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Nguyen’s return to ‘Jeopardy!’ comes to an end

During Tuesday’s “Jeopardy!” episode introduction, Palo Alto High School math teacher Daniel Nguyen flashes a 4s Up sign as a shout-out to his alma mater, the University of California, Los Angeles. (Photo: Sony Pictures Television)

Following five appearances on the “Jeopardy!” game show, Palo Alto High School math teacher Daniel Nguyen lost Tuesday’s semifinals episode with a final balance of $4,800, ending his return to the show.

“My performance on Tuesday’s episode was by far my worst out of my five appearances on the show,” Nguyen said. “A large reason why I did so poorly was because I let the stress of being on the show get to me.” 

Despite ending with a game total of $4,800, Nguyen said for tournaments there are fixed prize amounts, so he earned $10,000 as a semifinalist. 

His competitors were Lucy Ricketts, a book designer and freelance illustrator from Atlanta, and Joe Feldmann, a technology professional from Maryland. 

The episode challenged contestants on a range of topics, from mountain landmarks in the West to astrology. 

According to Nguyen, the game’s turning point was when he was unable to answer a clue about the fifth gift in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

“The moment I knew something wasn’t right is when the fourth clue of the episode came out,” Nguyen said. “I couldn’t figure out the right response even though I’ve known that song since I was a kid.”

Going into the “Double Jeopardy!” round, Nguyen was tied for first place with Ricketts for a total of $3,200. However, Nguyen lost $1,600 when he responded, “What’s Pisces?” to the clue: “As Kris Kristofferson knows, the nativity of Jesus made him this zodiacal sign.” The correct answer is a Capricorn. 

“When I saw Astrology Time was one of the categories in Double Jeopardy, I mentally froze because I don’t know much about astrology, despite having studied it to get onto the show,” Nguyen said. 

During the episode’s “Final Jeopardy!” round, Nguyen wagered $0 of his $4,800 balance, answering “What are Blimps? Hi Mom!” in response to the following clue: “A 1918 article titled ‘Do Not Shoot at’ these said hunters were interfering with the U.S. Signal Corps’ training of them.” 

“My mom enjoyed seeing me write ‘Hi Mom!’ as part of my Final Jeopardy response,” Nguyen said.

Although he did not win, Nguyen said he is happy to have advanced to the semifinals and to have had the chance to get to know the other contestants.  

“My favorite aspect of Champions Wildcard was bonding with the other contestants,” Nguyen said. “We all stayed in the same hotel and traveled to and from the studio together. It was a lot of fun hanging out with them and learning about their diverse backgrounds and interests.”

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About the Contributor
Anna Feng
Anna Feng, Senior Staff Writer
Anna Feng (Class of 2024) joined The Voice her sophomore year. Outside of journalism, she enjoys volunteering, listening to podcasts and spending time outdoors.

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