Kid Loses $3K on Jeopardy!— Over Spelling

Calls Lincoln document 'Emanciptation Proclamation'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2013 8:27 AM CDT

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. (Read more Jeopardy stories.)

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