Fault! Jeopardy! Contestant Penalized for Mispronouncing ‘Wimbledon’

We'll take "Are you kidding me?" for $400, Alex.

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Let’s all spare a thought for Reid Rodgers. The Nebraska contestant, who appeared on Jeopardy!, fell foul of the pronunciation police during Monday’s episode of the long-running game show.

What was his faux pas exactly? At first, there was nothing doing: he responded to the question (or rather, answer) about the first women’s champion at an 1884 tennis tournament with the apparent response of “Wimbledon.”

Host Alex Trebek moved on, Rodgers banked another $400 and all was well with the world. And then, the game-show gods proceeded to rock the very foundations of the fine institution that is Jeopardy!. Just before Rodgers attempted a Daily Double, Trebek issued the following ruling: “I’m informed that you very clearly said Wimble-TON not Wimble-DIN a few moments ago.”

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Rodgers, who is a a fourth-generation railroader in his 38th year with the Union Pacific Railroad, had to suffer a triple whammy (take that, Daily Double!). Not only was the $400 taken away but he had the same amount deducted for the incorrect response, with the ignominy playing out in front of a national audience. At least karma played a kinder role in the immediate aftermath as Rodgers, who was able to wage up to $1000 on the Daily Double (despite now only having $200) got that one right (and he pronounced it beautifully).

But whichever way you want to look at it, it seems incredibly harsh on Rodgers. Whether he said Wimble-TON, Wimble-DIN or, as some are claiming, Wimble-TIN (which even NewsFeed’s father-in-law has been heard to utter), it’s pretty obvious what he was referring to. In fact, it was so obvious that Trebek didn’t have a problem in the first place.

Rodgers ended up coming second but was extremely gracious about his entire experience. “They do a really good job of prepping you,” he told the NP Telegraph. “They told me that everyone loses on Jeopardy!, and some people lose sooner than others.”

Too true, Mr. Rodgers (the legendary Ken Jennings is proof positive of that). But we can’t get away from the fact that Trebek has some serious chutzpah (pronounced hutz·pah): have you heard that guy try and say ‘Nicaragua‘? (via Yahoo)

VIDEO: 10 Questions for Alex Trebek

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