My Experience

by Steven H Silver


Defending My Own

I was hurried off stage to change clothes.  When I came out, I learned that I would be facing Mary Friedman and Allen Tatman.  The game played out similarly to the first in many ways, although I had a slight advantage since I was the returning champion.

During the interviews, Alex was supposed to ask me about a mock historical paper I presented several years ago about the Bubonic Plaque.  The idea for the paper came from the frequent typographical errors on the word plague.  Unfortunately, Alex referred to it as the Bubonic Plague, driving home our point, but requiring me to explain it.

During this (and the other two games), there were points when the judges stopped the game to double check on answers.  When this was done, the contestants were made to turn their backs to the game board and talk to each other and the handlers.  In at least one instance, a call which had initially gone against me was reversed, although at a later point, I lost points because the judges didn’t like my pronunciation of Chaillot.

Going into Final Jeopardy , I was again in second place.  The second place prize was a trip to Hawaii, where Elaine and I had gone on our honeymoon.  Since this show would air on our anniversary, I figured I had just received a sign that I would finish in second place.

This time, the category was “Airport Codes.”  I felt reasonably confident, but wagered with the same philosophy as in the first game.  The answer was:  This airport gets its three letter designation from its former name, Orchard Place. 

The answer was tailored to me, but I almost got the answer wrong.  I began writing the answer down and thought about the advice Grant gave us going in to Final Jeopardy :  “Even if this is the Final Jeopardy  question you’ve waited your whole life for, think about it carefully.”  I re-read the question and realized I was giving an answer different from the one they were looking for.  I had started to write down What is ORD and realized that they were looking for the name, O’Hare, rather than the designation.

I was the only one who answered the question correctly.  As Alex walked over to see what our answers were, he commented that one of us had probably flown out of this airport to come to California (actually, I flew out of Midway).

Allen, who was in first place going into Final Jeopardy, wanted to know who I had bribed to get the questions we got.  I ended this game with an addition $7,601.