Game Nine Recap...  Mark Dawson

As I sit at my work desk, watching the opening segment of the 2003 Tournament of Champions finals, one thing comes to mind.... Man oh man oh man! Brian Weikle is ungodly fast on the buzzer! His timing is so good that there were many clues during the first round for which the lights indicating "buzzers active" never came on. You can't wait for the lights if there aren't any. I had to really crank it up a notch and put all of my concentration on ringing in instead of on the answer that I was going to give. I credit that, in part, to my gaffe on Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, along with a bit of uncertainty about the terminal "s" on her surname.

I had completely forgotten how good this game was, or how frustrated I would be at Brian for chewing through invertebrates, a category I expected to do well on, as Eric must have been frustrated at me for beating him to the rum. (I was a bartender for 3 years and often thought that the Bacardi logo would make a good clue.)

I scored some quality points, but I cannot claim any responses even close to the difficulty of Eric's Bloomsbury author and Brian's pre-Amundsen Norse explorer. I was blown away. For one or both of those clues, the writers actual had bets that they would be triple stumpers.

"Adaptation" and David Mamet were both on my study list, so it was disappointing not to have included those factoids on my flash cards.
(So close, yet so far.)

The "Crushing Shakespeare" category was tough, because the anagrams were very confusing. If you noticed, I would buzz in, then look away, trying to forget the anagram long enough to remember the remainder of the clue: "Kat"- tamer  = Petruchio.

When it came to Final Jeopardy, "Governors" is a hard category to gauge.
Although they were likely to want a name, there was no way to isolate a time period or even a region of the country. As for betting strategy, for the first round of the finals, there is no clear model to follow. My general philosophy is that, while the first FJ can't win you the championship, it
can put you out of contention. I had intended to bet larger, but I had worked
soooo hard for those points, I just wasn't willing to risk losing them.
I started to do some "what if" math on my note cards, then decided "to hell with it, $5,000 sounds like a good number." This decision was perhaps more crucial than I realized and could have been dealt with less flippantly.

When the clue was revealed, I was stunned. Essentially it said, "In 1967, this person became the first woman from a state east of the Mississippi, to be elected Governor in her own right." Did I just read that correctly? Can they ask a question that is more suited for me and less for my opponents than that? Can I change my bet?

If you read the biographies at , then you will see that I spent my formative years in the "Heart of Dixie" at a time when, if were renewing your license plates, then you received, along with the tag, a bumper sticker that said "WALLACE" (not really, but they were practically
ubiquitous)..... Strike up Charlie Daniels' "Ballad of the Uneasy Rider" now. As I recall the story, because George C. Wallace could not serve another term, he had his wife run in his place. She won the race and they remained Alabama fixture for another four years.

I started to write Lurleen Wallace, but figuring that a spelling error was a
likely possibility, morphed the L into a W, as Alex correctly guessed. Plus,
George was later married to a woman named Cornelia, and I figured it would be foolish to take the extra risk. I dutifully stuck to my strategy of writing down two possibilities, the second being Ella Grasso of Connecticut. At the sounding of the tympani I crossed her out.

When everyone's questions were revealed, I wasn't surprised that the bets were conservative, but they were far more conservative than I had expected and then hoped for. Would a $7,000 lead hold up?