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Nguyen wins first game in return to ‘Jeopardy!’, offers shoutout to late Paly math teacher

Sony Pictures Television
Palo Alto High School math teacher Daniel Nguyen shows his final ‘Jeopardy!’ answer “Who is Radu Toma” at the end of Friday’s episode.

In his return to “Jeopardy!” last Friday, Palo Alto High School math teacher Daniel Nguyen emerged victorious with a lead of $2,400 — along with a surprise shoutout to late Paly math teacher Radu Toma near the end of the show. 

During the game’s “Final Jeopardy!” round, Nguyen wagered $0 of his $20,800 balance, answering “Who is Radu Toma?” in response to the following clue: “He was given piano lessons by Madame Maute de Fleurville, the mother-in-law of Paul Verlaine, whose poetry he would later set to music”.

Toma was a former teacher in Paly’s math department who retired in 2021 after 27 years of teaching. He passed away last February at the age of 60.

Nguyen’s competitors for Friday’s episode were Jamie Logan, a freelancer from Maine, and Matt Glassman, a bar owner from Los Angeles. 

During the first board, Nguyen answered the “Daily Double!” question correctly, wagering all $1,000 he had for a total return of $2,000. By the end of the initial board, Glassman was in first place with $5,600, Nguyen was in second place with $4,600, and Logan was in last place with $1,600.

Going into the “Double Jeopardy!” board, Nguyen was able to catch up to Glassman with a series correct answers, eventually overtaking him in points due to a lucky “Daily Double!” answer, which added another $5,000 to his balance.

By the end of the “Double Jeopardy!” round, Nguyen was in the lead with a balance of $20,800, while Glassman and Logan trailed behind with balances of $19,200 and $9,200 respectively. 

Nguyen’s game is one of the first episodes in the new “Jeopardy Champions Wildcard” series, which allows past “Jeopardy!” winners to compete again. Nguyen’s first run on “Jeopardy!” aired last May, with the Paly teacher winning $26,199 over the three games he played. 

Following this victory, Nguyen has advanced to the semifinals, where he must win two more games to win the tournament. Nguyen’s next “Jeopardy!” game will air on Oct. 17 on ABC.

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