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Ken Jennings wins the 'Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time' tournament

Rob Tornoe, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

There is now one Jeopardy! contestant who can accurately call himself the "Greatest of All Time."

Ken Jennings, the computer programmer turned full-time Jeopardy! champion, won the show's epic prime-time trivia tournament that featured the three most successful contestants in the history of the show, which debuted in 1964. Jennings won his third game Tuesday night, defeating James Holzhauer in a tight contest decided in the final minute.

Leading after two games by 10,419 points, Jennings correctly answered the Final Jeopardy! answer with "Who is Iago?" and had cautiously wagered no points. Holzhauer had wagered all he had and thus would have won had he not answered, "Who is Horatio?" (The Final Jeopardy! answer was, "He has 272 speeches, the most of any non-title character in a Shakespeare tragedy," referring to the character in "Othello.")

"It has taken 15 years for Ken Jennings to finally answer the question, 'Is he as good as he appeared to be in that great run on Jeopardy!?'" host Alex Trebek said after the game before anointing Jennings, who is from Edmonds, Wash., "the Greatest of All Time Jeopardy! champion."

Lancaster, Pa., native Brad Rutter again finished a distant third and was largely not a factor during the competition. Holzhauer, of Naperville, Ill., largely limited his taunts of his competitors to social media, but on Tuesday night didn't pass up a chance to mock Rutter on the show over his score.

"It's gotten to be that kind of competition, hasn't it," Trebek dryly noted.


Here are some more highlights from Tuesday's competition:

World according to Kareem: Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar offered all the answers to this category, which included his signature basketball shot ("What is the skyhook?"), Oscar Robertson's jersey number ("What is 1?"), and the martial arts training he received from Bruce Lee ("What is jae-kan-do?").

Jeoportmanteau!: The best category of the night came during the first round and featured some of the clever and linguistically challenging word blends known as portmanteaus. The funniest was one Rutter answered correctly: "Sentient creature like Olaf or Frosty plus 'the No. 1 Kosher wine brand in America.'" The response: "What is Snowmanischewitz?"

"You delight in the moment": Jennings appeared to struggle with a Daily Double, but answered correctly, causing Trebek to comment on his technique: "I hope you will not take offense, Ken. But so often when you respond, you respond in a questioning manner as if you're not sure. And you delight in the moment. It's wonderful to see."


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