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.
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.”
Locally, “Jeopardy!” airs on WJLA, channel 7, at 7:30 p.m. each weeknight.
Photo of Simpson with Trebek, courtesy “Jeopardy!”
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.
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.
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.