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What is 'oops': Jeopardy! fans notice spelling error in Final Jeopardy answer

The empty stage of the "Jeopardy!" game show.
(Image credit: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Spelling errors happen to the best of us, but when your spelling error ends up on national television, well, that’s a whole other ballgame. Eagle-eyed Jeopardy! fans spotted the mistake during the June 22 episode—during the Final Jeopardy! round, no less. 

As is the case with every episode of the beloved trivia game, tension was running high when Final Jeopardy! arrived. The category was 19th Century Literature. 

When the clue arrived, it was nearly impossible to ignore the spelling error: “This author first thought of a parrot before choosing another bird ‘equallly [sp] capable of speech.’”

Cue social media.

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The answer, of course, was Edgar Allan Poe. Jeff Weinstock bested six-day champion Megan Wachspress, taking home $11,202. Wachspress had already qualified for a spot in the Tournament of Champions this November, so this won’t be the last time we see her.

There’s already a ton of pressure for contestants appearing on the long-running game show. Answers must be given in the form of a question — no exceptions — and over the years there have been some high profile cases where contestants have botched spelling in their own Final Jeopardy! written responses, leading to disqualification. 

A 2020 incident (opens in new tab) revolved around a Final Jeopardy! clue in The Music Biz category. The clue: “In 2019 at a 60th anniversary event in Detroit, this producer announced his retirement saying he had ‘come full circle.’”

Two contestants gave the wrong answer while the third contestant, Betsy, spelled the answer wrong and it was ruled as incorrect. 

Betsy’s answer: “Barry Gordy.”

The correct answer was Berry Gordy. 

It happens that Betsy wouldn’t have won even if the answer was right, but fans at the time were outraged over the judges’ ruling. 

Thankfully, in the case of the June 22 episode, the spelling error had no bearing on being able to answer the question. 

While spelling errors happen despite our best efforts to avoid them, it’s a little different when they happen on Jeopardy! Because we hold the trivia show to high standards, especially knowing that we’ll be held to even high standards if we ever make it to the final round. 

Sarabeth Pollock
Sarabeth Pollock

 

Sarabeth joined the Watch to Watch team in May 2022. An avid TV and movie fan, her perennial favorites are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, true crime documentaries on Netflix and anything from Passionflix. You’ve Got Mail, Ocean's Eleven and Signs are movies that she can watch all day long.  


When she's not working, Sarabeth hosts a podcast dedicated to books and interviews with authors and actors. She’s also very close to realizing her lifelong dream of publishing a novel.