Final Jeopardy: American Authors

The Final Jeopardy question (7/26/2016) in the category “American Authors” was:

On his 1849 death, it was said he was “regarded rather with curiosity than admiration” & “few will be grieved”

5x champ Pranjal Vachaspati is on a roll. He’s up to $121,688 in winnings. Today he is going for a 6th win against these two ladies: Karen Lazar, from Oceanside, NY; and Monikka Mann, from Katy, TX.

Round 1 Categories: Cups – Hybrid Words – Books By Chapter Titles – They Served Our Country – Earthquakes & Volcanoes – 2016 People’s Choice TV Winners

Pranjal found the Jeopardy! round Daily Double in “Hybrid Words” under the $800 clue, 2 picks after the chat. He was in second place with $2,800, $2,000 less than Monikka’s lead. He made it a true Daily Double and he was RIGHT.

Ritalin can help with this condition, from the Greek for “above” & the Latin for “doing” show

Pranjal finished in the lead with $6,400. Monikka was second with $4,400 and Karen was last with $1,800.

Round 2 Categories: The Amazing Space-Man – God Save the English King! – Theology Branches – Potpourri – Actors & Actresses – What a “Ham”

Pranjal found the first Daily Double in “Amazing Space-Man” under the $1,200 clue on the 8th pick of the round. In the lead with $8,800, he had $3,400 more than Karen in second place. He bet $3,800 and he was RIGHT.

U.S. astronaut candidates must complete training in ISS Systems & this language likely to come in handy up there. show

Two clues later, Pranjal found the last Daily Double in “English Kings” under the $2,000 clue. He was in the lead with $14,200 now, $8,800 more than Karen in second place. He bet $6,600 and he was RIGHT.

Officially the King from 1820 to 1830, he had been de facto ruler since 1811 due to the insanity of his father. show

Pranjal finished in the lead with $22,400. Karen was next with $14,600 and Monikka was in third place with $7,600.

Only ONE of the contestants got Final Jeopardy! right.


The “few will be grieved” phrase in the clue is from the third sentence of the infamous “Ludwig obituary,” the pseudonym used by Rufus Griswold upon the death of Edgar Allan Poe. (Possibly the other phrase is in a different variation of the obituary than the one linked to). It was published in the New York Tribune on October 9, 1849, 2 days after Poe’s demise. Many feel that Griswold’s efforts to defame Poe’s reputation backfired big time and actually contributed to Poe’s post-mortem popularity. Prices for Poe’s letters and original manuscripts appreciated considerably in the decades following his death. Griswold became most well-known for his malicious character assassination of Poe.

More on the strange relationship between Griswold and Poe.

Monikka got it right. She bet $7,500 and that brought her up to $15,100.

Karen thought it was Mark Twain, who was 13 when Poe died. She lost her $12,600 bet and had $2,000 left.

Pranjal came up with Thoreau. He lost $7,000, finishing with $15,400. So he won the match by a $300 margin. He is now a 6x champ with winnings of $137,088.

Final Jeopardy: Pranjal Vachaspati, Karen Lazar and Monica Mann

There were 3 triple stumpers in Chapter Titles:

($200) “Of what happened to the ingenious gentleman in the inn which he took to be a castle”

($1000) The Battle of the Fangs

This next one was the last clue of the round. All the players gave an incorrect answer, although Trebek said they would check on Pranjal’s (“Harry Potter 7”). After the break, Trebek announced that a title was needed, so Pranjal didn’t get a reversal.

($600) The Battle of Hogwarts

2 years ago: TWO of the players got this FJ in “Day of the Week”

In Spanish & French, the word for Friday comes from Latin for “day of” this goddess. show

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25 Responses

  1. CB says:

    I’m new to this blog although I’ve been reading it intermittently for some time. I just have to say that this guy bugs me, the way he looks at the other contestants when they respond. He can more quickly determine if their answer is wrong and ring in before the other person. No?

    • Mathwiz100 says:

      Thanks for joining in on the conversation, CB.

      I have also noticed this head-turning of Pranjal’s… there is certainly madness in the way he plays, but there is also a method to that madness, and that method has earned Pranjal $137k, so…

    • VJ says:

      That why I think he does that. Arthur Chu got a lot of flack for looking at the other players when they buzzed in ahead of him. Some thought it was an intimidation tactic, but he said that was the reason — to get any possible rebounds. I think Pranjal is doing whatever he can to maximize his winnings

  2. Lou says:

    A very close finish for pranjal indeed since he got all 3 DDs. I wonder if he is getting closer to Andrew Pau and Hunter Appler’s total as they were six time champions. Also dio you think Pranjal’s total could surpass Greg Seroka?

    • VJ says:

      @Lou – Andrew’s 6-day total was $170,202, Hunter’s $145,603 so that ship has sailed. Greg Seroka’s 7-day total was $180,401. To beat that, Pranjal would have to have a better game tomorrow than Philip Tiu had on 3/15/16 when he won $49,900

      @everyone, the EAP Society has the Southern Literary Messenger obit that contains the “regarded rather with curiosity than with admiration” line and it’s followed by the recycled “grieved” sentence from the Ludwig obit.

      Their article index has more items printed after Poe’s death.

  3. jacob ska says:

    Could someone fact check me please? I came up with 7 wrong responses for Pranjal in this game. The ladies put pressure on him big time. They didn’t give him a chance to respond in the “Actors…” category at all. They responded to all of the clues in that category. I think Monikka & Karen had only 2 wrong responses each.

    This was a good fast-paced game. Pranjal had me laughing when he raised his hand on the Harry Potter #7 book to protest to no avail when it came to the judges. One has to admire his competitiveness.

    • jacob ska says:

      That is for the game with respect to Monikka & Karen total errors each.

    • VJ says:

      I came up with 8 wrong responses for him, Jacob: lovers cup, Connecticut Yankee, Pacific Ocean, Dancing with the Stars, Harry Potter 7, Punic War, devilology, apology

      Karen got the rebound on that CUP clue. Monikka got every other clue in that category.

    • Mathwiz100 says:

      There were some funny and exciting moments in this game, indeed. And Pranjal’s wrong answers should have caught up to him, but those daily doubles…

      • VJ says:

        It was very funny when Monikka kept going with ephedrine (after Alex said right to sinus decongestant) on that Wally Schirra Actifed commercial.

        • rhonda says:

          Yes, thank goodness she didn’t give out any wrong info on that one.

        • Monikka says:

          What’s really funny is I did something similar during my wedding because I kinda forgot what specific question the minister asked and I said “Yes, I do, I will, okay”.

        • VJ says:

          LOL, Monikka, thanks for stopping by and sharing that. That was one of my fav moments of the match, as well as your chat story, the drinking line and the smile on your face when you got Cosmopolitan :) Go, Katy! (from Houston)

          Congrats on the lone correct FJ. Pranjal was definitely a force but you did your best!

        • jacob ska says:

          Monikka, you were a great contestant.

        • Mathwiz100 says:

          Many people never even get the chance to be on Jeopardy, so that in itself is a major accomplishment… thanks for stopping by, Monikka.

      • rhonda says:

        Monikka!!! We were all rooting for you!! You are so smart and so very funny!!

  4. Mathwiz100 says:

    Even with a $7,800 lead, this was Pranjal’s closest match yet… and boy, was he lucky that the *Former Educator* failed to nail that FJ. In any case, He moves on, now one game away from being the #2 ranked player of the season. To quote myself from a week ago, “Pranjal is… indestructible.”

    About the Wrong Answers: Well, as VJ points out, Mark Twain was way too young to have died in 1849. Thoreau, while he is American and died only 13 years after Poe did, and while I guess he was a curious fellow… Thoreau was a poet, not an author.(Or at least, he’s better known for being a poet.) I think that VJ and I can both agree that while the clue may not have been the easiest, it should have done better than 1/3.

    As for the DDs… seriously, the fact that Pranjal found all three DDs and answered all three correctly… there’s not even a word for that. But once again, it came down to Pranjal finding the DDs. For the record, Pranjal has found 12 DDs in 6 days, and has been 10/12 on said DDs, coming out with a net total of $28,010 from them.

    @Eric (though anyone can answer): Is it me, or did Karen wager a bit too much?

    • VJ says:

      @Mathwiz, yeah, didn’t expect 1/3 on this but I did suspect that the author thing would throw somebody.

      I think Poe is better known as a poet than an author, I can’t name one poem that Thoreau is famous for, but I can name a bunch besides the Raven that are well known Poe poems. Thoreau is famous for Walden and On Civil Disobedience.

      Thanks for mentioning his date of death (I should have put it in the recap). Here is a link to some of Thoreau’s death notices.. None of them refer to him as a poet, but one does say he was eccentric. LOL.

      The ladies were great opponents today, not giving up when Pranjal went into action. Monikka’s “like to drink” line was very funny, and Trebek got a big kick out it when he overheard her say “don’t let it be the Daily Double,” just before Pranjal picked the first DD.

    • Mathwiz100 says:

      Edit: Actually, Karen’s wager was enough. If Karen had earned at least $200 more, Monikka would have returned (assuming that all three players follow logical FJ wagering).

  5. Myron M. says:

    Poor Monikka. That look on her face. Maybe one more right or one fewer wrong. Well played to Pranjal.

    • Mathwiz100 says:

      “One more right or one fewer wrong” is actually 100% correct, Myron.

    • rhonda says:

      I felt badly for Monikka, she played really well and was the only one to come up with the correct answer for FJ. She was funny, too. Both ladies gave Pranjal a run for his money, so to speak.

      • VJ says:

        I agree, Rhonda. Loved her chat story about her daughter’s innovation with the puppy.

        @everyone, Here’s the link to 8 extra clues from today’s match

  6. jacob ska says:

    Whoa! That was a close finish for Pranjal considering he found all 3 DDs & got them correct. If Monikka had just a little more money going into fj this would have been curtains for him. However, you prevailed Pranjal & congrats.