Words, words, words.
“Jeopardy!” champ Ben Chan’s nine-day winning streak has ended — all due to one spelling mistake.
Chan had a rough start to Tuesday’s episode, losing $42,000 on the Daily Double clue, dropping him into a very close competition with retired museum educator Lynn Di Vito.
But Final Jeopardy ended his chances of continuing his record-breaking run as the first contestant to win nine consecutive runaway victories and increasing his total $252,600 winnings.
He had a strong lead going into Final Jeopardy with $17,400, while Di Vito had $14,800 and policy communications manager Joe Leserman with $2,400.
The category for Final Jeopardy was “Shakespeare Characters,” and the clue read: “Both of the names of these 2 lovers in a Shakespeare play come from Latin words for ‘blessed.’”
All three contestants technically got the right answer, but Chan — who wagered $12,201 — was off by just one letter, ruling that he did not have the correct response.
The correct response was “Beatrice and Benedick,” but Chan wrote “Benedict.”
Viewers of the game show were outraged by the end of Chan’s reign, saying he was “robbed,” and took to social media to express their disappointment.
“Awful ruling against Ben Chan on tonight’s #Jeopardy,” someone tweeted.
“Since when does being off by one letter count in final jep? There’s no other character he could have meant,” another wrote.
“Lynn doesn’t finish spelling ‘Juliet’ yet it’s ruled as a complete (albeit incorrect) response, and Ben misspells Benedick by one letter and is ruled incorrect. Clearly they knew what he was going for and yet ended his run on a terrible technicality,” a fan pointed out.
“The thing I hate about #Jeopardy is if Ben had said that response he would have got it correct, but writing it was wrong. The inconsistency has always bugged me,” a viewer admitted.
“Ben Chan was robbed on #Jeopardy – I knew that ‘K’ in ‘Benedick’ would mess someone up!” another exclaimed.
“Really? You kicked Ben because of a spelling error? Had it been a verbal response you would not have known he couldn’t spell it. Ben was robbed. Embarrassing,” another fan remarked.
“Wait what just happened on Jeopardy! Are you kidding that you bounced Ben on a technicality??!!” a user wrote. “There have been other Final Jeopardy responses with misspelling which were accepted. This has become such an inconsistent policy of late. Get it together. Bring back Ben!”
Many fans in the “Jeopardy!” Subreddit called the ruling “harsh,” and one even cited the official game rulebook, noting, “If Ben had left off the last letter in his FJ response, it likely would have been accepted, as it would be pronounced the same way as if it was spelled correctly.”
“Ouch, my heart hurts for Ben. Thanks for all the good times! See you again soon in the ToC!” one person wrote.
Chan himself even chimed in on the Subreddit thread, acknowledging that he was, in fact, incorrect in his answer.
“1. Lynn played a perfect game! Especially happy for her, since she is an incredibly knowledgeable fan of the show. ‘Benedict’ is incorrect. The character’s name is Benedick. As Ken (presciently) noted on my first episode, there is no partial credit on Jeopardy! (Yes, I was sooo close!),” he wrote. “3. I made some bad flashcards. The ‘Benedict’ misspelling is common, and it worked its way onto a couple of my flashcards.”
Chan might have ended his nine-day streak, but he’ll have the chance to redeem himself as he advances to the 2023 Tournament of Champions.