Final Jeopardy: Famous Homes

The Final Jeopardy question (7/18/2014), in the category “Famous Homes” was:

Purchased in 1957 & called “the second most famous home in America” it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

New champ Katie Wroblewski won $9,201 yesterday. Today, in the last regular game of Season 30, she is up against these two players: Winston Nguyen, from New York, NY; and Jeff Filippini, from Pasadena, CA.

Round 1: Winston found the Jeopardy! round Daily Double in “Medical Talk” under the $800 clue before the first break. He was in second place with $400, $600 less than Jeff’s lead. He bet the $1,000 allowance and he was RIGHT.

Epistaxis is this condition, & I think I’m getting one from sitting in the highest seats in the arena. show

Jeff finished in the lead with $4,400. Winston was second with $4,400 and Katie was last with $800.

Round 2: Jeff found the first Daily Double in “Explorers” under the $1,200 clue. He was in the lead with $6,000, $2,800 more than Winston in second place. He bet $2,500 and came up with Columbus. That was WRONG.

Fewer than a third of his crew members survived the 1497-99 roundtrip voyage from Lisbon to Calicut, India. show

Winston found the last Daily Double in “Serious TV” under the $2,000 clue. He was now in the lead with $4,800, $1,300 more than Jeff in second place. He bet $1,000 and came up with the RIGHT reply at the last second.

This man began seeing the news from every angle on his CNN evening show in 2003. show

Winston finished in the lead with $13,400. Jeff was next with $10,300 and Katie was in third place with $4,800.

Only ONE of the contestants got Final Jeopardy! right.


“Interior Secretary Gale Norton joined Priscilla Presley [on 3-27-2006] in announcing the designation of Graceland, home of the king of rock ‘n’ roll Elvis Presley, as a National Historic Landmark. Norton made the announcement during a special ceremony on the grounds of Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.” (Dept. of the Interior)

If you read that press release, you might notice there’s no “second most famous” reference — that came from Elvis Presley Enterprises chief executive officer, Jack Soden: “Graceland is so famous it is arguable that on a worldwide basis it is the second most famous home in America,” adding “You go to the far corners of the Earth, and they don’t really know what Mt. Vernon or Monticello or Hearst Castle are, but they know what Graceland is. It is kind of in a class of its own.” Many tour arrangers refer it to as such because the annual number of people who visit Graceland is second only to White House visitors.

Katie got it right. Her $4,700 bet brought her up to $9,500.

Jeff came up with the Waterfall House. (Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater: historic landmark designation 1966). He lost $2,101 and finished with $8,199.

Winston wrote down South Fork, the Ewing ranch on the TV show “Dallas” (it probably was the second most famous home in America in the 80s). He lost his $3,333 bet but he still had $10,067, enough to win the game and be the one who is coming back when Season 31 begins in September.

FJ 7-18-14

Winston is a health aide. During the chat he talked about his collection of autographed ballet pointe shoes. He pleaded the fifth when Alex Trebek wanted to know the name of the most famous ballerina in his collection.

2 years ago:: Only ONE of the players got this FJ in “Recent Movies”

One of its first lines is “I won’t talk! I won’t say a word!!!” show

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63 Responses

  1. Dalton Higbee says:

    Winston Nguyen will be back on Monday, September 15th to go for a second win. That’s what the Jeopardy! website would have said

  2. jacobska says:

    @Eric, I think I know where you got confused about Jeff being on CalTech faculty. On his online vita he has CalTech email and website address. However, he was a postdoctoral research scholar. There are approximately 90,000 postdoc scholars. When I did my postdoc it was under the mentorship of a faculty member as is required of all research scholars engaged in postdoc work.

    I am sure that someday he may become a faculty member somewhere if that is his desire. But, he has not reached that level yet. He may not even want to enter academia. He is the only one who knows where his ultimate career will take him.

    I hope this explanation clarifies any confusion you had.

    • jacobska says:

      P. S. This is why he was so busy with professional publications and presenting at professionsl conferences. His research must continue and must be current in his field.

      This commentary does not invite further discussion from anyone on this matter. I am finished with this topic.

    • eric s says:

      Thank you for taking the time! Or, were you, like me, questioning my sanity? I know I googled his name and Caltech and something came up. There is a Filippone on the Physics staff, I may have seen that. Idk, but I knew that I went in expecting to find something: not employing the Scientific Method.
      Also, 90,000? So, does that also include every PhD from elsewhere who has any connection to papers being written or research, and more? That number just seems very high.
      Again, thank you.

      • jacobska says:

        I was just curious where you got the info. Came across his vita and wanted to assure you that you had not lost it. Went to CalTech website directory and he is not listed as faculty but as a postdoc researcher scholar being mentored by a faculty member. It is listed on his vita under “research.” No teaching at CalTech. He is considered nonfaculty as a postdoc.

        Yes there were 90,000 postdocs nationwide for
        2013/2014 academic year. That figure is not high when 1.6 million graduated college, 778,000 masters, 177,000 docorates per NCES. Way back in the pony express days when I was a postdoc there were about 40,000 nationwide. Don’t forget people come to American universities for docs and postdocs too in various disciplines.

        But just wanted to assure my buddy that he had not lost it. You are sane.:)

        Where is the Spoiler Talk today?

  3. william k says:

    A couple o’ cents worth…

    I’ll maintain that just as there are unacknowledged blind spots in our field of vision (where the optic nerve enters the retina) we are all pretty much swiss cheese in our grasp and comprehension of “reality” –i.e. we are all full of holes.

    So, for a prime example, those folks who watch Fox “News” religiously and love guys like Bill O’Reilly, or Rush Limbaugh, or bee-atches like Ann Coulter I see as simply more blind than the average person. The line recurs in these instances, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    Like I’ve said here before, I often feel like the kid in “Sixth Sense” who sees dead people, only I see absurdity in every direction. I’m a massive proponent of Carl Sagan’s scientific world view and his famous dictum that we must very carefully balance scientific reason with openness to the unexpected and to the ever present possibility of the utterly unforeseen.

    What we know ultimately adds up to virtually nothing, and what we don’t know is virtually infinite. It’s what I’ve alluded to on several occasions in various ways on these threads –e.g. just the other day, the reference to “the Smartest Guys in the Room”. Even the scientific geniuses amongst us aren’t necessarily to be seen as worthy of our admiration. The lesson of “modernity”, if there is any one lesson, ought to be the fact that for all of our expanding technologies we seem only to be expanding the likelihood that we will self-exterminate, quite possibly in the very near future.

    This is the ultimate conundrum of our time. How will we “progress” forward in a way that ensures not just “our” survival, but future lives that can be lived rich in meaning?

    We can always hope, I suppose.


    Peace, ~k will

    • william k says:

      Alright, goin’ to a rock and roll show. Back on the flip side, fellow Fikkles.


    • eric s says:

      Thanks for taking the time.
      On another note, philosophically it’s like you’re saying that dark matter causes blind spots.

      • eric s says:

        I know there’s more, but I’ll have to come back to it. Too busy to go that deep now.

      • k will says:

        “…it’s like you’re saying that dark matter causes blind spots.”

        Naw, just that we perceive things in idiosyncratic ways based both on our individuality and our basic human form –the brain is a funny thing, basically.

        I mean, when you get down to the very basics everything any one of us knows about ourselves, the world, other people, our memories, etc., etc., exists solely in the several hundred billion neurons (and the trillions of synaptic connections) that make up the human brain. And as beautiful and complex as a brain is, it must and could only be a very limited apparatus for “understanding” “reality”.

        The simplest upshot here is that we should all exist in a state of stark humility, yet the usual state for most of us most of the time is to be overconfident and self-absorbed, if not arrogant at least to some degree. We’z fikkle creatures.


        • eric s says:

          “Philosophically, it’s like you’re saying…”
          I guess that I meant it more like people are so dependent upon what they can observe through the traditional five senses, that they discount that which eludes those senses, but I think that we’re on a more parallel track, than perpendicular or skewed.

      • k will says:


        By the way, I never expounded on my own favorite places back when I asked you about yours.

        I love Boston, Toronto, Chicago, and San Francisco and the Bay Area as a few favorite urban destinations. New York and Seattle are major blind spots on my US itinerary map. LA is okay, and definitely worth the visit(s) and San Diego is really beautiful and the Zoo is, of course, top drawer. Mexico has some very cool spots, but I’d like to get there (and Central America) a few more times to expand my experience.

        In Europe, I loved Switzerland (across the board), but was so blown away with the small town, picturesque beauty of Lugano (south of the Alps). Prague is a beautiful city that was really cheap when I was there. Amsterdam and Berlin were great. So much more that I would love to cover in a return trip.

        Bucket list destinations would have to include a major tour of China, and a few other fairly exotic destinations.

        I’ve got my own stories that, like yours, are better shared elsewhere than here.

    • eric s says:

      Also, I think that you know me well enough to know that if I agreed with you regarding intentions, I would never have posted as I did. We are, of course, entitled to disagree here and there. (I’ll still love you even if you’re wrong. HA!)
      Btw, man was I touched by what Stuart Scott said about his not being able to fight cancer in one way, but how he has already beat it in another way.

  4. eric s says:

    Winston: basically, there are two choices of ranges:1) bet to cover or tie Jeff’s double up (20,600), in which case, missing leaves him with, at most, 6200, and thus, susceptible to being caught by both players [this bet would fulfill rule #1 of The Final Wager], or 2)bet so little that Katie is emininated, in this case, up to 3,600. I believe Winston chose the latter, and fashioned out a bet of 3,333. Clearly, however, a bet of less than 3100 both eliminates Katie and forces Jeff to win with a correct response. Perhaps Winston figured (correctly) that Jeff was going to wager at least 233, so 3,333 had the same effect as 3,100.
    Jeff: first, I’d like to point out that there is no difference
    between betting 3101 and 2101 if Winston bets 1,000 or more (unless Katie bets to barely cover Winston’s lowest downside, then betting 2101 is preferrable). It seems more than likely that Winston was going to bet at least 1,000. So, recalling that the players don’t know of the vogue of offering the tie, Jeff’s options are either all-in (in which case, he could still lose to Winston), or trying to win with Winston betting smaller and missing. This range is tricky: first, Winston’s top losing range needs to be taken into account. Again, it’s fair to say a wager of 1,000 would be minimal by Winston, so a 2101 addition would suffice. Now, looking at Winston’s lowest (rational) amount, we see that to cover J’s doubleup, W would have to bet at least 7200, where a miss would leave 6200. It’s imperative that J stay above that mark if he wants to win on the triple-stumper, leaving him with the maximum on his range as 4100. So, again assuming W was going to bet at least 1000, Jeff chose the most conservative of his range of 2101-4100.
    As a side, Jeff could have eliminated Katie by betting less than 500, but that leaves the door open for Winston to assure a win with a small bet.
    This explanation is meant to show a plausibility of the cat and mouse or “headgames” thinking that may have lead to these wagers.

    • eric s says:

      JACOB must be out playing tennis, I can’t believe that I beat him to the report of The Final Wager! Interestingly enough, the highly regarded (is he revered?, maybe by AChu) Keith Williams called the 2101 bet by Jeff “savvy”, even though it didn’t cover the highly unlikely zero bet by Winston. Maybe great minds think alike.

      • jacobska says:

        @Eric, you did beat me to Keith’s Final Wager video. Had a busy weekend. Just watched it. You were on target with the wager scenario and Keith’s explanation backed you up. Congrats, buddy.

        • eric s says:

          Thanks for that. I’m glad that you know that I did the analysis before I watched TFW.

  5. Cindy Martinez says:

    Correction DD should have been FJ. Easy answer, but only one had Graceland. The Asian man was at a disadvantage due to culture and the other guy had no excuse.

    • VJ says:

      well, I guess it all depends. I have personally never felt the urge to go to Graceland. I remember when Elvis died, this guy was telling me he wanted to go down to Graceland but he couldn’t because he had to go to unemployment. I was thinking how strange — Elvis has left the building, dude.

      My aunt saw Elvis in person, not performing, in Vegas when she went out to get a divorce in the early 60s. She said he was sitting two tables away in a nightclub.

    • eric s says:

      Just so I have this straight: something about his culture lead to the answer “…South Fork”?

    • jacobska says:

      @Cindy, what are you talking about? Winston is from New York City and is an American for your information.

  6. Cindy Martinez says:

    Easy DD, the WH everyone knows. Just need to do the 2nd.

  7. jacobska says:

    Slow game. Too many triple stumpers. Can’t believe Jeff let Winston beat him to the Astrophysicist clue…Neil deGrasse Tyson. Wow!

  8. john blahuta says:

    if the numbers going into fj are correct, jeff miscalculated by 1K. for that alone he deserved to lose. winston obviously only guarded against jeff and hoped jeff would stay put or get it wrong.. for that winston deserved to lose as well. he lucked out by winning despite a wrong answer. if jeff had been right and would have been able to do a simple addition, the champ would be jeff. betting that the other(s) will get it wrong, is not exactly the best strategy. i wish katie would have won. she was the only one to get it right. 350 more and betting it all would have done it. but she kept 100 “in reserve” for what, for crying out loud… to “win” second place? but at least she was right.
    well, regular j went out with a whimper. i hope the teens will be a little refreshing and then the summer break comes not a second too soon.

    • eric s says:

      Actually, John, I believe that Jeff was trying to bet to win on the double (other) stumper. If Win-Win (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) bets to conventionally cover Jeff, then he leaves a downside of 7200 open (a bet of 3100 by Jeff ties that amount). Also, rarely, probably never in a regular game, does the non-runaway leader bet so little as 1000, thus Jeff’s bet of 2101 has the same effective upside as 3101.
      It is imperative in a sound analysis to consider the downsides. Like I said before, geniuses think on a whole different level.

      • john blahuta says:

        but when being on j you have to adjust and think like a j contestant and hopefully you can gauge how the others think. otherwise you lose to be able to adjust to a given situation is part of being a genius or at least smart enough to possibly outfox the others, unless you are in the lead, know the answer and wager correctly or are in a runaway position.

    • jacobska says:

      It definitely went out with a whimper. That was a horrible game in more ways than one. I bet Harvard was glad its name was never mentioned by Jeff. Phew.

      • eric s says:

        Jacob, I love you man, but Harvard would have been rightfully proud to have been mentioned with this man. Again, please understand, that knowing facts is the LOWEST form of thinking. Not knowing this trivia is simply not an intelligence test. Any school would be proud to be mentioned in the same conversation as someone on the staff of Caltech.

        • jacobska says:

          @Eric, there was no mention of CalTech on the show today. He was introduced as being from Pasadena, CA although he originates from NY per his posted webpage bio where he wrote he and his wife moved west from NY to California for grad school. Check it out. Nice webpage.

        • eric s says:

          That’s crazy. I could have sworn that I read that somewhere. I knew Harvard and Berkeley.
          Ok, perhaps I was wrong about Caltech. Just substitute astrophysicist from Berkley (possibly the finest public school in this country) for astrophysicist for Caltech and I remain resolute. Maybe, I just figured, where else in Pasadena is an astrophysicist going to work?
          Thank you, Jacob.

        • eric s says:

          I’m out. Have a great weekend, Jacob.

  9. eric s says:

    Yes, VJ, I bet Jerome had wished he played in that game.

    • eric s says:

      By the way, thank you JEROME, for bringing your experience to us. Sure hope that you would have got this final!

      • william k says:

        This was an easy one to get lost on, as vj said. Since the year was ’57 I was stuck thinkin’ about JFK and Jackie O, and just couldn’t make it to Elvis –I brushed quickly past any Frank Lloyd Wright stuff immediately as not likely.

        I wouldn’t have guessed that Graceland went back to ’57.

      • VJ says:

        perhaps if they had written as the second most visited home, rather than the second most famous — it would have been different.

        When Graceland comes up in the news, like Paul McCartney’s visit last year (link), I’ve never seen the second most famous home in America mentioned.

      • Jerome says:

        Sorry for getting to this one so late, and, no, I blanked on the final when watching in-studio. Yeah, I’m from Tennessee, but Memphis is its own separate state.
        I had Monticello as a best guess, figured it was wrong, and couldn’t figure out if maybe it was bought by the Dept of the Interior in 1957. Graceland wasn’t even on my radar.

        • Eric S says:

          Yeah. My guess was Hearst Castle, bought in 1957 by the State of California (didn’t know past that). Just an oddly-worded question.
          Also, I’ve been to both and greatly prefer Nashville to Memphis.
          Glad you won a game and could come back to see us. Please come back again.

  10. jacobska says:

    Wow. What a way to finish the week. Predicted one correct on fj and that’s what happened. Bill, I’m waiting on my drink buddy.

    • william k says:

      Hey, I was at 1 correct as well. We can trade frosty pints on that Final. Make mine a Guinness Stout.


      • jacobska says:

        Meet you at the corner pub buddy. :)

      • eric s says:

        You both were right. I was wrong, the round is on me. And a latte for VJ, Jamba Juice for Nomi.

        • Nomi says:

          Hi Eric, thanks for remembering my Jamba :). Once the month of fasting is over I’m going to try it. I think they have outlets here too.

        • eric s says:

          NOMI: Jamba Juice by you and you never knew it? Hmmm.
          I hope you know that I shall miss you, but, for me, this really needs to be goodbye. I take solace in the idea that you have William to help you with your game theory needs (he and I agree on the basics, if not, perhaps, the finer points) and when you get thrown into the contestant pool, please learn from the Final Wager’s tutorial.
          As most friendships end, but never really ever do, I’m glad that you have Jamba Juice near you, now you know where to find me as I find you in the clue of the day.
          Please understand that I can not look back here again, but know that I think of you and your worship as a peaceful beat of God’s Heart.

    • VJ says:

      congrats, Jacob. What was your favorite reply to: “V”ocabulary: This room in a church is used to store sacred objects & clerical robes.

      vestment, vestibule, vestuary

      • jacobska says:

        By far, Jeff gets the prize for saying “vestment.” What the h___?

        • VJ says:

          you’re right. lol, he gets the prize, but my favorite was still the vestibule. The idea of storing sacred objects and priests going to the vestibule for the right color stole cracked me up.

  11. eric s says:

    So we end the season with a champion who bet very conservatively and didn’t offer the tie. Well, he lasted longer than most would have. Weird.
    Jeff, idk, still a genius, but wiffed on DD even I knew. Case in point for Jacob’s theory.
    Bizarre game.

    • jacobska says:

      Of course Jeff is a genius. Grew up in Stormville, NY. Check out his webpage. Two NYers tonight. Although like me Jeff got the heck out of there.

    • jacobska says:

      I repeat my thinking. Credentialed people, especially researchers, do not perform well on shows like Jeopardy. Which is why most of them have sense enough to stay off of such shows. Trivia is multi-dimensional.

      As a researcher or a specialist your work is one-dimensional. All of your focus is in your field of study or area of expertise. That intellect, due to pressure to publish or perish, does not translate to all other areas of life.

      During the chat session Jeff told Alex Trebek that he was getting ready to go to Antarctica on a research
      trip. He has also published numerous professional publications. He also presented at several professional conferences. When did he have time to study for Jeopardy? This type of “I can do it all” attitude is beyond my realm of rational thinking.

      Congrats Winston. See you in 6 weeks.

      • john blahuta says:

        so you think or are saying it’s a case of the absent minded profesor who understands quantum mechanics, but can’t tie his shoe laces..? then how does he get on J?. usually you have to do an online or personal test with clues from 50 different categories, do well in a “try out” game. you don’t get there if your knowledge is restricted to 1 or 2 areas, compartmentalized, so to speak.

        • jacobska says:

          Yes you can. If you read his vita which he posted online he has been busy publishing professional papers and presenting at professional conferences. The mind cannot switch off and on like that.

          Probably when he took the Jeopardy test he was not as busy as he was during the time of the taping of the show. Jeff looked tired to me throughout the show. Let me know your opinion after you watch the show.

        • eric s says:

          It must be tough also to sit there and wait for four to five hours to play (without being able to work). It would drive someone with that much to do crazy to wait that long.

        • john blahuta says:

          @eric s & jacobska
          you might be absolutely right. but then every contestant is exposed to the same pressure. some handle it better than others, sometimes the timing just sucks and you would have handled the situation completely differently just a few minutes earlier or later.

    • jacobska says:

      @John, Jeff’s mind was probably on his upcoming Antarctica trip. Trying to juggle too many things at one time tends to clog one’s mind. Can’t think clearly. He looked exhausted to me throughout the game.

    • eric s says:

      Very lastly, at least for now, Winston deserved to win the game. He shut Katie down at FJ.

  12. william k says:


    Wow. Just wow.


    • john blahuta says:

      he relied on jeff getting it wrong. not to worry, jeff could not even figure out the difference between 13.400 and 10.300…..

  13. VJ says:

    Not exactly the exciting game we were hoping for but another win for Jacob – spot on prediction!

    Also Winston broke the “second place winner” streak.