NEW YORK — The category is: Shakespeare's characters. The Final Jeopardy: a fail.
On Tuesday night's "Jeopardy!" episode, contestant Ben Chan lost his nine-game winning streak after misspelling one word in his Final Jeopardy answer. The call angered many fans, who took to social media to air their grievances.
The clue read: "Both of the names of these 2 lovers in a Shakespeare play come from the latin word for 'blessed.'" Chan wrote out his answer — "Who are Beatrice and Benedict" — wagering $12,201.
To the untrained eye, those character names from the play "Much Ado About Nothing" might seem correct. But host Mayim Bialik informed Chan he was wrong — it's not Benedict, it's "Benedick."
The other two contestants were much farther off, both guessing "Romeo and Juliet." Still, Chan's wager cost him the game and his streak.
According to "Jeopardy!" rules, spelling does not usually matter — but phonetic pronunciation does: "Written responses to the Final Jeopardy! clue do not have to be spelled correctly, but they must be phonetically correct and not add or subtract any extraneous sounds or syllables."
The names Benedict and Benedick are not said the same way — therefore, Chan did not choose the correct name.
Still, many people tweeted about what they viewed as the unfairness of the ending of Chan's "Jeopardy!" story. Some said Chan was "robbed" and called for "Jeopardy!" to review its ruling.
In a post-show chat, Chan opened up about the end of his 10-game run. It is rare to win nine games, and Chan is the first and only champion in "Jeopardy!" history to have their first nine wins be "runaway" wins — meaning he was so far ahead, there was no way the other contestants could catch him.
Chan said he prepared for the games, including making flash cards to help him study. He said those may have been his demise. "I have two flashcards and [the answer] is correct on the card for 'Much Ado About Nothing,'" he said. "But I made shorter cards. And I guess I missed — I decided, 'Oh this looks right.'"
He said the wrong answer was a "very memorable miss." "If you're going out on a miss, at least make it a memorable miss," he quipped.
Chan will return to take part in the show's "Tournament of Champions," which is hosted by all-time "Jeopardy!" champ Ken Jennings.
Last year, it was announced that Bialik and Jennings would permanently split hosting duties on the show, following the death of longtime host Alex Trebek in 2020. Jennings had a record 74-game winning streak in 2004.