says:

      the name is armenian. like kardashian (gulp)….the curse of the century (the kardashians, not shloka. names ending in -an or -ian are mostly armenian. you are probably too young (and he was not THAT popular in the states) to remember charles aznavour, a french singer. his real name was shahnour aznavourian. actually still is, he is 90 now.

      • VJ says:

        there are duets Frank Sinatra did with Aznavour on youtube. Here is Young at Heart. I swear that is Aznavour in the audience at the beginning of this Charles Trenet video. Trenet was one of his own idols.

        • john blahuta says:

          before you all lynch me: shloka is indian. but the fact about most names ending in -an or -ian being armenian is correct. now i try to get my foot out of my mouth…

      • Tom Clark says:

        I’M too young?! I’m one of the oldest geezers here. As I’ve said, I watched the very first episode of Jeopardy on March 30, 1964, when I was home sick from school (8th grade, to be exact.)

        • eric s says:

          You, sir, are a wonder. Why would you possibly remember that exact date? I also can’t help but wonder if you ever skipped school to watch Jeopardy.

        • john blahuta says:

          that makes you about 2-3 years my junior…..

        • Tom Clark says:

          Actually, I looked up the exact date on the Wikipedia article on Jeopardy.

          I can’t say I ever skipped school just to watch Jeopardy, but if I was skipping school for other reasons, I probably watched Jeopardy.

          Actually, I’ve had health problems all my life. I was home sick from school four months earlier, on the day Kennedy was assassinated.

          I’d conservatively estimate that 90% of what I know has come from self-teaching.

        • eric s says:

          “but if I was skipping school for other reasons, I probably watched Jeopardy” is an instant classic.
          I’m sorry to hear of your health problems, though.

  7. aaaa says:

    Alex said “how appropriate for this day” when the Dec of Ind was mentioned as the category. Today is not 7/4, it’s 7/1. Alex forgot today was Canada Day(the day the show aired)

  8. john blahuta says:

    “the thirteen the bill of rights”?? that was what shloka came up with. that’s not even a sentence.obviously she did not put the clue and her response together, otherwise she would have known that CAN’T be the right guess.nerves or just brain freeze?i don’t know what jill was going for. i often wish i would know what goes on in a contestant’s brain during the 30 seconds, i really would!some are as cool as a cucumber, while others seem to be hypnotized as if they were looking at a cobra, ready to strike.
    but bravo to yet a new champ with a nice pay day!but he could have bet it all, 10.600 or 19.600 would not have made any difference.shloka had to be wrong in order for him to win. jill also had to be wrong
    since one could assume she would bet SOMETHING, so why not go all the way?
    well, but 30.200 is nothing to sneeze at either. i would have liked him – since he won – to take them for the whole 39.200 though! but there is always tomorrow…?!

    • VJ says:

      Trebek seemed to think Jill was going for to be or not to be. I don’t know what she was going for, but the s made me think of the phrase “to be supplied”.

      I was hoping that at least one would get it, and picked Shloka as most likely. But I’m glad Howard got it, not only because he played truly well, but so he and his wife get that great honeymoon. :-)

    • Jesse Yu says:

      Yeah, that looked to be a massive brain fart on Shloka’s part. Oh well, Howard walks away with the huge payday. Now he can take his wife on that honeymoon in 4 months when he gets his check.

      Jill was nice, but the more I watched her episodes, the more I noticed her sheer nervousness. Still, she racked up a good deal of cash that she’ll get within 120 days…

    • eric s says:

      John, look again. I think you’ll agree that Howard could/should have locked Jill out. See below for more detail (my original post).

      • john blahuta says:

        yeah, i agreed already. 2 K max for a tie or 1.999 to lock her out. but since he bet more, he might as well have taken the full plunge.where do the 800 come into play? he could go up to 2 K to guard against jill. 800 for a tie with shloka, if she had stayed put. no argument here! just that he disregarded the rule and bet 10.600, so why not all.he had to figure shloka would guard against him (almost assume the worst) and she had to be wrong for him to win. if he had been wrong and one of the other 2 right, he would have lost,10.600 or 19.600. if you go for it, then GO for it/ maybe he was not aware of the math situation? could be. he would not be the first one, right? i’ll ask jesse a couple of questions, let’s see what he says.

  9. Nomi says:

    Well, at least I was in the vicinity, unlike two of the contestants, and one of them a 2-time winner. :)

    • jacobska says:

      @Nomi, Happy Canada Day. As we discussed over on CotD there was a category on Canada. I’m not sure you will be happy. The title was “Canyucks” which was supposed to be play on funny Canadians per Alex Trebek.

      I was on target predicting one contestant would get
      fj correct though. You were much closer this morning than 2 of the contestants. We had very good discussion on CotD after you had to leave. You might want to read them if you haven’t already.

      • Nomi says:

        Thanks Jacob. So there was a Canada category. I wonder what the clues were like. Will have to wait to see them on J-Archive.

  10. eric s says:

    Howard with a big payday, but a horrible bet. He opened up the chance for Jill. Jill’s max was 17.6, so Howard’s range was 800 to 2,000 (including ties) to minimize his risk.

    • eric s says:

      Yes, John, Jill’s bet was weird again.

      • john blahuta says:

        glad i’m not the only one thinking so.

        • john blahuta says:

          plus to think, she became champ on fri despite a 1 K miscalculation….on fri she just lucked out.

        • Jesse Yu says:

          She seemed really nervous on these past couple of games, so it might’ve just been nerves? I dunno. Still, she won a bunch of money, which is good for her.

    • john blahuta says:

      yeah, either 2 K max or all of it! well, he won AND had a nice haul (though it could have been more). but a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.i bet he is pretty happy the way things turned out. i know i would be.