Jeopardy! champion Jake DeArruda ended his time on the show after winning three games. Though he walked away with nearly $70,000 to his name, he also left the game with a slightly embarrassing statistic. The champ never correctly guessed any of the Final Jeopardy clues, which ultimately proved to be his undoing.
DeArruda, a delivery dispatcher originally from Ludlow, Vermont, won $22,797 on his first day even though he answered the Final Jeopardy clue incorrectly. The category was “World Cinema,” and the clue read, “The 2007 biopic called La Môme in France, meaning ‘The Kid’, was released in the U.S. under this other French title.” Although La Vie en rose was the correct answer, DeArruda and the other two players responded incorrectly.
The next day, DeArruda won again without answering the final clue correctly. The category was “Word Origins” and again, the returning champ and two other contestants were wrong. The final clue said, “Originally relating to a story of suffering, this word now more commonly refers to strong emotion of any kind.” The correct response was passion, as opposed to DeArruda’s mortal, but he still added another $25,197 to his winnings.
Deja vu continued for DeArruda on the third day. Again, all three contestants answered the final clue incorrectly. Only this time, the champ couldn’t be caught. The final clue read, “5 U.S. states have 6-letter names; only these 2 west of the Mississippi River border each other.” Of course, the correct response was Oregon and Nevada—DeArruda only guessed Kansas and bet $333.
DeArruda finally ended his unique three-day streak after winning $68,661. Although the champ entered the final round with the lead, he lost because one of the players finally knew the answer to the final clue! The contestants were told, “Published in 2011, P.D. James’ final novel, Death Comes to Pemberley, was a sequel to this novel from 200 years earlier.” Again, DeArruda answered incorrectly, but Patti Palmer, a bookseller and retired teacher, obviously knew that the book was Pride and Prejudice.
Lucky for us, DeArruda has already blogged about his time on Jeopardy! Although he doesn’t mention answering the final clue as a strategy, he does share that going into the final round was his best chance, especially since he was up against 6-day champion, Troy Meyer. “I know that it’s difficult to out-know Troy,” the dispatcher admitted, “so beating him would come down to being aggressive, catching a break or two and probably leading entering [Final Jeopardy].”
DeArruda’s strategy worked until one other contestant finally answered the final clue correctly. Then again, maybe DeArruda was on to something because winning $68,661 is a great three-day total!