Final Jeopardy: Shakespeare

The Final Jeopardy question (3/15/2013) in the category “Shakespeare” was:

Samuel Johnson said Shakespeare “so carefully informs us” that this play is set on the eve of May Day & yet called it this.

In the beginning of this week, we observed that Drew Horwood was with us most of last week. Well, now he is an 8-day champ with winnings of $138,100 and has been with us ALL of this week! Will Drew be coming back on Monday? First, he’ll have to beat: Rob Groves, from Los Angeles, CA and Kathleen Meyer, from Brookfield, WI.

But even before the match began, Alex put the Trebek Whammy on him, calling Drew “our young Caesar” and reminding everyone that today is the Ides of March. Fie, Alex!

Drew found the Jeopardy! round Daily Double in “High Fantasy” on the second pick of the round, after getting the first pick right. He was therefore the only one with any money — $200.00. He said he wanted to make it a true Daily Double but quickly corrected that to bet the $1,000 allowance. Good thing because he was RIGHT.

Ned is told “When you play” this, the title of the book, “you win or you die.”

Rob finished in the lead with $6,600. Drew was second with $5,800 and Kathleen was last with $4,000.

Rob found the first Double Jeopardy Daily Double in “Second Rock from the Sun.” He was in a tie for the lead with Drew. They both had $9,400, $3,400 more than Kathleen. He bet $3,000, took an educated guess and it was RIGHT.

The size of South America, a highland surface area on Venus is named for this Greek goddess.

Drew found the last Daily Double in “Double N-Demnity.” He was in second place with $10,600, $7,400 behind Rob’s lead. He boldly made it a true Daily Double but he must have been very nervous. He totally forgot the required letter in the category and said “furrow.” That was WRONG.

To separate grain from chaff using wind.

Rob finished in the lead with $18,000. Kathleen was next with $11,200 and Drew was in third place with $2,400.

TWO of the contestants got Final Jeopardy! right.


The phrasing of the FJ clue might suggest that there was some brilliant reasoning behind the title, but the actual quote from Samuel Johnson is “I know not why Shakespeare calls this play, A Midsummer’Night’s Dream, when he so carefully informs us that it happened on the night preceding May day.” One place you can find it is in this free ebook from 1823, which has it as a footnote, with an additional footnote from Shakespearean scholar, Edmond Malone: “I imagine that the title of this play was suggested by the time it was first introduced on the stage, which was probably at Midsummer. ‘A Dream for the entertainment of a Midsummer-night.’ Twelfth Night and The Winter’s Tale had probably their titles from a similar circumstance.”

Drew got it right but bet nothing. He finished with $2,400.

Kathleen wrote down “Twelfth Night” (referring to the 12th night after Christmas.) She lost $6,801 bringing her total down to $4,399.

Rob also got it right and bet $4,500 so he won the match with $22,500, and he is the new Jeopardy! champ. Way to go, Rob.

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