You could be forgiven for not promptly or properly mourning the death of Alex Trebek last year. We had a lot going on November 8 and the days that followed.
What is "Understatements of the Century" for $200, Alex?
Jeopardy! has had an persistently high profile this year – celebrity hosts; that guy who decided to make himself the host; the internet determining that that guy was not a good guy; Jeopardy Productions, Inc. deciding that guy was not a good guy to helm the show.
All of scuttlebutt about the future of Jeopardy! just underscores what a singular figure, mustachioed or otherwise, Alex Trebek was. Single- or double-breasted, stewarding students or scolding celebrities – Trebek was a medium for meritocracy. He lent gravitas and a dash of his trademark Sudbury-Ontario wit to the form but never planted his own flag atop the mountain of human knowledge.
How best to mark a year since the passing of someone we so often welcomed into our homes and so thoroughly trusted with our trivia? You could light an Alex Trebek votive candle and sip a potent potable at 7:30, when the spinning of Fortuna's wheel and pinging of powerballs give way to the big blue board.
Or you could honor Trebek's legacy the way he may have wanted – by losing (or possibly finding) yourself in the archives of 38 years of Jeopardy! episodes.
j-archive.com has no formal affiliation with Jeopardy!, but arguably honors the spirit of Alex Trebek better than any future iteration of the show. Home to "424,039 clues and counting," along with contestant information, the site offers an interactive experience tantamount to yelling at your TV screen, in the form of a question. Here you can find particular in the universal and universal in the particular – clues and contestants that call to you from beyond syndication.
If the category were "Trivial Michiganders," you would find, among the 304 contestants from the Great Lakes State:
- Who is Coleman Young? Richard Willing spent thirty years reporting for newspapers and radio in Detroit, Washington and New York, then nine as member of Senior National Intelligence Service, including stints as press secretary to Director of National Intelligence and detail to CIA history staff.
- Who is Danny Devries? Danny won $10,000 and, as was customary in the year 2008, blogged about his experience ("I went to Chicago, with my #7 Chad Henne jersey on underneath my button down").
- What is Gullivers Travels? Ben Henri wagered $5001, $100 more than he needed to cover Meggie, who supplemented her correct answer with "Thanks, Mom + Dad."
- Who are Allen and Sara Goodman? As the Detroit Jewish News reported, when Sara heard the pre-show warning to be extra careful with difficult pronunciations in their responses during gameplay – ex. "a past game where the judges reviewed the tape 14 times before determining that the contestant had said 'Nabibia' instead of 'Namibia' and penalized him" – Sara said, "That was my father!"
Then there are the clues that seem to read your mind, even if they get stuck on the tip of your tongue. Want to play along at home? Send your responses to these actual Jeopardy! clues to email@example.com and you might just win an all-expenses-paid Nu?Detroit coffee mug.