Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oz in Jeopardy! Tournament Edition

They did it again! Two Oz clues in two consecutive games. But this time around, they really mattered. Oh, not the clues themselves, but the games they are in. You see, this is February. Which means sweeps on television, where shows trot out the big guns so that more people will watch. Which means Jeopardy! has back-to-back tournaments, and both of these clues were in tournament games — two different tournaments, even.

First up, on February 12, was the second game of the two-day finals of this year's Teen Tournament. Our players were, from left to right, Nilai, a freshman from Georgia; Barrett, a senior from Kentucky; and Leonard, a senior from Arkansas. It was getting towards the end of the Double Jeopardy! round when this clue turned up for $1200 in the category Film Fest:

Barrett rang in first and correctly responded, "What is The Wizard of Oz?" It didn't help him much, however. Although he was a close second after the first match, he was way behind Nilai at that point — and then they both ran into a buzzsaw named Leonard. He was a distant third after the first match, but he then went on a tear, and made a gutsy move on a Daily Double that paid off, and he managed to salt away not only the game but also the title. It was one of the best finishes to a tournament I've seen in some time!

The next day was the first match of this year's Tournament of Champions, where the best players from the previous year return and duke it out for a lot of money and, more importantly, bragging rights. And when I saw that a category in the Jeopardy! round was Gingham Style, I just knew Oz would come up. Sure enough, in only the second clue of the game, for $400:

Jason, at the middle lectern, rang in first and said, "Who is Judy Garland?" which is, of course, correct. (They don't get many wrong answers in this tournament!) He did not go on to win, but came a close second, and may very well have enough to qualify for the semifinals as a wild card. We'll find out tonight!

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