The seven biggest “Jeopardy!” fails ever

They can't all be Arthur Chu. Some of the contestants have had memorable, epic flops on the quiz show VIDEO

Topics: Video, Jeopardy!, alex trebek,

The seven biggest "Jeopardy!" fails everAlex Trebek (Credit: AP/Seth Wenig)

Arthur Chu, the game-theory nerd who hacked “Jeopardy!,” has brought new life and new attention onto the game-show franchise with $5 Daily Double wagers and a jumpy, wild style of moving from category to category.

But he’s hardly the first contestant to capture the imagination of an audience trained to expect little more than answers and questions. Indeed, many “Jeopardy!” contestants have burned fast and bright in the past — naming themselves as the solution to questions, presenting raunchy alternate guesses, and wagering way too much.

Wolf Blitzer on Celebrity “Jeopardy!”

The CNN anchor captured attention for what may well have been the worst performance on “Jeopardy!” ever — at least by a person who’s in the public eye for his perceived smarts. Before ending up with negative $4,600, Blitzer referred to noted chef “Julia Childs” and suggested that an excerpt of a book was “annodated.” Alex Trebek kindly suggested that Blitzer’s big fail was due to Andy Richter being faster on the signaling button.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s overconfidence

Just look at the poor Lakers icon’s overconfidence as he thinks he’s the subject of a Celebrity “Jeopardy!” clue. It isn’t all about you, Kareem!

The three-way tie at $0

Not a single one of the semifinalists in the 2013 Teen Tournament correctly named Belfast as the world city divided between Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods — and neither did any conserve even a dollar, meaning that none were eligible to proceed to the finals. Poor kids!

“What is a threesome?”

One of the challengers had a not-technically-incorrect answer to what a triad of lovelorn sorts form, though it’s a bit of an imaginative leap.

“Samuel Hal Holbrook”



Heartbreaking: The returning champion, naming the actor famous for playing Mark Twain, didn’t fully cross out her initial answer of “Samuel Clemons.” Even though her intent seemed clear, the uncrossed-out area read “Samuel Hal Holbrook” — meaning that she was sent packing.

“Donkey punch”

One “Jeopardy!” contestant mistook a “rabbit punch” — an illegal boxing move — for a “donkey punch” — an NSFW Google search!

The case of the “groupie” 

Sometimes, it’s Alex who messes up — as in this case from the 2010 College Championship, in which the host called a female competitor who wanted to be a rock journalist a “groupie.” (Your humble blogger is on the far right of the shot.)

Daniel D'Addario is a staff reporter for Salon's entertainment section. Follow him on Twitter @DPD_

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