‘Jeopardy!’ National College Championship Goes Primetime

Mayim Bialik hosts the two-week tournament featuring students from 36 schools across the country. Stay tuned to BestColleges for updates on the competition.

January 14, 2022 · Updated on May 23, 2022

Edited by Alex Pasquariello
‘Jeopardy!’ National College Championship Goes Primetime
Opinion & Analysis
Photo by Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Fresh off her stint as host of the first "Jeopardy! Professors Tournament," Mayim Bialik is back to fire answers at the nation's brightest college students.

The all-new "Jeopardy! National College Championship" runs in primetime on ABC Feb. 8-22. The new tournament features 36 students from colleges across the nation competing in hour-long brainiac marathons. Faculty advisers will be on hand to administer smelling salts.

Although the winner was previously promised a $100,000 grand prize, it turns out that this year's champ will take home $250,000, a payday bump that was inevitable now that the average college athlete can earn that and more with a 30-second TikTok video. Second place takes home $100,000, and third place walks away with a cool $50,000.

Stay tuned to BestColleges for daily updates throughout the tournament to see which students make the grade.

true Tuesday, Feb. 22

Finals

At long last, we've reached the finals! We're about to crown our first-ever Jeopardy! National College Champion! Who among these three stupendous students will claim the title, pocket a cool $250,000, and take home one spiffy trophy?

  • Liz Felton, Northeastern University
  • Raymond Goslow, Kennesaw State University
  • Jaskaran Singh, University of Texas

The finals consist of two matches, and the points will be cumulative.

To open our first match, we have these categories in the Jeopardy! round:

  • A Place With Direction
  • Broadway Musicals
  • Digesting Some Literature (food for thought)
  • ___ Or ___
  • & Now For Something Completely Different (shout-out to Monty Python)
  • Video clues with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, about tech careers

Liz debuts with Broadway, which Jaskaran grabs with "What is 'Fiddler on the Roof'?" He's off to a good start, while Raymond, uncharacteristically, is in red figures.

Jaskaran secures the round's Daily Double, in Digesting. He leads with $3,400 and makes it a true Daily Double! Jaskaran's going for broke! He nails it with "What is 'The Count of Monte Cristo'?" and now he can count to $6,800.

To shake things up, Raymond goes for Something Completely Different. But Jaskaran chimes in correctly with "Who is Samuel Johnson?" Nothing different here.

In "blank OR blank," Jaskaran jumps in with "What is drown or...jrz..mrfd...I don't know?" which, surprisingly, proves incorrect. The correct response is "What is sink or swim?" I think we know which one Jaskaran chose there.

Raymond gets "What is my way or the highway?" and is on the comeback trail.

We learn the North Pole is heading toward Russia. And we thought this Ukraine thing was a problem.

Raymond gets the final clue with "What is Google Chrome?" and now has $3,400. He trails Jaskaran, who has $8,000. Liz has $2,200. We're all googling "North Pole Russia."

Is there anything we don't know about our finalists? Let's find out.

Raymond wants to get a master's degree in library and information science and become a professional librarian. We're not shocked.

Jaskaran had an internship with a civil rights organization in DC and enjoyed his time in the swamp.

Liz competed in her first triathlon during the COVID-19 pandemic got a flat tire during the cycling segment. She's currently in last place but isn't deflated.

She's pumped for the Double Jeopardy! round, for which we have these categories:

  • The 18th Century
  • Mythic Constellations
  • True & Untrue Crime (covers just about everything)
  • We've Got The Blues (Liz and Raymond do so far)
  • Lyrics To Remember (even mondegreens)
  • Pithy Words & Phrases

Liz lifts off with Lyrics and nails "Who is Dua Lipa?"

Jaskaran quickly nabs the round's first Daily Double, in 18th Century. He's still in the lead, with $10,800. Mayim asks if he's going to make it a true Daily Double again. No! Only $6,000, which he adds to his total with "Who is Marie Antoinette?"

Mayim enjoys speaking Lyrics. "I gotta feeling (woo-hoo) that tonight's gonna be a good night...." It will be for one of these students!

As if he needs it, Jaskaran lands the second Daily Double, in Constellations. He has $22,800 and a whopping lead. He adds $10,000 with "What is the Ardo?" Liz and Raymond may be settling for constellation prizes.

A spate of incorrect responses has our students singing the Blues. They've twice tried "What is cerulean?" to no avail.

Mayim rocks it with "So I'ma light it up like dynamite, whoa, dy-na-na-na, na-na, na-na, ayy" to the delight of everyone.

Raymond gets the final clue with "What is stealing bread?" and has $6,600. Jaskaran has the lead, with $30,400, while Liz is in second, with $9,800. The two finals matches are cumulative, which complicates the strategy in Final Jeopardy!

Speaking of which, our category is The Periodic Table: "By 1890, discoveries of 3 'nationalist elements' filled table gaps: scandium in Sweden, germanium in Germany, this in France."

Raymond writes "What is Gallium?" Yes! He doubles his total to $13,200.

Liz is laughing. Uh-oh. She offers "What is Francium?" and loses $4,000, dropping her total to $5,800.

Jaskaran also gets "What is Gallium?" and adds $2,000 to his total, which now stands at $32,400.

So Jaskaran takes a $19,200 lead into the next match.

As we head to the break, our students discuss the finer points of Gallium and Francium. Liz says she hasn't taken a science class in six years. Jaskaran admits he almost wrote "Francium." Riveting stuff.

We're back for the final Finals match. Jaskaran, who grabbed all three Daily Doubles in the last match, hopes he's as lucky this time around. Mayim tells Liz and Raymond anything is possible in this next match. Liz calls it "not an ideal situation" but adds the ever-popular, "It's not over till it's over." Raymond's having the time of his life and says he's walking away with at least $50,000, "so what more is there to ask for?" he concludes.

Liz will ask for the first clue in the Jeopardy! round, which features these categories:

  • Historic Potpourri (all-time great-smelling sock drawers)
  • Numb With Numbers (sums up my high school career)
  • Food Combos
  • "C" The Animals
  • A Day Of Pop Culture
  • Alliterative Phrases (burdensome brain-bashers)

Liz opts for Culture and gets "What is 'RuPauls Drag Race'?"

In Numbers, our students chime in and quickly do math. Raymond counts up the number of dots on a die.

Mayim likes "Strangers on a Train."

We get a video clue showing capybaras, the world's largest rodent. Truly frightening, in a cuddly sort of way.

Jaskaran continues hogging Daily Doubles, in Alliterative. Daily Double itself is alliterative! Ah, the symmetry! He's in the lead, with $4,800 (plus his stash), wagers $500, and gets "What is the Headless Horseman?" He's happy.

We get a clue about the Pythagorean Theorem and the hypotenuse and suddenly are whisked back to 9th grade geometry.

A cute video of a cockapoo. Just because.

Jaskaran offers "What is surf and turf?" followed by "What are vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry?" and we pause for a snack break.

Liz finishes the round with "What is the first family?" and has $2,600. She trails Jaskaran, who has $7,300, and Raymond, who has $4,200.

We can't possibly learn anything more about our finalists, so we jump right into the Double Jeopardy! round with these categories:

  • A State Capitol Idea (Juneau them all?)
  • Scary Stories
  • Classical Music
  • It's Just About Time (to crown a champion)
  • Documentary Subjects
  • Double Talk Words (oh, goody-goody)

Liz gets going with Double Talk, which Raymond grabs with "Who is Coco?"

Jaskaran snares the round's first Daily Double (natch). He leads with $8,900 and wagers $5,000, which he loses on "What are beehives?" That vaults Raymond into the lead, and the audience is abuzz in anticipation of a major comeback.

Indeed, Raymond gets on a roll until...of course...Jaskaran grabs the last Daily Double. That's a clean Daily Double sweep! He's in second place with $8,300 and adds $5,000 with "What is Firefest?"

A confusing clue about Montana ends with nobody getting "What is the golden spike?"

Jaskaran knows his Music and is back in the lead.

We get a photo clue about a tsetse fly, which, objectively, isn't nearly as adorable as a cockapoo. Double Talk also gives us "pom-poms" and "couscous." Ha ha!

Liz secures the final Finals clue with "What is intermission?" She has $4,600 and trails Jaskaran, who has $19,300, and Raymond, who has $17,800. It's a close one...until you remember Jaskaran's $32,400 war chest.

Still, Final Jeopardy! may hold some intrigue. The category is The 19th Century: "An 1873 book title gave us this phrase for the period in the late 1800s of growth & prosperity & also greed & corruption." (A new record number of ampersands.)

Liz offers "What is the Era of Good Feelings?" She doesn't have a good feeling about this one, and for good reason. She loses $3,000 and drops to $1,600. Add to that her first-match total of $5,800, and she has $7,400.

Raymond writes "What is the Gilded Age?" Correct! He adds $15,999, giving him $33,799. Add his $13,200, and he now has $46,999.

Did Jaskaran get Gilded Age? Yes! He wagers zero, leaving him with $19,300. Add to that his $32,400, and he finishes with $51,700.

Jaskaran is our Jeopardy! National College Champion! He takes home $250,000 and a spanky trophy!

For her third-place finish, Liz gets $50,000. Raymond wins $100,000. That's a lot of tuition money! They also leave with three capybaras, a cerulean bust of John Cleese, and a map of Montana signed by RuPaul.

Congratulations to Jaskaran and the rest of the tournament competitors. It's been quite a ride. Let's do it again real soon!

Friday, Feb. 18

Semifinal #3

Mayim tells us Raymond Goslow of Kennesaw State has officially made the finals! Isaac Applebaum of Stanford is waiting in the wings to see if he makes it as well.

Meanwhile, we have these three contestants for our first semifinal match of the evening:

  • Emmey Harris, University of Minnesota
  • Liz Feltner, Northeastern University
  • Kristin Donegan, Carnegie Mellon University

And they have these categories for the Jeopardy! round:

  • A Minor In History (famous symphonies in A minor)
  • Abbrev.
  • A Lofty Category (most of these will be over my head)
  • Between 10 & 20 (narrows it down a bit)
  • Don't Be So Thirsty
  • Clues from ESPN personalities (let's hope they're sports fans!)

Kristin, who's minoring in history, picks that category to start us off. Emmey grabs it with "Who is Joan of Arc?" We discover "minor" refers to famous kids.

We now move to 10 & 20, so they might be a bit older (actually, it's just about the numbers). Kristin chimes in but can't "math" fast enough while calculating Haiku syllables and runs out of time.

In 10 & 20, Emmey responds with "What is carbon dating?" Mayim asks for something more specific, so Emmey tries "What is casual carbon dating?" (Not really.)

The audience chuckles at "What is chocolate milk?" for no apparent reason.

We learn 7-Up was originally called "Bib-label lithiated lemon-lime soda." Mayim says she can't imagine why they changed the name. "Hey, toss me a Bib, would ya?"

Kristen, who has $-200, grabs the round's Daily Double, in Thirsty. She wagers $1,000 but fails to get "What is an orange?" And she's back in the red.

None of them know what NATO stands for. No international relations majors, evidently. Nor do they know URL or LPN. WTF?

They run the table in Lofty, which was a tall order.

In Thirsty, Kristin gets "What is horchata?" to move back into positive figures, at $800.

These rabid sports fans leave ESPN until the end. They all laugh at their collective sporting ignorance. Mayim demonstrates the pre-fight "staredown." Plenty of staring off into space during that category.

At the end of the Jeopardy! round, Emmey leads with $3,600, followed by Liz with $3,000 and Kristin with $800.

Time to cozy up with some casual chitchat.

Emmey is into English country dancing and wants to see it grow in popularity. It's like square dancing, but more circular in form.

Liz says she holds 4 or 5 leadership roles on campus. Bet she'd trade most of them for a lead at the end of this match.

Kristin is part of the Carnegie Mellon Global Medical Brigades. They go to Central America during spring break to provide medical care in rural areas. But because of the pandemic, they've settled for "telebrigades."

In Double Jeopardy! we have these categories:

  • Geographic Name Changes
  • One-Word Movie Titles (should be a Scream)
  • 20th Century Books
  • Chemistry Glossary (like this name)
  • Religion
  • "Tic" Talk (responses end in "tic")

Kristin starts us off with Chemistry for $2,000 and gets "What is entropy?" She stays with that category and lands the round's first Daily Double. She's in third place, with $2,800, and makes it a true Daily Double! The biology major secures the lead with "What are rare earth metals?"

How many of them chime in for "What are Zambia and Zimbabwe?" Zero. Zilch. Zippo.

Emmey thinks Willingtown, Delaware, became "Dover," not "Wilmington." Is Delaware even a thing?

Mayim thinks "Us" is a terrifying movie. Fortunately, our sports fans don't get "Rocky" or "Rudy" or "Miracle" clues in One-Word Titles.

Kristin has extended her lead and lands the second Daily Double, in Books. She has $13,600 and wagers $3,000, but "What is...a grape?" proves incorrect. She's sour.

Our students are ticking of Tic clues one by one. Emmey gets "What is antibiotic?" to move into the lead, with $10,800. Both Kristin and Liz have $10,600. Fantastic!

Kristin ends the round with "What is Joker?" and is tied for the lead with Liz at $11,000. Emmey has $10,800.

For the Final Jeopardy! climactic clue, our category is Historic Structures: "In 1100 the bishop of Durham became the first prisoner here &, after plying his guards with wine, became the first to escape."

Emmey responds with "What is the Tower of London?" Correct! She bets it all and doubles her total to $21,600.

Liz also gets Tower of London and also doubles her score, which now stands at $22,000.

We sense a pattern. Did Kristin follow suit? Yes! She's tied with Liz at $22,000! Sudden-death overtime! Heads or tails?

Emmey and Liz have to play a one-question tiebreaker. No pressure. The category is The Fine Arts. Liz chimes in with "Who is Gershwin?" to claim the match! She also secures a spot in the finals!

Kristin and Emmey each leave with $20,000, nine cases of Tic Tacs, four gallons of chocolate milk, a "Rudy" DVD, and a map of Delaware.

We have one final finals spot available. Who'll take it? Let's find out!

Semifinal #4

On the heels of that riveting ripsnorter, what can these next three semifinalists do for an encore? Battling it out are:

  • Joey Kornman, Brandeis University
  • Jaskaran Singh, University of Texas
  • Megan Sullivan, University of Virginia

They have these categories in the Jeopardy! round:

  • World History
  • Let's Rock & Roll! (I'm guessing it's not about music)
  • A Day At The Sorbonne
  • College Team Names (sports fans, please)
  • Salty (contestants will be peppered with tough clues)
  • Science Fiction

Joey gets us going with World History, which Jaskaran claims with "What is Tehran?"

Jaskaran stays in that category and lands the round's Daily Double! He adds $1,000 to his total with "What is the Philippines?"

Nobody gets "Who is Michelangelo?" He's a turtle.

In Science Fiction, Jaskaran offers "Who is Green?" Mayim says be more specific. "John Green?" he guesses. Mayim says it's Hank Green, John's brother. You wiseacre, Mayim!

Rock & Roll features clues about rocks. Jaskaran is on a roll in that category and extends his lead. It's also about rolls, and he nails "What is a California roll?" You rock, Jaskaran!

In Team Names, Joey gets "What are the Quakers?" Go Penn! We also get Polar Bears (Bowdoin) and Griffins (Seton Hill).

The Sorbonne pertains to French words, not bruised backsides.

Jaskaran, of Texas, gets a Big 12 clue (Kansas) in Team Names. Not fair!

To complete the round, Joey gets "What is a pen?" in Sorbonne to complement his Quakers response. He trails Jaskaran, who has $5,400. Megan's in third, with $2,600.

Let's say hello once again to our spectacular students.

Megan speaks Latin, which sure comes in handy in Latin America. She learned it at summer camp and is single handedly trying to resurrect the dead language. Carpe diem, Megan!

Jaskaran speaks Russian, which he says helps when watching Russian movies (somebody please tell him about subtitles).

Joey had a professor who teaches classes in ancient technology and cults. A famous ancient cultist was Nimrod, notorious namesake of numbskulls and nutjobs.

In the Double Jeopardy! round we have these categories:

  • Zooming Around The U.S. (all done via Zoom)
  • Music Class (difficult, at least in theory)
  • "Ya"s
  • Let's Have A Watch Party (all about Rolexes)
  • Verbs
  • Science Fact

Megan shoves us off with Verbs, which Jaskaran gets with "What is constrict?" Boas like to do that.

Joey fails to get "What is Boston?" in Zoom, even though Brandeis is about 20 miles from Beantown.

Megan grabs the round's first Daily Double, in Verbs. She's still in third place, with $3,800, and makes it a true Daily Double! And she nails "What is articulate?"

She then gets a Latin-related clue in that category (not fair!) and correctly responds with "What is undulate?" Mayim says she made her Latin teacher proud.

In Ya's, Joey gets "What is yada, yada, yada?" And he mentions the bisque.

Megan's obviously thrown a lot of watch parties (she prefers shows with Latin subtitles).

Joey secures the round's second Daily Double, in Science Fact. He's in second place, with $10,000, and says he doesn't know any science. Be confident, Joey! OK, he's confident he doesn't know science. He nonetheless bets $4,000. Alas, he proves prophetic and misses "What is pitchblende?"

You can always tell when Jaskaran is purely guessing because he pauses after "what is." Stop guessing, Jaskaran. This ain't the SAT. There are consequences!

In Music Class, nobody knows to subtract 52 (number of white keys) from 88 to get 36 black keys. Mayim does the math for them.

Speaking of numbers, Megan finishes the round with $14,000, followed by Jaskaran with $12,200 and Joey with $9,200. Anyone's game!

Our Final Jeopardy! category is Characters In Banned Books: "Introduced in 1928, this character has a disappointing affair with a writer before she begins a more satisfying relationship."

Joey writes "Who is Madame Bovary?" Nope. He loses everything.

Jaskaran offers "Who is Lady Chatterley?" Correct! He's gobsmacked! His total doubles to $24,400.

Megan writes "Who is Daisy Buchanan Madame Bovary?" Both wrong! She bets $10,401 and drops to $3,599.

That means Jaskaran is our winner and advances to the finals, where he'll compete with Raymond Goslow of Kennesaw State and Liz Felton of Northeastern.

Isaac Applebaum of Stanford takes fourth place and leaves with $35,000.

Megan and Joey each take home $20,000, four gallons of lobster bisque, a Russian-to-Latin dictionary, and a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" DVD signed by Hank Green.

On to the finals, where we'll soon crown our champ! Stay tuned!

Thursday, Feb. 17

Semifinal #1

We've reached the semifinals! Mayim says one of our 12 contestants is about to become a quartermillionaire. Is that a thing?

Our first three students are:

  • Raymond Goslow, Kennesaw State
  • Neha Seshadri, Harvard
  • Nam Vu, Georgetown

And they have these categories for our Jeopardy! round:

  • Virtue Signaling
  • Tennis Lesson (love this category)
  • A Month Of Events
  • Oh, The Places You'll Go!
  • A Kid Did That (all about goats, like Tom Brady)
  • Heteronyms (words spelled the same but with different pronunciations and meanings)

Nam starts us off with Kid and gets "What is skateboarding?"

Our students know their months. There are, after all, only 12 to choose from.

Neha nails the first Heteronym with "What is agape and agape?" Aaaand I realize this won't work so well in written form. Hear the difference between "intern" and "intern"? Didn't think so.

We learn that mixing wine and water is symbolizes temperance. It's also a way for kids to sneak booze without their parents knowing.

Should contestants get credit for using "what is" when referring to people? It's dehumanizing!

Raymond snares the round's Daily Double in Places You'll Go. You go, Ray! He's in the lead with $5,200 and adds $2,000 with "What is Machu Picchu?" (It's a small Mexican dog.)

Raymond is virtuous.

In Places, Raymond incorrectly posits "What are chimpanzees?" Neha follows with "What are orangutans?" which is also wrong. Nam isn't monkeying around with a guess. It's actually gorillas.

Mayim likes talking like a pirate.

Neha says "What is Rembrandt?" and is back to dehumanizing people. Unless she means the toothpaste. And she does it again with "What is Serena Williams?"

Turns out a 9-year-old boy came up with the world "google." I hope he bought stock.

Raymond finishes the round with "What is an ox?" and has $9,400. Neha is in second, with $3,600, followed by Nam with $2,000.

Let's learn even more tidbits about our wise warriors.

Raymond is a history minor and took a course on "Origins of Great Traditions," which took him to a Bahi temple, where he had quince.

Neha is taking a class called "Can We Know Our Past?" which brought her to a cemetery and enabled her to use a makeshift stone tool to cut up an apple for lunch. That task was on the final.

Nam's a singer and beatboxer and performs with the Georgetown Phantoms. He solos on "Africa" but doesn't bother to give us a demonstration. Come on, Nam, bless those rains!

For Double Jeopardy! here are our categories:

  • Exit Stage Left (but wait until after the round)
  • After The War
  • Whither The Weather?
  • Fang Shui (about teeth, not finding balance)
  • That's Show Biz
  • From "M" To "Y" (words begin and end with those letters)

Nam starts with Exit and gets "What is 'Sweeney Todd'?"

In Weather, Raymond guesses "What is saturation?" but the correct response is "What is super saturation?" Ray is super bummed. No partial credit?

Sticking with Weather, Neha grabs the round's first Daily Double. Her $2,000 has her in third place. She wagers $1,500 and gets "What is a gale?"

My, my, Ray sure knows his M to Y.

In Fang Shui, Raymond gets "What are hippos?" and seems stunned. Fake it till you make it, Ray.

Nam thinks Mayim sounds like Eminem, and she's plain flattered.

Neha: "What is Miranda?" Must mean the rights, not the "Hamilton" guy.

In MY, Raymond gets "What is monotony?" It's a bored game.

Raymond follows that up by snatching the round's last Daily Double, in War. He has the lead, with $15,400. But wait! The judges have ruled that "mulberry" was an acceptable response in MY (like mahogany, it has reddish-brown wood), so his total is actually $17,800. He wagers $6,000 and gets "What is the Hundred Years War?"

We get a Ted Lasso clue as a patient nation awaits season three.

Raymond rounds out the round with "What is a cathedral?" and expands his total to $25,800. Nam is in second, with $10,000, followed by Neha with $5,500. Neither has a Ray of hope.

It's Raymond's second time heading into Final Jeopardy! with more than $25,000. Nobody Kennesaw that coming!

Speaking of Final Jeopardy! today's category is Western Hemisphere Countries: "In 1882, when these 2 countries' border was settled, a minister in the southern one quit in protest out of loyalty to Central America."

Neha offers "What is Colombia and Panama?" Neither her grammar nor her answer is correct, costing her $4,501 and dropping her to $999.

Nam writes "What are Nicaragua and Honduras?" Also incorrect. He loses $1,119 and now has $8,881.

Raymond also chooses Panama and Colombia. The correct response is "What are Mexico and Guatemala?" Raymond loses $5,021 but doesn't care. His $20,779 is enough to give him the win! We'll have to see if that total secures him a spot in the finals.

Meanwhile, we say farewell to Neha and Nam, who each leave with $20,000, a mulberry bush, four cases of Gorilla Glue, and a "Hamilton" DVD signed by Serena Williams.

We'll keep it right here for our next contest.

Semifinal #2

Without further ado, we meet our next three contestants:

  • Isaac Applebaum, Stanford
  • Stephen Privat, LSU
  • Lauren Rodriguez, Pomona

And here are our Jeopardy! round categories:

  • Constitutional Amendments
  • The Crop Report
  • Check Out My Ride! (and pimp it while you're at it)
  • Playing The Percentages
  • Movie Sum-Up (like a tagline, only pithier)
  • A Little Body English (or, a little English body)

Lauren gets us going with Movie, and nobody gets "What is 'Free Guy'?"

Isaac's off to a rocky start and is in red figures (matching his Stanford hoodie).

Lauren thinks Isaac Newton "saw further" by standing on his tiptoes, not "the shoulders of giants." An enlightened response, Lauren.

Doesn't anyone use Ivory Soap anymore?

They also miss "What is genius?" And here we thought you all were. We're 10 clues into the round and each contestant has $200. Enough for an Uber ride home.

But Isaac grabs the round's Daily Double, in Constitutional Amendments, and can break out of his slump in a big way. He adds $800 to his score with "What is search and seizure?"

We have a clue in Constitutional Amendments that includes the word "jeopardy." Very meta!

Stephen gets "What is barley?" and returns to positive figures, but just barely.

If not for potatoes, what would Idaho be known for?

Nobody gets the final clue, "What is ruth?" This round has been ruthless for our contestants. Isaac leads with a paltry $2,400, followed by Lauren with $2,000 and Stephen with $1,400.

Let's say hi once again to our three combatants.

Stephen is on the rowing team at LSU and was an extra in a movie about crew. When asked which side he prefers rowing on, he said, "Either oar."

Isaac works in chemistry labs at Stanford and talks about how he uses polymers to design {something understood only by geeky scientists}. But he sure loves his mentors!

Lauren's grandfather also went to Pomona and studied sociology, just like her. She wants to carry on his legacy (don't use that word, Lauren!).

Back to the game. For Double Jeopardy! we have these categories:

  • Millennials (just a bit older)
  • Gen "Z" (them)
  • Nonfiction
  • TV Finales
  • On Its Border
  • Video clues from ABC News "World News Now" (shameless network plug)

Stephen starts us off with Finales, which Lauren gets with "Who is Rory Gilmore?"

Mayim doesn't like the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Bad memories.

Isaac gets "Who is Stephen Hawking?" and extends his lead. All three are on a roll now, recovering nicely from that first-round disaster. He follows that up with a Daily Double in Nonfiction. He has $6,800 and adds $2,600 with "What is 'Silent Spring'?"

Mayim says we "can't get enough" of Zoom. Oh, I think we've all had enough.

Lauren secures the second Daily Double, in Millennials. She's in third place, with $4,400, and wagers $2,000. She gets "Who is Anne Hathaway?" and moves into second place.

In Millennials, Isaac says Prince Harry is in line for the British throne. Nope. Lauren guesses Prince George. Also no. Stephen ventures Prince Charles. Nada. The correct answer is "Prince Spaghetti." (Actually, it's William.)

A shout-out to Nunavut. Just because it's fun to say.

We jump to a video clue from ABC News about the Lincoln assassination and, for a brief moment, we think we're about to see archival footage.

All of the TV Finales are recent. None of the famous ones like M*A*S*H, Newhart, and Seinfeld.

Stephen gets "Who is Harriet Tubman?" to finish the round but is in last place, with $9,400. Lauren leads with $14,800, followed by Isaac with $13,000. It's anyone's game!

Our Final Jeopardy! category is Words From Mythology: "A 1525 textbook on anatomy says this, being 'so different of colours,' could also be called "rain bowys.'"

Stephen offers "What is hippocampus eyes?" Not correct. He loses $5,798, dropping him to $3,602.

Isaac writes "What are irises?" Yes! He adds $5,801 to his total, which now stands at $18,801.

Lauren has "What are capillaries?" and loses $11,201, bringing her total to $3,599.

That means Isaac is our champ! Will his total be enough to get him into the finals? We shall see!

Stephen and Lauren each leave with $20,000, six pounds of potatoes, three bars of Ivory Soap, and the ABC News board game signed by Anne Hathaway.

Stay tuned for one more night of sensational semifinals!

Wednesday, Feb. 16

Quarterfinal Game 11

We've reached the last night of the quarterfinals! Ten students have already advanced to the semifinals. Which two will join them tonight? Let's get started and find out!

Our first matchup features:

  • Fiona Hellerman, a senior at Tulane University (DYK: A building on campus named for Jerry Springer, Class of '65, houses faculty meetings so disgruntled professors can fling chairs at one another.)
  • Nam Vu, a senior at Georgetown University (What is a Hoya? Yes. The full term, Hoya Saxa, means "what rocks.")
  • Claire Jackson, a sophomore at Spelman College (The official guidelines for the alumnae "March Through the Arch" stipulate no gum chewing, stopping, or posing for selfies.)

Ever notice how Johnny Gilbert says "soph-o-more?" Most do it in two syllables.

Anyway, for the Jeopardy! round we have these categories:

  • Marvel (as in comics)
  • Recent News
  • Do Me A Solid
  • Literature: "Good" Or "Great" (are those our only options?)
  • The Harder They Fall
  • 3-Syllable Words (outstanding!)

Fiona starts us off with News. Nam gets "Who is Trudeau?" and shifts to Solid. Then Literature. He's sampling the brainiac buffet.

Fiona responds correctly to a clue and adds "thank you" for no apparent reason. But she's sure thankful for landing the round's Daily Double, in Literature! She's in second place with $600 and adds $300 with "What is 'Great Expectations'?" We have those for you, Fiona!

We have a Groot clue in Marvel. The only acceptable response is "I am Groot." Nam's a superhero geek. And he's building a sizable lead.

Pennies, we learn, are made of zinc, not copper. (And nickels are mostly copper. Go figure.)

Nam nails "What is a dodecahedron?" Sounds like something out of Harry Potter.

Claire chimes in with "{rapid head shake}" and reminds herself to formulate answers before buzzing in.

Nam thinks the Mets played at Three Rivers Stadium. While New York does have three rivers, they're not the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio.

For the last clue, in Solid, Claire ventures "What is nitrogen?" Nope. Fiona counters with "What is hydrogen?" Also no. Nam resists the urge to posit "What is estrogen?" The correct response is "What is carbon dioxide?" Exhale, everyone.

That takes us to the break, giving everyone a breather. Nam leads with $8,400, followed by Fiona with $2,700 and Claire with $2,200.

Time for a casual chat with our contestants.

Claire is studying English and Spanish at Spelman. She's a third-generation Spelmanite. It's an extended family thing too. None of them chew gum.

Nam is majoring in environmental biology at Georgetown. His brother also was on Jeopardy! We don't learn if he won, leading us to believe he did not. Will Nam avenge him? He is a superhero nerd, after all.

Fiona is studying international relations and philosophy at Tulane. She wrote a college paper discussing how IBM's Watson beat Jeopardy! mastermind Ken Jennings in 2011 but failed to make sense of Obamacare.

Back to the game. For Double Jeopardy! these are our categories:

  • They Wrote Your Textbooks (aka instruments of torture)
  • Historic Names (like Beatrice and Edith)
  • African Geography
  • Potpourri (smells nice in a sock drawer)
  • Celebs' Recent Projects
  • "X" Marks The Category (an "x" in each response—exciting!)

Claire gets us going with Celebs, which Nam gets with "Who is Darren Criss?" (Related to Peter Criss?)

Nam is category hopping again.

Claire knows her Celebs. And we discover Paris Hilton doesn't know what chives look like. Or a kitchen.

In a Potpourri clue about Canada, Claire guesses "What is Quebec?" Nope. Fiona tries "What is Newfoundland?" Nam, shaking his head, is having Nunavut.

No one's familiar with Microsoft's "Imagine Cup" for student tech nerds. Microsoft's PR team needs to up its game.

Nam nabs the first Daily Double, in Names. He holds a comfortable lead with $12,000 and adds $3,000 with "Who is Schindler?"

Most of the Textbook clues are met with silence. Are textbooks still a thing? But Nam grabs the second Daily Double in that category. Textbook move, Nam! His total has swelled to $18,600, but he loses $2,000 on "Who is St. Thomas Aquinas?" Turns out $2,000 is the average price for a textbook these days.

In X, Fiona gets "oxymoron" and "exchange." Exceptionally executed!

Speaking of exceptional, Nam closes out the round with "What is biology" and grows his total to $17,000. Claire's next, with $5,000, followed by Fiona with $1,500. Mayim says Nam has been difficult to catch. You're like an eel swimming in baby oil, Nam!

Our Final Jeopardy! category is Holidays & Observances: "The first national observance of Memorial Day was held May 30, 1868 at this site, on land that had belonged to Robert E. Lee's wife."

Fiona guesses "What the Lee Estate" and says her pen stopped working. Ran out of ink? She loses $500 and drops to $1,000.

Claire writes "What is Stone Mountain?" Also wrong. She bets $1,881 in honor of Spelman's founding date (really) and sinks to $3,119. Mayim thinks it's a lovely sentiment nonetheless.

Nam offers "What is Gettysburg?" Incorrect. The right response is "What is Arlington National Cemetery?" But he loses zero on his way to becoming the newest semifinalist!

Fiona and Claire each leave with $10,000, a statue of Baby Groot, six chives, and a map of Canada signed by Paris Hilton.

Who will become our final semifinalist? We'll know soon enough!

Quarterfinal Game 12

We're down to our last quarterfinal match, with one coveted semifinal spot on the line. Who among these three will grab the brass ring?

  • Sam Blum, a senior at Vanderbilt University (The university is known for its 3:1 squirrel-to-student ratio.)
  • Aniket Dehadrai, a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Avast ye nerds: MIT students who complete courses in archery, fencing, pistol, and sailing earn a Pirate Certificate.)
  • Megan Sullivan, a junior at the University of Virginia (The oldest secret society on campus is the Mystic Order of Eli Banana, known for its unique appeal.)

We begin with our Jeopardy! categories:

  • Around The Time You Were Born (I'm about to feel old again)
  • Throwing Serious Shade
  • Haiku That Novel! (a novel approach to poetry)
  • Toy Stories (all four of them)
  • They're Multi-Talented
  • Get Your "M_B_A" (responses include those letters in that order)

Sam kicks things off with Toy Stories, which Megan grabs with "What is Nerf?" She also gets "What are Transformers?" Mayim adds, "More than meets the eye." She's on the Hasbro payroll.

Aniket misses "Who is Phoebe Waller-Bridge?" and drops to $-800. He then gets an Around The Time clue about "Finding Nemo," which debuted in 2003. I have socks that old.

Aniket follows up by grabbing the round's Daily Double, in Shade. He's in third place, with $800, and wagers $1,000. A true Daily Double, and then some! Alas, he misses "What is magnolia?" and returns to red figures.

They call "Genesis" a "dad rock band." I beg your pardon.

Nobody gets "What is a mortarboard?" Two seniors not even thinking about commencement yet?

In MBA, Megan offers "What is mea culpa?" (Where's the "b"?) The correct response is "What is ‘my bad'?" It's the contemporary version of mea culpa.

Mayim calls Rubik's Cube "the most troubling puzzle in history."

Our students don't watch "Only Murders in the Building." Check it out, peeps.

Megan finishes the category with "Who is Rihanna?" and winds up tied with Aniket for the lead, with $5,000. Sam trails with $2,400.

Time for the engaging banter interlude.

Megan is studying classics at UVA and tells a story of "crashing" a secret society initiation ceremony on campus (Eli Banana?). She didn't make it in but remains in the hunt.

Aniket is majoring in chemistry and biology at MIT. He ate breakfast atop an active volcano in Bali during an internship in Singapore. Mayim clarifies that it wasn't spewing lava and ashes at the time. Might've sullied the eggs.

Sam is studying engineering science at Vanderbilt. As a kid, he attended a taping of Jeopardy! and got to meet Alex Trebek. He told Alex he'd be back one day and, by gum, here he is. Soothsayer Sam!

For our Double Jeopardy! round we have these categories:

  • European History
  • U.S. Bodies Of Water
  • Pick A Major (pay attention, Mayim...they already have)
  • Tech Talk
  • The Future's Not So Bright... (it is for tonight's winner)
  • Words That Should Rhyme

Sam, the engineer, starts us off with Tech and gets "What is a Deep Fake?"

With a name like "Llantwit Major," it has to be Wales, Megan. Not Scotland.

Aniket secures the round's first Daily Double, in European History. He's now in the lead, with $9,000, and bets a chunky $4,000. Rather gutsy there, Aniket! He misses "What is Warsaw?" But he regains $2,000 with "What is the Hanseatic League?" (It features Liverpool and Manchester United.)

Mayim is so polite when contestants respond incorrectly. She truly feels for them.

Our students aren't up on their sci-fi shows, which is rather shocking. Isn't that a requirement of geekhood?

Aniket's rebuilt his lead and, adding insult to everyone's injury, lands the second Daily Double, in Future. He has $10,600 and this time plays it a bit safer by wagering $2,000. He misses "Who is Yorick?" Their futures may be bright, but this category is whoopin' their butts.

Aniket continues his descent with "What...is...crater..." "Sorry, time," interjects Mayim. He's cratering, all right. He does it again in that category, chiming in before knowing the answer and thinking aloud. That costs him another $2,000 and his lead.

After missing "What is scale?" on the final clue, Aniket drops to $4,200. His round is sponsored by Otis Elevator. Megan's now in the lead, with $5,400, while Sam trails with $2,000. Still, it's anyone's game.

For Final Jeopardy! our category is Compound Words: "The OED says this 9-letter word is literary & poetic, & it appears 11 times in an 1845 American poem, including as the last word."

Sam writes "What is beautiful?" Beautiful sentiment, Sam, but wrong. He loses a random $402 and drops to $1,598.

Aniket offers "What is nevermore?" Yes! He adds zero to his score, however.

Megan is smiling and waving. She seems confident. And she should! She also gets "nevermore" and adds $3,001, bringing her total to $8,401. She's our final semifinalist!

Sam and Aniket each leave with $10,000, a Genesis CD box set, a map of Wales signed by Rihanna, and six Rubik's Cubes.

Here are the semifinalists cued up for one captivating cerebral clash:

  • Isaac Applebaum, Stanford
  • Stephen Privat, LSU
  • Emmey Harris, Minnesota
  • Joey Kornman, Brandeis
  • Neha Seshadri, Harvard
  • Lauren Rodriguez, Pomona
  • Liz Feltner, Northeastern
  • Jaskaran Singh, Texas
  • Raymond Goslow, Kennesaw State
  • Kristin Donegan, Carnegie Mellon
  • Nam Vu, Georgetown
  • Megan Sullivan, UVA

Stay tuned to see who becomes our ultimate undergrad!

Tuesday, Feb. 15

Quarterfinal Game 9

We're back with week 2 of the Jeopardy! National College Championship! Who will join last week's eight winners as semifinalists? Let's find out!

Our first three contestants are:

  • Lucy Greenman, a senior at William & Mary (DYK: Each year four faculty members engage in the "Raft Debate" to determine who's most worthy of being saved from a desert island. The winner gets a volleyball.)
  • Raymond Goslow, a senior at Kennesaw State University (The university's mascot, Scrappy the owl, hails from Owlberta and loves reruns of Fat Owlbert.)
  • Jeric Brual, a senior at New York University (A Facebook page titled "Stefani Germanotta, You Will Never be Famous" flamed the first-year NYU student who would become Lady Gaga.)

Mayim says she misses her college years (all five of them) and her postgrad years (another seven) at UCLA. Your campus is right down the road, Mayim. Go hang out!

Here we go with these Jeopardy! round categories:

  • A Semester Abroad
  • Squid Game
  • Going Greek Alphabet
  • Course Syllables (not syllabi)
  • Hits Of 2021
  • Half Past (responses are just after "half" in the dictionary, so it should be "past half")

Lucy kicks us off with Hits for $800, which Raymond nabs with "Who is Lizzo?" He then misses a Greek clue about Omicron. Everyone knows Omicron. But he gets Pi and Tau.

Raymond pivots to Squid and nabs the round's Daily Double. He's in the lead with $1,600 and "bets the farm," Midwestern speak for "everything."

Ray's feeling bullish after getting "What is '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'?"

Lucy misses "What is biochemistry?" in Syllables and drops to $-200.

Jeric! finally chimes in with "What are Tokyo and Kyoto?" in Abroad. Jeric! uses an exclamation point, just like Jeopardy! It's all about the J's!

He follows it up with "What is bioluminescence?" in Squid, a category that has nothing to do with fatal game shows. Release the Kraken!

Raymond's really hip on Hits and hogs all the Half Past "h" clues. His lead is humongous! He finishes with $7,000, followed by Jeric with $3,000 and Lucy with $1,200.

Let's get to know our peeps.

Jeric is studying film and television at NYU and is on the production crew for his school's Mr. Philippines, a male pageant competition. Mayim wants to know if there's a swimsuit competition. Sorry, Mayim. No cheesecake.

Raymond majors in geospatial science at Kennesaw State and has a collection of rubber ducks. This, as we know, can become an obsession.

Lucy is studying health analytics and, in her spare time, teaches Hebrew school to first graders. One student pointed out that Zoom doesn't mask Lucy's frizzy hair. What's the Hebrew word for "frizzy?"

Back to the game. For Double Jeopardy! we have the following:

  • Chapters In The Novel
  • Add/Drop (responses must occur within two weeks)
  • Island Folk
  • National Parks
  • That Film Is Fire (such as "Backdraft")
  • I Do Declare

Lucy once again shoves us off, this time with Novel. Answers aren't forthcoming. Time to close the book on this chapter.

Raymond shifts to Parks, nails a couple of clues, and abruptly leaves the category for Island.

To no one's surprise, Jeric pivots to Film at his first opportunity. But all prove equal to the task. Three film buffs!

Raymond ventures into Add/Drop and lands the round's first Daily Double. His total has swelled to $16,600, giving him a commanding lead. He loses $2,000 on "What is sedition and edition?" No addition to his score!

He follows that up by snaring the second Daily Double, in Island. No fair, Ray! He's now at $15,400 and ups his ante with $5,000. He correctly answers "What is Komodo?" (like the dragon).

I Do Declare, Raymond is running away with this contest.

Jeric secures the final clue with "What is Filipino?" breathes a sigh of relief and bursts into laughter, as does the audience. "We're all glad you got it right," says Mayim. Jeric would've lost his spot on the pageant crew.

His response brings him to $7,400, a respectable total given his slow start. But he trails Lucy, who has $8,000, and Raymond who has...$25,200! Nobody loves Raymond!

Our Final Jeopardy! category is Physicists: "A 1927 principle by this Nobel Prize winner says that some knowledge is inaccessible."

While we wait, we're serenaded by the middle school march.

Jeric answers "Who is Heisenberg?" (Say my name!) That's correct! He adds $601 to his total, bringing him to $8,001.

Lucy writes "Who is Schr Heisenberg?" and doubles her total to $16,000. Alas, it's probably not enough unless Raymond did something really silly.

Nope. He gets Heisenberg too, adds $821 and finishes with $26,201. Raymond's our newest semifinalist! Ducky!

Jeric and Lucy each depart with $10,000, the complete set of "Breaking Bad" DVDs, and three cans of squid.

Stay tuned to see who becomes our next semifinalist!

Quarterfinal Game 10

Who among these fierce competitors will join Raymond in the semis?

  • Sebastian Torres, a junior at Yale University (Some say Yale's secret society Skull and Bones owns the skull of Geronimo, but believing that urban legend requires a leap of faith.)
  • Anna Muthalaly, a junior at Duke University (Basketball fans known as "Cameron Crazies" have camped out in "Krzyzewskiville" for upwards of a week for the opportunity to shout obscenities at their rivals.)
  • Kristin Donegan, a senior at Carnegie Mellon University (A fence on campus was considered the "world's most painted object" until Kylie Jenner came along.)

Our Jeopardy! round categories are:

  • I Brain Radio (not "heart")
  • We've Got The Receipts (including a CVS seven-footer)
  • TV Character Analysis
  • Language Lab (talking dogs)
  • Our Government
  • Video clues about cooking with chef David Chang

Sebastian kicks us off with TV. Anna is doing well in the category and for some reason keeps her arms folded like she's hugging the clicker.

Sebastian finishes the category with "Eleven...what is Eleven...who is Eleven?" I think he said "eleven" 11 times.

David Chang likes cooking with ramen noodles. A college delicacy!

Kristin offers her response before Mayim even calls her name. Easy there, Kris!

Nobody gets "What is Manhattan?" in Receipts. (It's an inferior clam chowder.)

Sebastian thinks "aloha" means "thank you" in Hawaiian. It actually translates into 467 words, and phrases but, alas, "thank you" isn't among them. He apologizes for his error. It's actually "mahalo."

In Receipts, Sebastian perfunctorily posits "What is the Louisiana Purchase?" which is the only major land purchase people remember. Similarly, every vice president category has to reference Spiro Agnew.

Mayim tells us James Watson, the DNA dude, didn't know Shakespeare or the Bible very well. Thanks for that nugget.

Mulling this over, Kristin nabs the round's Daily Double, in Radio. She leads with $2,400 (they're not exactly tearing up this round) and makes it a true Daily Double! She nails it with "What is neuroscience?" That's using your brain, Kris!

David's chopping scallions, which can regrow. He also likes nuking potatoes. Anna mispronounces "umami" and drops to $-200.

She does, however, finish the round in positive figures, with $400, but trails Kristin, who has $6,400, and Sebastian, who has $3,800.

Let's cozy up to our contestants.

Kristin is majoring in biological sciences at Carnegie Mellon and is part of a "band without pants." The school's marching band wears kilts to honor the founder, Scottish-born Andrew Carnegie. Mellon was from the Bikini Atoll.

Anna is studying public policy at Duke. She gives a shout-out to her high school Quiz Bowl coach, which causes her to wave and, just momentarily, uncross her arms.

Sebastian is studying ethics, politics, and economics. He and his roommates ("the gang") are obsessed with the show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Should've gone to Penn, Sebastian!

In our Double Jeopardy! round we have these categories:

  • Spot-ify
  • Classic Novels
  • On The "Ma"p (responses start with "ma")
  • 10-Letter Words (should be dizzyingly fun)
  • Game Time
  • Anatomy (no guts, no glory!)

Arms folded once again, Anna starts us off with Novels. And she lands a Daily Double right off the bat! She has $400 but can wager up to $2,000, which she does and loses on "What is 'The Age of Innocence'"?

Mayim makes a joke about people without a pulse. Deadpan humor!

Anna misses "What is Macau?" and drops to $-2,800. Her Quiz Bowl coach grimaces.

As if she needs it, Kristin grabs the second Daily Double, in Map. She has a sizable lead, with $12,000, and bets $2,000, which she loses on "What is the Mackenzie River?" But she adds it right back with "What is the Strait of Malacca?"

We learn the company Zinga is named for the CEO's dog. So is Spot-ify.

In 10-Letter, Anna guesses "What is a fallacy...what is fll...nat...fll...?" and drops to $-3,600. It's "fallacious." In that same category, Sebastian offers "What is dead?" Needing six more letters, he's dead wrong.

In Spot-ify (all responses include "spot"), Anna gets "What is owl?" but, pressed to be more specific, replies "What is a horned owl?" Kristin adds "What is a barn owl?" (S..p..o..t....) Sebastian gets it, to the amusement of the baffled audience.

Kristin rounds out the round with "What is a biographer?" in 10-Letter and now leads with $15,200. Sebastian has $10,200, while Anna has $-2,000, so she won't be joining us for Final Jeopardy!

Speaking of which, our category is Recent Biographies: "A 2021 book about his 'misunderstood reign' argues that he hated slavery & actually suffered from bipolar disorder."

Sebastian offers "Who is Lee?" Not correct. He loses $10,000 and finishes with $200.

Kristin writes "Who is Andrew Jacks.?" Mayim guesses that means Andrew Jackson, which is also incorrect. The correct response is "Who is George III?" Kristin looks bumfuzzled. Did she bet too much? No! Only $5,201, leaving her with $9,999 and making her our newest semifinalist!

Anna and Sebastian each take home $1 more than that, along with a stuffed owl, nine pounds of scallions, and grocery receipts once owned by Spiro Agnew.

Who'll join the semifinal fray next time? Check back soon to find out!

Friday, Feb. 11

Quarterfinal Game 7

We've arrived at the final show of week 1. It's been a doozy so far!

Mayim tells us the schools represented in the Jeopardy! National College Tournament range in size from fewer than 1,000 (Caltech) to more than 40,000 (U. of Texas). Let's go Deep Springs College (enrollment under 30) and University of Phoenix (more than 165,000)!

Three of those students are set to face off:

  • Jess Agyepong, a senior at Howard University (DYK: Its original name was "Howard Normal and Technical School for Education of Teachers and Preachers," but it wouldn't fit on a koozie.)
  • Liz Feltner, a senior at Northeastern University (The university's first mascot, King Husky, hailed from "an ice-covered igloo in faraway Nome," Alaska.)
  • Kaden Lee, a junior at the University of Washington (The "wave" began at UW, but it's original name, "spontaneous synchronized calisthenics," never caught on.)

Here are our categories for the Jeopardy! round:

  • Commencement (a tad early, folks)
  • 2 Words To Complete The Phrase
  • The 1920s
  • All Sorts Of Books (paperback, hardcover, audio...)
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Famous Aquarians (like Aquaman?)

Jess gets us going with 1920s for $1,000 and nails the first clue with "What is the Lost Generation?" She then chooses Books for $1,000 and Activities for $1,000. Pedal to the metal, Jess!

Too bad nobody is offering the correct responses.

And now Aquarians for $1,000. Jess aces "Who is Questlove?" before landing the round's Daily Double. She has $4,800, while Liz and Kaden each have zero. She wants to make it a true Daily Double! Jess is going for the jugular! But, alas, she misses "What is Project Mercury?" and we start all over again with zeroes across the board. That was fun!

We finally hear from Liz, who chimes in with "What is a sprinkler?"

Jess sure knows her Aquarians!

Kaden finishes the Two Words clue with "I conquered." Maybe, Kaden, but you just had zero, so pump those brakes. Kaden then fails to chime in on a clue about Washington apples, causing great shame to reverberate across the Evergreen State.

Jess fumbles her way through a response about "Who is Michael Jordan?" that also references the other Michael Jordan. Imagine being that famous and still having to explain which one you are.

Kaden secures "What is make lemonade?" in Two Words. They prefer lemons over apples.

Jess finishes the round with "What is a marathon?" For the winner of this tournament, it sure will be! She extends her lead to $4,600 (oh, but for that missed DD!), while Liz has $2,400 and Kaden trails with $1,000.

Let's cozy up to our contestants a bit.

Kaden is majoring in aeronautical and astronautical engineering at UW. Their college entrance essay deconstructed the play "Hamilton" the way you'd deconstruct an airplane. Their guidance counselor said it wouldn't fly.

Liz is studying political science and business administration at Northeastern. She's a campus tour guide and has been "tour bombed" by the university president and the Husky mascot, neither of whom she could see coming while walking backward.

Jess, a biology major at Howard, is an HBCU Quiz Bowl champion. Jeopardy! must seem like junior varsity by comparison.

In Double Jeopardy! we have these categories:

  • On The Map
  • Notable African Americans
  • Double Letters Within (like "letters")
  • Horror Films
  • Doctor
  • W.H.O. (World Health Organization—not Doctor W.H.O.)

Kaden starts us off with Map and gets "What is Kazakhstan?"

In Double Letters, nobody gets "What is bittersweet?" which, for some reason, amuses Mayim and the audience. "What are goggles?" however, isn't quite as humorous.

In Doctor, our students run through every book Steinbeck ever wrote yet fail to mention the correct response, "What is Cannery Row?"

Undaunted, Jess sticks with Doctor and lands the round's first Daily Double. She's built back her war chest and leads with $9,400. Let's see if she bets it all again! She waves that off and wagers $3,000 but misses "What is 'The Plague'?" She's plagued by Daily Doubles!

Kaden flubs a response in Doctor and sinks to -$200. Not a good prescription for winning. But they're doing well in WHO, including "Who is Asclepius?" and quickly climb to $3,800.

Continuing their momentum, Kaden lands the second Daily Double, in Map. They're still in third place with $4,600 and wager $1,600, which they lose with "What is...?"

Kaden follows that up with an incorrect "What is Dublin?" before choosing Double Letters for $400, which they miss. Stay away from doubles, Kaden!

Liz gets "What is 'The Shining'?" and catches Jess for the lead! Her shining moment! The two finish the round tied for first with $8,400, followed by Kaden with $3,400. Final Jeopardy! will be a slobberknocker!

Our category is Word Origins: "In 1793 a French clergyman called the destruction of libraries & sculptures this, using the name of a 5th century tribe."

Kaden writes "What is vandalism?" Correct! They add zero to their score.

Liz also gets vandalism correct and bets everything! A true Daily Double (of sorts)! She has $16,800.

Did Jess take the same tack? Will we have sudden-death overtime? Who'll win the coin toss?

No! She writes "What is Gaulic?" Or was it garlic? Either way, it's wrong. She, too, bet it all and ends with zero.

Liz advances to the semis! She's giddy.

Jess and Kaden each leave with $10,000, the complete works of John Steinbeck, and a sprinkler.

Read on to see who will join Liz in the next round.

Quarterfinal Game 8

We're still dabbing our brows after that last match. Will the nightcap be as fun? Let's find out!

Our three contestants are:

  • Jaskaran Singh, a senior at the University of Texas (The original UT mascot wasn't a longhorn bull but a pit bulldog named Pig.)
  • Max Niles, a senior at Brown University (Brown students celebrate Carberry Day, named for the fictitious Josiah Carberry, professor of psychoceramics—the study of cracked pots.)
  • Sarah Salisbury, a sophomore at the University of Southern California (Alumnus Will Ferrell delivered the 2017 Commencement speech in full Elf regalia.)

For our Jeopardy! round we have these categories:

  • U.S. Cities
  • Special Days (any day with Jeopardy! is special)
  • TV, Streamed (take that, cable)
  • Fancified Proverbs
  • Marx
  • Angles (not Engles)

On your Marx...get set...Jaskaran starts us off in that category. Sarah thinks Marx's father was a priest, which probably would've resulted in no Karl.

Jaskaran quickly nabs the round's Daily Double, in Cities. He's in the lead with $2,200 but loses $1,500 by missing "What is Reading?" (like the Monopoly railroad).

After missing "What is 'Mythic Quest'?" in TV, Max drops to -$1,000, tying Sarah's ignominious score. Meanwhile, Jaskaran has rebounded from his Daily Double mishap and has opened a significant lead.

Sarah answers a California clue correctly and is back in positive figures.

These Fancified Proverbs are a hoot. "Inquisitiveness eliminated snowbell" becomes "Curiosity killed the cat." Snowbell?

Mayim, on orthodontics: "You either love them or you hate them." Nobody loves them.

Sadly, none of the clues in Angle feature Kurt Angle.

Jaskaran finished the round with "What is Yoda?" which, to be accurate, should be "Yoda, what is?" He has the lead with $6,300, followed by Sarah with $3,000 and Max with -$400.

Let's lean in on our learners.

Sarah is studying English at USC, which means she hasn't traveled far to participate on Jeopardy! (it's taped in L.A.). She gets creative with titles on writing assignments. One was "Stab, Stab, Kiss, Kiss," which inspired an epic scene in "Game of Thrones."

Max is studying history and public policy at Brown. He helps run the Ivy Film Festival, which features student films. They're optioning "Stab, Stab, Kiss, Kiss."

Jaskaran majors in finance and economics at Texas and worked as a delivery driver for restaurants during COVID. He says he got bad tips. Here's a tip: work-study.

On to Double Jeopardy! for which we have the following:

  • In Their Expert Opinion
  • Plays & Playwrights
  • Triple Rhyme Time (Buttrey, we see thee)
  • Time For Law School
  • Or Take The "M" Cats (like the MCAT-clever!)
  • Video clues with DJ Mark Ronson

Max opens with Plays and—voila!—gets the first Daily Double. He has -$400 but can wager up to $2,000. Bet the max, Max! Nope, only $1,000, which he loses on "What is 'Six Characters in Search of an Author'?" Max is in search of positive figures.

He gets there with "Who is Socrates...uh, the Socratic method...What is the Socratic method?" in Law School. By the time he finishes, he's a 2L.

Nobody gets "What is spam?" Monty Python fans around the world chant in unison.

Jaskaran nabs the second Daily Double, in Expert. He has a whopping lead, with $13,500, and adds $2,000 with "What is 'On the Origin of Species'?" Jeopardy! certainly is a form of game-show Darwinism.

We finally arrive at Rhyme Time, and Sam Buttrey is levitating. The category gives us ear candy such as "seven eleven heaven" and "third bird heard." Sarah's had enough and heads to Cats. Buttrey is vexed.

Sensing Buttrey's angst, Sarah returns to Rhyme and gets "What is a freed Swede steed?" A Norse horse, of course, notes Buttrey.

Mayim doesn't like pronouncing "certiorari."

They've saved Ronson for the end. We started with Marx and finish with Mark. Sarah completes the round with "What is 'Shallow'?" bringing her total to $9,000. She trails Jaskaran, who has $19,900. Max has $6,600. This one should be over.

For Final Jeopardy! our clue is in European Geography: "This country, the largest in area entirely within Europe, borders the largest country in the world."

Max offers "What is Poland?" Nope. He loses everything (as has Poland so often).

Sarah writes "What is Ukraine?" Correct! She doubles her total, ending with $18,000.

But if Jaskaran bet nothing, he'll stay at $19,900. Ah, it doesn't matter because he also gets Ukraine. And, of course, he bet zero. Smart man! Try out for Jeopardy!

Jaskaran joins Liz as today's winners and newest semifinalists!

Max and Sarah each leave with $10,000, a bust of Socrates, and four cases of spam.

That's a wrap on week 1. Will next week offer as much excitement and intrigue? Stay tuned to find out!

Thursday, Feb. 10

Quarterfinal Game 5

Mayim welcomes us and notes that colleges have won thousands of NCAA championships but none has even won the title of Jeopardy National College Champion. Nor have they, until very recently, cared.

Will one of these students bring home that coveted crown?

  • Pauline Bisaccio, a junior at Clemson University (DYK: Clemson has eight airplane statues on campus but no aviation major.)
  • Chance Persons, a sophomore at Creighton University (Ancestors of Creighton's Billy Bluejay mascot were "insipid-looking creatures pictured perched on dead branches or in dusty trophy cases.")
  • Neha Seshadri, a senior at Harvard University (The famous John Harvard statue isn't actually of John Harvard but a random student who some believe is Mark Zuckerberg.)

For our Jeopardy! round categories, we have the following:

  • You'll Have Peaks & Valleys
  • Pass/Fail (not an option here!)
  • Game Show Hosts (hoping for a Mayim shout-out)
  • Medical Specialties
  • Before & After
  • Video clues with Topher Grace of "Home Economics"

Pauline gets us going with Medical for $1,000, which Neha claims with "What is gastroenterology?" Neha then grabs the Daily Double in the category. She has $1,800 and, tearing a page out of Riverboat Mitch Macek's book, says, "I've always wanted to say this: Let's make it a true Daily Double." It didn't work out so well for Mitch, but Neha nails "What is an allergist?"

Let's hear from Topher in Home Economics, whose clue leads to "What is Dogecoin?" (No, really, what is that?)

In Pass/Fail, nobody gets "What is a bomb?" referring to a long football pass. Another long evening without sports aficionados?

Pauline misses in Peaks and drops to -$1,600. And another flub in Before & After leaves her at -$2,600. She's deep in the valley of despair.

In Game Show, Chance gets "Who is Dwayne Wade?" so there's hope for sports fans after all.

Nobody gets "What is failsafe?" in Pass/Fail. Don't these overachievers know anything about failing?

And they all miss "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" (Win this tourney and you'll be a quarter of the way there!)

Before & After is a fun category (where's Sam Buttrey when you need him?) We have responses like "What is mic drop in the bucket?" and "Who is Alexander the Great Dane?"

Topher offers us a clue about college savings plans, as in "What is a 529?" Talk about a drop in the bucket!

At the end of the Jeopardy! round, Chance and Neha are tied with $4,200, and Pauline trails with -$2,600. Pauline is in peril!

Let's learn more about our learners.

Neha is majoring in economics at Harvard and, somehow, keeps "accidentally" running into NBA basketball players, including Charles Barkley. Sounds like a tall tale.

Chance is studying physics and chemistry at Creighton and is an accomplished singer, though Mayim doesn't coax him into serenading us with his dulcet tones.

Pauline majors in biochemistry and psychology at Clemson and is president of her university's Academic Team, which, for some unknown reason, has failed to achieve the fame of the school's football program.

We move on to Double Jeopardy! where we have these categories:

  • This Party Is Lit
  • U.S. Stamps (who still uses stamps?)
  • Celebrities
  • Opera
  • Historic Pairs (like the Bartlets)
  • After & Before (we sense trickeration!)

Pauline starts us off and goes right for the $2,000 clue in Celebrities and gets "Who is Freddie Highmore?" She then tries Lit for $2,000, attempting to quickly dig out of the hole.

Chance gets the first Daily Double, in Lit. Chance it all, Chance! Fat chance. He's in second place with $5,000 and loses $2,000 by missing "Who is Tim Finnegan?"

Neha thinks philandering is a "hobby." (Numismatics is safer.)

They do not like Opera. But Pauline chimes in with "Who is Faust?" and finally gets into positive figures.

And she gets the second Daily Double, in Pairs. She's clawed her way to $1,800 and wagers $1,000. She says, "Where is Slovakia?" (it's in Central Europe) not "what," but is credited with the correct response.

In Stamps, Chance gets "What is 'The Day of the Dead'?" and, impressively, says it in Spanish.

Neha nabs "What is Lexington and Concord?" which she should know given that they neighbor Cambridge.

Pauline is scratching and clawing her way back into contention, and her excitement gets the better of her when she blurts out "Post!" without the "What is?" For shame!

Chance completes the round with "What is a corsage?" in Stamps and finishes with $7,400. Neha holds the lead with $8,600 and Pauline, to her credit, has amassed $5,600.

In Final Jeopardy! our category is World Geography: "About 200 miles of the Tyrrhenian Sea separates the cities of Cagliari & Trapani in these 2 'regioni autonome' of Italy."

While we wait, we're once again treated to a version of the Jeopardy! theme that sounds like it's played by a middle-school band.

Pauline offers "What are Sardinia + Sicily Sicily?" Yes! She looks shocked. Good thing she changed her mind mid-course! She bets $3,001 and now has $8,601.

Chance posits "What {some alien-like symbol} is Sao Tome and Principe?" He bets it all and drops to zero.

Neha also gets Sicily and Sardinia correct, adding $6,201 to her total, which now stands at $14,801. Fight fiercely, Harvard! We'll see Neha again in the semis.

Pauline and Chance each depart with $10,000, the board game of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and a book of stamps.

Who will join Neha later this evening? Stay tuned to find out!

Quarterfinal Game 6

Will our second matchup of the evening provide as much drama?

Battling it out are:

  • Lauren Rodriguez, a senior at Pomona College (On "ski-beach" day, Pomona students ski in the morning wearing swimsuits and sunbathe in the afternoon in parkas.)
  • Matt Downing, a senior at the University of Notre Dame (DYK: Before making his famous sack, Rudy was actually lined up offside.)
  • Elijah Odunade, a junior at University of Georgia (In the 1950s, the university had a Bulldog mascot named "Stinky.")

West Coast, East Coast, and smack dab in the middle.

For our Jeopardy! round, we have these categories:

  • Time To Hit The Library (no rest for the weary!)
  • Female Authors
  • The 1990s (I'm about to feel old)
  • Grammy's Album Of The Year
  • "PU" (Purdue? Princeton? Olfactory issues?)
  • What's That Smell? (I sense a pattern)

Lauren nosedives into PU (all responses begin with those letters) and gets "What are Punitive?"

Matt pivots to Grammys. "Come on—who's Beck?" laughs Mayim. That's exactly their question. But they know Bruno Mars and Billie Eilish!

Elijah takes the time machine waaaay back to the 1990s. We're reminded of Waco and "The Rachel."

Lauren nabs the round's Daily Double, in Authors. She holds the lead with $4,000 but loses $1,500 with "What are the...I don't know." Lauren is honest if nothing else.

In Library, nobody gets "What is Interlibrary Loan?" Uh, everything's digital these days! Duh!

We're reminded that durian smells like stinky feet.

Lauren gets a clue about the La Brea Tar Pits in L.A. Not fair! Mayim says it was one of her favorite places to go as a child. That's...peculiar.

Fittingly, Elijah gets "What is a Bulldog?" to complete the round. They wouldn't have let him back on campus otherwise.

At the break, Lauren has $7,300, Elijah has $1,400, and Matt has $1,000. The boys have some catching up to do!

Time for the "getting to know you" segment.

Elijah is majoring in political science at Georgia and became a comic book fan after taking a comics course in college. Now that would be a cool major.

Matt is studying marketing and applied mathematics at Notre Dame and runs Camp Kesem on campus, a summer camp for kids whose parents have cancer. A much worthier endeavor than painting gold helmets.

Lauren studies public policy and sociology at Pomona (where Mayim's cousin went!), which is part of a "weird community" of several nearby colleges. Not exactly how the admissions brochure describes it.

Back to the competition. For the Double Jeopardy! round, we have these topics:

  • Here's The Thing
  • World Capitals
  • Famous Paintings
  • Comedians' Roles (funny you should ask)
  • Medieval Life
  • 4 Letters, 3 Vowels (2 turtledoves)

Matt picks Capitals, nails "What is Buenos Aires?" and follows up in that category with the first Daily Double. He's in second, with $1,400, and makes it a true Daily Double! But it's a soul-crushing defeat when he misses "What is Seoul?" Is Matt finished?

Lauren sure knows her 4 letters and 3 vowels! She's running the table and now has $12,900. Elijah, in second, has $600. Ooof. "You liked that category, Lauren," Mayim concludes.

On what other show might you hear "Itchy my tunic be"? (Whoever invented the wool tunic was a sadist.)

Lauren evidently brushed up on Paintings and, as if she needs it, lands the second Daily Double in that category. She has $16,500 (roughly $16,500 more than Matt). Mayim calls it a "significant lead." She loses $1,000 on "What in Nighthawks?" and isn't fazed.

We're treated to a shot of a kitten in a terra cotta planter. Just because.

Mayim tells us "cupping," the vacuuming of "vicious humors" through the skin, is becoming popular again. Let's hope not.

The last clue suggests a lava lamp will "look great in a dorm room." So will a disco ball and bead curtains.

At the end of Double Jeopardy! Lauren has $20,300, Elijah has $3,800, and Matt has -$1,200. That means Matt won't be competing in Final Jeopardy! (Neither will Elijah, really.)

Speaking of which, our category is Poetry: "It contains the line 'whereat in either hand the hastening angel caught our lingering parents, & to the eastern gate led them direct.'"

Elijah writes "What is Paradise Lost?" Correct! He wagers zero at stays at $3,800.

Lauren guesses "What is The Wasteland?" and also bets zero. So this was essentially a waste of time. At least we got to hear the tuba troubadours while we waited.

Matt comes back on stage and learns he and Elijah have earned $10,000 for their efforts, along with wool tunics and tickets to the matinee show at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Who will join Neha and Lauren in the semis? Tune in next time to find out!

Wednesday, Feb. 9

Quarterfinal Game 3

Here we go with Day 2 of our National College Championship! Who will join Isaac Applebaum of Stanford and Stephen Privat of LSU in the semifinals? Let's find out!

These three super students will battle it out in tonight's first quarterfinal game:

  • Toussaint Pegues, a senior at California Institute of Technology (DYK: Caltech was named Throop University until it came to its senses.)
  • Emmey Harris, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota (The university is connected by a series of underground tunnels—hence the nickname "Gophers.")
  • Mehek Boparai, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn was the first school to put numbers on football jerseys. Before that, refs would point and say, "Holding...that guy!")

Mayim says more than 750,000 students attend the colleges represented by the 36 contestants. That's probably good for ratings.

For our Jeopardy! round, we have these categories:

  • Winter (Emmey should ace this one)
  • World Geography (narrowing things down)
  • Apps & Websites
  • Who's Up For Some Seafood? (I'd choose this for shellfish reasons)
  • College Sports Dynasties
  • Encyclopedia Words (all responses are made up of letters found in "encyclopedia"—that would be most words)

Toussaint goes straight for Encyclopedia and nabs "What is pencil?" (Let's see...p-check...e....)

These digital natives sure know their Apps & Websites! But don't ask them to identify a potbelly stove.

Mehek doesn't like Encyclopedia. "Glad we're done with that," she quips.

In Winter, Emmey gets "What is Iriquois?" for $1,000 and gets back into positive figures.

Now she's on a roll with Geography and has vaulted into the lead. She lands the Daily Double in that category and wagers $2,000. With a correct "What is Hong Kong?" response, she's now at $5,600. What a comeback!

They can't crab about the Seafood category. Toussaint rounds it out with "What is Trout?" (He plays for the Angels.)

Speaking of which, we've left sports until the end. Toussaint sighs, reluctantly choosing the $200 option. No sports fans in this bunch! They don't know Mia Hamm?!? All of them simply laugh during the awkward silence following each clue.

But Emmey saves face for the group with "What is Wrestling?" and ends the Jeopardy! round in the lead with $7,400. Toussaint has $2,600, and Mehek trails with $2,200.

Let's get to know our non-sporting combatants a bit better.

Majoring in English at Penn, Mehek is managing editor of 34th Street Magazine, Penn's arts and culture publication headquartered on 36th street (JK).

Emmey is a history major at Minnesota. She tells the story of a high school class trip to Paris on the day Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire. I trust you have an airtight alibi, young lady.

At Caltech, Toussaint is majoring in mechanical engineering, which runs in the family. His father and grandfather were aerospace engineers. To buck this trend, Toussaint intends to breed domestic sloths.

For Double Jeopardy! we have these topics:

  • On The Transcript.... (all A's!)
  • Buildings
  • Scientific Isms
  • Literary Name Droppers
  • Your Parents' Music (dear God, no!)
  • A Few Final Words (sounds ominous)

Mehek starts off with Name Droppers. The only thing dropping is the scores. Emmey saves the day with "What is Ozymandias?" and follows up with "Who is Bartleby?"

Emmey pivots to Music, to everyone's shock and awe. None of them know Public Enemy.

Mehek whiffs on "penultimate." They have a Pennultimate Frisbee team at Penn, for goodness' sake!

Nobody gets "What is a summation?" in Words. Back in my day, all English and History majors were pre-law.

Mehek redeems herself with "Who is Springsteen?" and "Who is Lauren Hill?" in Music. 34th Street to the rescue!

In Isms, Toussaint guesses "What is a seizure?" The correct response would be "What is a seizureism?" Actually, no.

Mehek secures the first Daily Double, in Transcript. She's in second place with $4,600 and wagers $3,000. Bold! But she whiffs on "Who is Joseph McCarthy?" I bet Emmey the history major would've nailed that.

Emmey gets "Who is Sting?" in Music, and Mayim adds, "His real name is Gordon Sumner," as if the two are buds.

In Isms, Mehek offers "What is photosyn...oh, no" after realizing she wasn't about to end with "ism." Emmey gets "What is phototropism?" She's running away with things now. It's a butt-kickingism! She adds "What is giantism?" as if to brag about her lead.

To add insultism to injury, Emmey nabs the final Daily Double. With $19,000, she has almost four times the second-highest total. Bet it all! Nah, just $2,000. And she gets it with "What is the Pentagon?"

At the end of Double Jeopardy! Emmey has an eye-watering $21,000, followed by Toussaint with $5,000 and Mehek with $1,200. Call this one a done-ism.

Our Final Jeopardy! category is USA: "In 2012, these two neighboring states celebrated the centennial of their admission to the union."

More low brass molasses music as our interlude.

Mehek offers: "What are {squiggly lines} {more squiggly lines}??? Close. She loses a buck, leaving her with $1,199.

Toussaint writes: "What are North and South Dakota?" Or so we think. It looks more like a seismograph reading. And it's wrong. He loses $4,999 and is left with $1.

Emmey guesses, "What are Washington and Oregon?" and is also wrong, but she really doesn't care. The correct response is "What are Arizona and New Mexico?" She bet zero. Her $21,000 wins the day and lands her in the semifinals! An Emmey semi!

Toussaint and Mehek each get $10,000 and the complete works of Public Enemy.

Who will join Emmey in the next round? We'll find out soon enough.

Quarterfinal Game 4

Will this match be more competitive? Let's hope!

Here are our three contestants:

  • Yejun Kim, a senior at Northwestern University (Alumnus David Schwimmer once performed at the university's Dolphin Show, which began as a fundraiser for swimmers.)
  • Mitch Macek, a sophomore at Villanova University (Singer Don McLean briefly attended the school as lonely teenage broncin' buck.)
  • Joey Kornman, a junior at Brandeis University (Seven buildings on campus are named "Shapiro," so be specific when asking for directions.)

And here are their pants:

For our Jeopardy! round, we have these categories:

  • The Elements
  • Approximate Weights & Measures
  • Getting Your Look Together
  • Orchestra Of The Whirled (musical anagrams!)
  • TV Shows To Binge (like, all of them)
  • Guillermo Rodriguez from Jimmy Kimmel Live! reads mean tweets about historical figures (honestly)

Yejun starts us off with The Elements and spaces on "What is Plutonium?" Joey nails "What is Potassium?" and quickly switches to Mean Tweets (who wouldn't?). How else might you encounter a clue calling Henry VIII a "selfish jackass"?

In Look, Yejun gets "What is Ulta?" and climbs out of negative figures.

Mitch grabs the round's Daily Double, in Elements. He's in second place with $800 and says, "I've always wanted to say this: Let's go all in, baby. True Daily Double." By that he means $1,000. My man Mitch! He nails it with "What is helium?" and is now tied for the lead.

In Weights, Joey asks: "What are bars?" As if you don't know, Joey (wink, wink).

We learn that Warby Parker, the glasses company, is named for two Jack Kerouac characters.

Mitch gets a Philly question correct ("What is Urban Outfitters?"), as he should.

I learn the shoe company Vans was born the same year I was. (I, however, wasn't born in a van.)

In Orchestra, "molar inch hip" becomes "philharmonic," and "coco lip" becomes "piccolo."

Guillermo flames Magellan for getting killed halfway through his voyage and calls Napoleon a "moron." #WinterIsComing

Yejun rounds out the round with "What is Gossip Girls?" and finishes with a respectable $2,800. She trails Joey, who has $5,600, and Mitch, who has $4,600.

Let's dig into our students' psyches.

Joey is majoring in economic and classical studies at Brandeis and is big into vexillology, the study of flags (he missed the Fun With Flags category by one day). For no apparent reason, he loves the flag of Antigua.

Mitch is studying math at Villanova. He talks about an "iced tea feud" with his roommate, dubbed "teamageddon," and yet plans to room with him again next year.

Yejun is majoring in chemical engineering at Northwestern. Unlike Mitch, Yejun actually likes her roommate (at least they're not feuding), who also tried out for Jeopardy! (but, alas...).

For our Double Jeopardy! round, we have:

  • Prefixes
  • River City (any river, any city)
  • Art Appreciation
  • Little, Medium Or Big Dog On Campus
  • Billboard Year-End No. 1 Albums (wait, what are "albums"?)
  • Assigned Reading Math (come again?)

Yejun starts us off with Billboard and gets, "What is Frozen?" Cool beans!

Joey quickly switches to Prefixes and grabs the first Daily Double. He's in the lead with $6,400 and says, "I've always wanted to say this: $3,000." Back atcha, Mitch! It backfires, though, after "What is...?" proves incorrect. Mitch feels vindicated.

We get to Big Dog on Campus, finally. But it's about dogs, not campuses. Tricksters! Mitch and Joey gag on "What is a sheepdog?"

Yejun knows her music and gets, "Who is Taylor Swift?" "Swiftie," adds Mayim. She's a fan.

All of them miss "What is 'A Modest Proposal'?" even though most of the question appears in the answer. Get in my bellay!

Mayim's also a fan of miniature pinschers.

The Reading Math category needlessly conflates math with books. One clue says readers spend 62% more time on "all about sex" in a textbook about evolution. Mayim adds, "That's our rough estimate" with a wry grin.

Blushing, Joey nabs the last Daily Double, in Art. He's in second place with $7,800. But wait! The judges have ruled that his previous response in Prefixes could be considered correct, and his total suddenly swells by $4,000. He goes for $3,000 again and gets "Who is Dali?"

Yejun finishes strong and winds up with $6,000. Mitch has $8,600, and Joey has $16,400, not quite enough to consider this one over given Riverboat Mitch's predilections.

For Final Jeopardy! our category is 20th Century Leaders: "He's called ‘a flame of inspiration in freedom's darkest hour' in the proclamation making him an honorary U.S. citizen."

Yejun writes "Who is Churchill?" Yes! She bets zero and finishes with $6,000.

Mitch guesses "Who is Nelson Mandela?" and bets everything, natch. Go big or go home, Mitch! Or both!

Joey gets Churchill correct and adds $801 to his total, leaving him with $17,201. He's our newest semifinalist!

Mitch and Yejun each depart with $10,000, three gallons of iced tea, and a flag of Joey's choosing.

Check back tomorrow for another thrilling recap of quarterfinal mayhem.

Tuesday, Feb. 8

Quarterfinal Game 1

Aaaaaaand...we're off!

Let's meet the Class of '22:

About 26,000 students representing 4,000 colleges (are there really 4,000 colleges?) auditioned for these 36 coveted spots. It's harder than getting into an Ivy League school!

Our host, Mayim Bialik, welcomes tonight's first three quarterfinalists:

  • Isaac Applebaum, a junior at Stanford University (DYK: Stanford's mascot, "The Tree," changes annually but is perpetually ugly.)
  • Gus Guszkowski, a senior at Dartmouth College (Dartmouth students take the Polar Bear Plunge into icy waters during winter, which in New Hampshire lasts until June.)
  • Catherine Zhang, a senior at Cornell University (If you love chicken nuggets, you can thank Cornell, where they were invented.)

We have these categories in the Jeopardy! round:

  • Bio 101 (remember your first year?)
  • Parts of the Franchise
  • Bible Books
  • Get a Job! (why else are they in college?)
  • That's Quite a Dorm Room (these upperclassmen are probably living off campus)
  • These Words Are Younger Than You Are (recent additions to the Oxford English Dictionary)

Isaac starts us off with Bible Books for $800 and lands "Who is Solomon?" He's wise beyond his years.

Gus goes straight for Words for $1,000 and nails "What is Bucket List?" Isaac follows up with "What is Mansplaining?" and bears the look of someone guilty of that heinous crime.

He then gets "Who is Harvey Milk?" (a San Francisco reference—not fair!) before nabbing the first Daily Double, in Bible Books. He's tied with Gus for the lead, with $4,400, and adds $1,600 with "What are Epistles?"

Catherine has yet to chime in. Somebody please make sure her buzzer's in working order.

No one watches the Resident Evil franchise, evidently.

But Isaac sure knows what a selfie stick is. "A very important item," quips Mayim. The audience laughs. Isaac, ever stoic, is not amused.

Catherine finally leaps into the fray, nailing "What is a curator?" in Jobs.

This Dorm Room category is weird. "What is the Berlin Wall?" was the last question. Huh?

Catherine chimes in incorrectly with "What is Calvin and Hobbes?" in Franchise and loses her hard-won $600. Nobody gets "What is the Fast and the Furious?" or "What is Grand Theft Auto?" No cars on campus!

We all learn that a peruker makes wigs.

Wait...nobody gets "What is Domino's Pizza?" And you call yourselves college students!

At the end of the Jeopardy! round, Isaac leads with $8,800, followed by Gus with $6,400 and Catherine with zero. Come on, Cath!

Let's get to know our students a bit more. Catherine, majoring in computer science and sociology at Cornell, talks about her trip to Tibet, where she consumed yak milk, yak tea, and yak yogurt. I think I'd yak. Mayim asks, "It wasn't yakky?" Ha!

Gus is majoring in classics at Dartmouth. During the pandemic, they performed "loose adaptations" of Shakespeare plays over Zoom on a Mac(beth).

Isaac's majoring in computational biology at Stanford and wants to be an oncologist. He tells a poignant story about his mom but goes on a bit long. By the time he finishes, he's in medical school.

For the Double Jeopardy! round we have these categories:

  • Bio 201 (sophomores now)
  • Poets & Poetry
  • Social Media Stars (oxymoron alert!)
  • Floral Geography
  • "Kn"owledge (each response starts with "Kn" in case you didn't know)
  • Dean's List (assumed with this bunch)

Catherine starts us off with Social Media. Isaac gets "Who is The Rock?" and, not surprisingly, quickly pivots to Bio for $1,200, which happens to be a Daily Double! He's in the lead with $9,200 and bets $1,800. Isaac likes round numbers. He correctly guesses "What is Anthrax?"

Gus jumps to the $2,000 "Kn"owledge clue and gets "What is Knell?" They follow up with "What is Knolls?" and "What is the Know-Nothing Party?" Catherine, stuck on zero, evidently is throwing her own such soiree. Ouch! Not fair.

Isaac gets "What is Knave?" and, shockingly, returns to Bio, completing the category with "What are Ants?" and retaking the lead.

Our Gen Zers sure know their Social Media Stars, but they're not up with Poets.

Gus jumps to Floral and nabs the final Daily Double. They're in the lead with $16,000 but loses $2,000 with "I have absolutely no clue."

Back to cleaning up in Social Media ("Who are people basking in their 15 minutes of fame?" I digress....)

Finally we get to the Dean's List! It's about people named Dean. A real Deans list!

Somehow Gus, a New Englander pro tem, doesn't get "What is Maine?"

Catherine completes the round with "Who is [Lewis] Carol?" (not a social media star) and finishes with a respectable $5,600. She trails Gus, who has $16,800, and Isaac, who has $13,800. Still anyone's game!

Our Final Jeopardy! category is American History: "One theory says Charles T. Torrey, a worker on this, coined its name, which appeared in The Liberator on October 14, 1842."

While we wait, we're treated to the new low brass version of the Jeopardy theme. It's rather lugubrious.

Catherine guesses "What is the Trr?" Had she completed "What is the Transcontinental Railroad," she'd still be wrong. She loses $400 and drops to $5,200.

Isaac posits "What is the Underground Railroad?" Correct! He wagers $2,601 (not a round number) and vaults to $16,401.

Gus is shaking their head. That can't be good. They lose $10,801 on "What is the Trans Con?" leaving them with $5,999.

That means Isaac is our first quarterfinal champ! He finally smiles! Gus and Catherine each depart with $10,000, enough to cover books for a semester. We'll see Isaac again in the semis.

Quarterfinal Game 2

This second quarterfinal match features two tigers and an owl:

  • Ella Feiner, a senior at Princeton University (The word "campus," Latin for "place where debt is accrued," originated at Princeton.)
  • Jasmine Manansala, a junior at Rice University (If you run your finger down Rice's "Frog Wall," it makes croaking sounds.)
  • Stephen Privat, a junior at Louisiana State University (French majors at LSU can study Cajun language and culture. Geaux figure.)

We begin with our Jeopardy! round categories:

  • An "A" In Math (obvi)
  • More Than One Meaning
  • Pier 5
  • Skip Class (not that any of them do!)
  • The Movie's Cast
  • Video clues from the podcast "Stuff You Should Know"

Ella goes right for Math and immediately lands the Daily Double! What are the odds? (Actually, it's 1 in 30. Math.) She has zero, of course, but can wager up to $1,000, which she does and correctly guesses "What is the apex?"

Jasmine rounds out Math with "What is the Average?" These students certainly aren't! She then gets "What is Current?" in Meaning and is currently in the lead.

In Skip, Jasmine guesses "What is peanut butter?" (Skippy, of course), to which Mayim replies, "An extremely important food." Jasmine counters, "I'm allergic." Awkward!

Stephen gets "What are gills?" in Skip, climbing to $-200.

In The Movie's Cast, Ella guesses "What is Groundhog Day?" to an answer that includes Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver. The correct question is, of course, "What is Ghostbusters?" Gen Xers everywhere facepalm.

Stephen gets "What is curling?" in Skip and slides into second place.

They've saved Pier until the end but must now endure the inevitable Pier pressure.

At the conclusion of the Jeopardy! round, Jasmine and Stephen are tied at $4,600, while Ella has $2,400.

After the break, we get to know our students a bit better. Stephen majors in political science at LSU. He spent time as a salmon fisherman in Alaska on his brother's boat. Mayim says his story "sounds a little fishy."

Jasmine, majoring in computer science and cognitive science, explains that birthday boys and girls at Rice get tossed into a fountain on campus. Mayim asks if there are salmon in this particular fountain. Jasmine: "I'm also allergic to that." Awkward!

Ella, a chemical and biological engineering major, founded the Jeopardy! club at Princeton. Mayim says she wins for "best fan." Maybe a consolation prize?

We have these categories for Double Jeopardy!:

  • My Hero Of Academia (prized profs)
  • Shakespeare
  • Fun With Flags
  • DJs (not Double Jeopardy)
  • American History
  • Crossword Clues, From The Latin

Ella starts off with Crossword and gets "What is antebellum?"

Stephen quickly lands the first Daily Double, in Shakespeare. He holds the lead with $5,800 but loses $2,000 by missing "What is the Tempest?"

For his next clue, he grabs the second Daily Double, in Flags. What are the odds? (Not gonna try calculating this one.) He loses $1,500. Stephen's Daily Double disaster dumps him into last place.

But he rebounds with "Who is Elijah Wood?" in DJs and reclaims the lead.

Our heroes sure know their History. Stephen rounds out the category with "What is the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire?" and widens his lead.

Mayim does her best DJ Snake impression after nobody gets "Turn Down for What?"

And she's seen Marshmello perform live, in case you're curious.

At the end of Double Jeopardy!, Stephen has the lead with $14,300, followed by Jasmine with $6,200 and Ella with $5,600.

Our Final Jeopardy! category is Biological Etymology: "Dionaea, the genus of this plant, is a reference to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, the daughter of Dione."

And there's that tuba and trombone overture.

Ella guesses "What is rose?" Nope. She loses everything.

Jasmine writes "What is rose Venus flytrap?" Yes! She bets $6,199 and now has $12,399.

Stephen guesses "What is rose?" and loses...nothing! He finishes with $14,300 and becomes the second semifinalist! Geaux Stephen!

Jasmine and Ella each depart with $10,000 and a Venus flytrap.

Check back tomorrow to see who's joining Isaac and Stephen in the semis!