Nailed it. 

Final Jeopardy questions, two episodes in a row — and with no hesitation (meaning I didn’t panic in my usual dither and shout three different answers while the familiar melody played.)

This is a big deal in my nerd world, where nightly episodes of the iconic game show are recorded for subsequent binge-watching once or twice a week. 

Alas, there was to be a “flag on the play,” as I committed a personal foul for, what does the NFL call it, “excessive celebration?” 

When Stan questioned my obnoxious salute to myself by pointing out the college sweatshirts each contestant was wearing, the wind sort of left my overinflated sails.

True, I had just given two correct final Jeopardy answers — but in the College Tournament. 


For anyone interested, the questions and answers were: “Nicknamed ‘The Big Ditch,’ in 2014 this modern wonder celebrated its 100th anniversary.” (What is the Panama Canal?) and,

“A 1711 bill cleared the names of 22 people who were tried in this town, including Rebecca Nurse, Giles Corey & John Proctor.” (What is Salem?)

Considering it was the Spring Break College CHAMPIONSHIP, I’m still telling myself these kids were the cream of the college-aged crop. Take that, curler from Yale — I’m not kidding, although he didn’t win overall.

But I’ll admit, beating two trios of 19- and 22-year-olds isn’t nearly as gratifying as getting the same right answer as Jeopardy legends Ken Jennings or James Holzhauer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all the questions were a snap. There were still a few times I thought Alex Trebek was surely having a stroke, or fit of some sort, just saying words and making sounds that may or may not be words.

That’s always humiliating, when you don’t recognize any word in a question that doesn’t even sound like a real language, much less English. There are plenty of times I look at Stan and admit, “I don’t know what question he’s asking, much less the right answer.”

But I did have some good streaks during the recent College Tournament. Of course, the “Video Games” category brought that to an abrupt and silent halt for someone whose last video games were Paperboy and Super Mario Bros.

After more than two decades as a Jeopardy devotee, I must say I still have a few complaints as well as my own insecurities and I don’t think I’m alone. 

What’s the deal with “phrasing it in the form of a question.” Come on, that’s just stupid. It makes no sense. Just ask the question. 

I’ve also never tried out to be a real-life contestant, for a few reasons, but mainly because my trivia skills far outweigh my math skills, particularly word problems. I’m quite certain I’d be the first contestant in history to lose due to a math error when calculating my wager before the final challenge. I’d be the moron who loses, rather than wins, by one dollar. I’m fairly confident a curler from Yale wouldn’t have the same issue.

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. She's married to a saintly — and handy — fisherman, and has been stringing words together in Key West since 1998.