He Solved the Puzzle Correctly, but One Word Was His Downfall

'Wheel of Fortune' fans miffed contestant lost on a technicality after saying the word 'and' during answer
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2021 2:48 PM CDT

The conjunctions will always get you—at least on Wheel of Fortune. Fans are blasting the show for the "dumbest rule ever" after a contestant who correctly solved a puzzle didn't get credit for it, over a technicality. Per Entertainment Weekly and ET Canada, the episode that aired Wednesday showed David Pederson trying to solve a crossword-style head-scratcher, a categorical format introduced in 2016 that asks contestants to solve a series of words. In this case, there were four of them, all with an apparent fish theme, and it seemed pretty obvious to Pederson (and likely to everyone watching, as most of the letters had been filled in) what the answers were. "Sole, flounder, cod, and catfish," Pederson gave as his answer, which immediately brought the sounds of the "wrong" buzzer. "I'm sorry, that's not right," host Pat Sajak said sadly.

As it turns out, those were the four fish Pederson needed to name, but, per the rules for this particular Wheel of Fortune puzzle, no additional words are allowed to be added when the contestant speaks his or her answer aloud—meaning that extra "and" did Pederson in. Indeed, Sajak can be heard right before Pederson gave his answer warning him, "Don't add anything." Another contestant went on to solve the puzzle correctly, sans the "and." Some of the show's fans aren't pleased. "Wheel of Fortune does not need to be like this," one posted on Twitter, while others deemed it the "dumbest rule ever" and "draconian." Some suggested the rule needs to be nixed or otherwise modified so that contestants are more cognizant of it while playing. Still others had far less sympathy. "If you can't follow clear instructions perhaps you shouldn't be competing on tv game shows," one wrote. (More Wheel of Fortune stories.)

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