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‘Jeopardy!’ Fans Debate Rule After Article Mistake Costs Contestant

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the July 24 episode of Jeopardy!]

One word can make all the difference on Jeopardy! — but, fortunately, it doesn’t cost a contestant the game in the July 24 episode.

Marketing director Taylor Clagett returned with a one-day total of $10,800 and faced off against graduate student Simona Fine and teacher Ian Foutz. During Double Jeopardy, Taylor, with $18,800, selected Musical Works for $2000. The clue read: “Each of the 10 movements of this Mussorgsky work represents a piece of art on display, created by a late friend.”

Taylor rang in with, “What is Pictures at the Exhibition?” Host Ken Jennings told him, “No, sorry,” then, after no one else gave it a try, explained, “It’s Pictures at an Exhibition, I’m afraid.” Taylor remained comfortable in the lead with $16,800, to Ian’s $6,400 and Simona’s $1,200. That was also true heading into Final Jeopardy!, which only he got correct. Taylor won again and ended the game with $21,000, giving him a two-day total of $31,800.

But that ruling did raise a question on Reddit. “I could be wrong but I think ‘Pictures at the Exhibition’ should have been ruled correct for ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ since the original is in Russian and Russian doesn’t have articles,” one fan wrote. In reply, another said, “I’d imagine the canonical English name has some pull here? It’s NEVER ‘Pictures at the Exhibition’ in this hemisphere, but I do see your argument holding water. Probably just an oversight from the judges.”

The person who puts together the posts for each day’s episode, however, explained why Taylor’s answer was ruled incorrect, noting that according to the Jeopardy! rule book, “While you’re allowed to get an article wrong at the beginning of a title, it will cost you if you make such a mistake in any other part of a title.”

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