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Tuesday Morning Notes

Reston double murder hearing closed to public — A hearing in the case of a teen charged with killing a Reston couple before Christmas will be closed. The defendant’s attorney said the case would feature “sensitive” information about the 17-year-old suspect. [The Washington Post]

Give your dresses away — Tomorrow is the last day to drop off donations for the Diva Central Dress Drive. Donated dresses and formal wear will be offered to local tweens and teens as dance season swings in. [Reston Community Center]

Calling all women pioneers — The Reston Historic Trust & Museum wants you to nominate women pioneers of Reston. Selected individuals will be honored in mid-March. [Reston Historic Trust & Museum]

Jeopardy question features Reston — A question on the show references Reston. A spokesperson for a fire and rescue service department in Maryland gave the shoutout on Twitter. [Pete Piringer]

Photo by Fatimah Waseem


Reston Resident Scores High on ‘Jeopardy!’ But Gets Stumped at the End

Quick, answer this for us:

“One in Europe & one in Africa, these 2 landlocked countries start with the same 2 letters & end with the same 4.”

Time’s up. If you said “Switzerland and Swaziland,” you win.

That was the challenge facing Scott Simpson, a foreign service officer from Reston, at the end of Tuesday night’s episode of the quiz show “Jeopardy!” Unfortunately, Simpson — who entered Final Jeopardy! in the lead with more than $20,000 in his bank — did not give that response.

Simpson’s incorrect answer — Romania and Tanzania — dropped him to second place and sent him home with a $2,000 consolation prize. But that slip-up at the end doesn’t mean he didn’t show some impressive knowledge throughout the episode.

Check below for the long list of clues to which Simpson correctly responded during his time on the “Jeopardy!” stage.

According to the J! Archive website, here are answers for which correctly Simpson gave the questions during his appearance on the iconic game show. How many do you know? (Simpson’s correct responses are at the bottom of the article.)

  • Video Games, $400: The Wasteland is the result of nuclear war; exit one of these title shelters & rebuild in the 4th edition
  • Video Games, $800: Master Chief & Spartan Locke are yours to command in this “5: Guardians”
  • By Degrees, $1,000: To Francis Ford Coppola, nephew Nicolas Cage is in the third degree of this 13-letter word from the Latin for “blood”
  • Also in the Shakespeare Play, $400: Fortinbras, prince of Norway; two clowns, listed as gravediggers
  • Also in the Shakespeare Play, $800: Escalus, prince of Verona; an apothecary
  • We Mean Business, $400: The Sealed Air Corporation has made a fortune off this trademarked shipping aid that was created in 1957
  • We Mean Business, $800: In 1901 John Queeny founded chemical company Monsanto to make this synthetic sweetener
  • Zoologist’s Dictionary: $200: Ovoviviparous describes animals such as rattlesnakes that develop these inside the body
  • Words That Should Rhyme: $800: A muscle pain & a Native American people of Arizona
  • Italian Composers, $400: He & Leoncavallo both composed versions of “La boheme” at the same time but his was much more successful
  • Italian Composers, $1,200: Vincenzo Bellini was one of the main proponents of this operatic style whose name means “beautiful singing” (Simpson won a Daily Double on this for $3,600.)
  • Italian Composers, $1,600: His sprightly overtures are the best remembered parts of many of his operas, like 1817’s “The Thieving Magpie”
  • The Woman in the Movie, $400: In 1981 she played “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”
  • The Woman in the Movie, $1,200: In 1956 this French beauty starred in “…And God Created Woman”
  • The Woman in the Movie, $1,600: In 1988 this “Risky Business” beauty starred in “And God Created Woman”
  • Cowboy Talk, $800: The Cattleman, the West Texas Punch & the Bull Rider are popular creases cowboys put in these
  • Cowboy Talk, $1,200: When told to grab the apple, riders grab this for greater security
  • Shaka, $1,200: Shaka is credited with revolutionizing army tactics, by using a main force known as “the chest and two horns” that would circle around to the rear of the enemy in one of these maneuvers
  • Shaka, $1,600: Shaka instituted a type of close-combat fighting involving short spears & these made of oxhide
  • When the Walls Fell, $400: The walls of this West Bank town fell many times, for example in Joshua chapter 6
  • When the Walls Fell, $1,200: Crumbling walls in Caerwent, a once-Roman town in this part of Britain, tell of a time long ago
  • When the Walls Fell, $2,000: In the first century 1,000 defenders of this Jewish fortress held off 15,000 Romans for months


  • Video Games, $400: “What is ‘Fallout?'”
  • Video Games, $800“What is ‘Halo?'”
  • By Degrees, $1,000“What is consanguinity?”
  • Also in the Shakespeare Play, $400“What is ‘Hamlet?'”
  • Also in the Shakespeare Play, $800“What is ‘Romeo and Juliet?'”
  • We Mean Business, $400“What is Bubble Wrap?”
  • We Mean Business, $800“What is saccharin?”
  • Zoologist’s Dictionary: $200“What are eggs?”
  • Words That Should Rhyme: $800“What are ache and Apache?”
  • Italian Composers, $400: “Who is Puccini?”
  • Italian Composers, $1,200: “What is bel canto?” 
  • Italian Composers, $1,600: “Who is Rossini?”
  • The Woman in the Movie, $400: “Who is Meryl Streep?”
  • The Woman in the Movie, $1,200: “Who is Bardot?”
  • The Woman in the Movie, $1,600: “Who is De Mornay?”
  • Cowboy Talk, $800: “What are their hats?”
  • Cowboy Talk, $1,200: “What is their saddle horn?”
  • Shaka, $1,200: “What is double envelopment?”
  • Shaka, $1,600: “What are shields?”
  • When the Walls Fell, $400: “What is Jericho?”
  • When the Walls Fell, $1,200: “What is Wales?”
  • When the Walls Fell, $2,000: “What is Masada?”
2 Comment

Reston’s Scott Simpson to Be Contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ in July

Scott Simpson, a foreign service officer from Reston, will be a contestant on “Jeopardy!” next month.

Simpson will be shown on the stage, giving the questions to host Alex Trebek’s answers, on the episode that airs Tuesday, July 11.

Other Reston residents have appeared on the quiz show in past years. Most notably, State Department employee Mark Lowenthal has won over $160,000 over numerous appearances on the show between 1988 and 2014. He is the co-author of a book about success on the quiz show, “Secrets of the Jeopardy! Champions.”

Most recently, there were two contestants from Reston in 2016: Justin Lucas and Norm Burnosky.

Locally, “Jeopardy!” airs on WJLA, channel 7, at 7:30 p.m. each weeknight.

Photo of Simpson with Trebek, courtesy “Jeopardy!”


Reston’s Lowenthal Returns to ‘Jeopardy’ Wednesday

Mark Lowenthal on Jeopardy set/Credit: JeopardyReston’s Mark Lowenthal returns to Jeopardy tonight as he seeks to move on — and win big — in the show’s Battle of the Decades.

Lowenthal, who first competed on the show in 1988, returned to Jeopardy as a Battle of the Decades winner in February.

He earned a come-from-behind victory, along with $17,000, to advance to the quarterfinals. Both rounds were taped last year, Lowenthal says. He is sworn to secrecy about the results.

Overall, Lowenthal, a former State Department and CIA official and noted U.S. intelligence analyst, has won $163,901 in his four Jeopardy appearances since ’88. He is also the co-author of a book, Secrets of the Jeopardy Champions.

But the competition will be stiff in this next round. He will go up against Brad Rutter of Lancaster, Pa., who has won $3,385,702 in his Jeopardy appearances, and Dan Pawson of Brooklyn, NY, who has won $433,602. Ken Jennings, who holds the show’s record for longest winning streak (74 games in a row in 2004), will compete in the quarterfinal round on Thursday.

The Battle of the Decades will continue with the semifinals and final next week.

Jeopardy airs on WJLA (Channel 7) at 7:30 p.m.


Reston’s Lowenthal Moves On With ‘Jeopardy’ Victory

Mark Lowenthal on Jeopardy set/Credit: JeopardyReston’s Mark Lowenthal earned a come-from-behind victory in Jeopardy’s Battle of the Decades tournament, which aired on WJLA-7 on Thursday.

Lowenthal, a former State Department and CIA official and noted U.S. intelligence analyst, first competed on Jeopardy in 1988. He has been on the show twice since — winning the Tournament of Champions and pocketing a total of $154,901. He is the co-author of Secrets of the Jeopardy Champions.

On Thursday — in a segment taped several months ago — Lowenthal was up against lawyer Phoebe Juel of Cranberry Township, Pa., who won $38,000 as a college student 20 years ago, and Frank Spangenberg, a law enforcement official from Douglaston, N.Y. who earned close to $250,000 in previous appearances.

Lowenthal was leading after the first round, but Juel went on a run during the “Rare Breeds” category to have $17,001 to Spangenberg’s $14,000 and Lowenthal’s $10,400 going into Final Jeopardy.

The Final Jeopardy answer was this: This former poor British protectorate in 2012 was ranked as the world’s richest per capita.

Lowenthal risked $5,000 and got the answer wrong, leaving him with $9,000. Spangenberg was left with $7,801 after also answering wrong. Juel risked a lot — she wagered $15,000 of her $17,000. She was down to $2,000 after also answering incorrectly.

The correct answer was Qatar — and Lowenthal emerged the winner.

He moves on to a quarterfinal appearance against other Battle of the Decades winners. Those episodes will air in May.

Photo of Mark Lowenthal courtesy of Sony Pictures.


Reston Resident Returns For Another Shot At A Jeopardy Win

Mark Lowenthal on Jeopardy set/Credit: Jeopardy

A Reston resident returns to the set of the TV game show Jeopardy this week as the show hosts “Battle of the Decades.”

Mark Lowenthal, a former State Department and CIA official and noted U.S. intelligence Community analyst, first competed on Jeopardy in 1988. He has been on the show twice since — winning the Tournament of Champions and pocketing a total of $154,901.

In addition to knowing the kind of random trivia and historic knowledge of a Jeopardy champ, Lowenthal has written five books and more than 90 articles or studies on intelligence and national security. His book Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy is a standard college text on the subject.

Another book he co-authored, with Chuck Forrest is Secrets of the Jeopardy Champions. Twenty-five years later, he will see if he still remembers the secrets to winning.

Lowenthal’s episode airs on WJLA-7 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6.

Lowenthal said he first thought of becoming a contestant when the show was on and he and his wife and other relatives were making dinner.

“I was just zipping through the questions,” Lowenthal said in Jeopardy promotional materials. “My family said ‘you ought to be on the show!’ ” He said he thought of a million reasons why not to try out — including they were then the parents of a newborn and had scarcely hired a babysitter.

“In those days, you had to send a postcard to Channel 7,” Lowenthal said. “But the deadline was the next day. So I hand delivered the postcard to Channel 7.”

Lowenthal won $49,901 in his first appearance. He was pretty pleased.

“Win or lose, I am a Jeopardy champion,” he says he thought at the time. He returned to play again in 1990 and 2005.

The original appearance also led to a cameo spot in the 1988 movie Rain Man. Dustin Hoffman’s character, who has autism, must watch Jeopardy as part of his daily routine. One of the segments he is watching in the movie features Lowenthal — who, incidentally, got the question wrong.


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