Kid Loses $3K on Jeopardy!— Over Spelling
Calls Lincoln document 'Emanciptation Proclamation'
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Aug 5, 2013 8:27 AM CDT
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(Newser) – A 12-year-old from Newtown, Conn., got the right answer at the close of a Jeopardy! episode—but his spelling cost him the $3,000 he'd wagered. Asked what document Abraham Lincoln had called a "fit and necessary war measure," Thomas Hurley III wrote, "What is the Emanciptation Proclamation?" His answer—"badly misspelled," according to host Alex Trebek—left him with a score of $6,600. Ultimately, he took home $2,000 during the show's Kids Week.

"I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the Final Jeopardy! question. It was just a spelling error," Thomas tells the Danbury News Times. Other viewers agreed, including one who notified local newspapers. "Alex didn't need to insult this kid's spelling, and many people feel that Thomas is owed an apology," she noted. "We all knew what the kid was trying to say. Jeopardy! has never really discounted answers because of adults' misspellings." The show's Facebook page has been hit with hundreds of comments on the issue, though the night's winner was well ahead of Thomas either way: Skyler Hornback scored $66,600. Here's what the show said, via the AP:

  • "If Jeopardy! were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players. We love presenting young people as contestants on our show and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment."
In other quirky spelling-related news, it turns out Ben Franklin tried to change our alphabet.

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Showing 3 of 142 comments
crankydude
Aug 11, 2013 2:36 PM CDT
According to L.A.times the show added: “The rules are very simple. Normally we don’t penalize anybody for misspelling. I mean if he had spelled emancipation, p-a-y-s-h-u-n, we probably would have accepted it. But if you add a syllable through your spelling mistake, or delete a syllable, then the judges will rule against you.” http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-alex-trebek-speaks-out-on-jeopardy-kid-controversy-20130809,0,3151934.story These people are borderline illiterate and just plain full of it. The one letter the kid inserted did not in any way create and additional syllable. They ruled incorrectly. The example they offer of acceptable is a much more indisputable spelling error while this inherently appears to be a slip of the pen. I have a good vocabulary and good education but I do it all the time in haste or otherwise and my aptitudes are way above average and beyond my level of education. BY THE WAY: When they rule Trebek explained that the boy had added a "p"; however, he had added a "t" and the "p" belonged there: the host was flubbing his reading of the displayed answer!
politicalobsever
Aug 6, 2013 8:18 PM CDT
Just spend a little more time on your spelling and stop puffing up you lips. Or ask the Federal Government to bail you out.......
sachanicole
Aug 6, 2013 6:26 PM CDT
He lost, and that's just that. Jeopardy doesn't need to change the rules or make exceptions even for the juvenile version, perhap's this will just make him more concise. I personally fault his parents, they should have explained to him it's a competition, do your very best, but you may not win and that is ok.