How Shere Kahn ousted a furry tiger from the Jeopardy champion's tournament
As previously covered here on Flayrah, a furry known by his fursona name of Bucktown Tiger had made The Tournament of Champions on Jeopardy. He participated in the Thursday night quarterfinals game against some very heavy hitters. But little could he have known that his greatest enemy would not be the contestants before him that night, but a Final Jeopardy question that would be presented before the contestants on the following game Friday night.
A question whose answer was: “Who is Shere Khan?”
So how could this have happened where a furry fan, whose favorite animal species is the tiger, end up being torn up by the most infamous of all anthropomorphic tigers? Let’s break it down.
How the Tournament works
Before we can reveal how this tiger betrayal came to pass, we must first set up the circumstances by explaining how the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions works. It starts with 15 contestants who were seen as the most winningest and notable champions from prior episodes in the season. One from the Teacher’s Tournament, one from the Student’s Tournament, and the remaining 13 from the regular games.
These fifteen contestants are split into groups of three and go through the quarterfinal run. This is held on the first week of the two week tournament. As a results of these five games, the five winners move onto the semifinals. However, because Jeopardy requires three players a game, obviously five people will not cut the mustard. So what happens is that four of the other contestants who lost the previous games are brought in to create nine players who participate in the semifinal's three games.
So how are these four other contestants, called Wild Cards, chosen? It is purely based on the winnings of the ten contestants that had lost the quarterfinal games. Of the losing contestants in the quarterfinals the four with the most cash in their pockets at the end of the game are moved on to the semifinals as well for a chance at redemption.
For the semifinal’s three games, there will be three winners. These three winners go onto the finals. Unfortunately, as we know, our tiger friend did not make it this far and didn’t get past the quarterfinals thanks in part to that conniving Shere Khan.
The Thursday Game - Emma proves her stripes
The Thursday game with Bucktown started off competitive, with all three contestants keeping up with each other as they answered questions on the board. As they made their way around the board you could see the permanent impact that the James Holzhauer's strategy has had on the game from when I was a kid. Spaces on the board taking on an erratic shape as contestant scoured the board for those Daily Doubles. The first one was popped too early to fully capitalize on, though (a risk in the Holzhauer strategy). At the end, they all had a competitive amount of money and as the fan site JeopardyFan.com had foretold, all three were in this game.
It was when the second round, called Double Jeopardy, arrived that things changed quite rapidly. Emma had awoken and started to run away with the board and pull away. Daily Doubles on this round had far better timing for those that popped them to get some hefty gains. Unfortunately the tiger was left empty pawed in that department. At the end of the round Emma had a hefty lead and it would be a fight for wild card survival for her two contestants.
So how much buffer Bucktown could give himself in the Wild Card status came down to Final Jeopardy. The category was unfortunately in the arts, which is not one of the topics he is strong in.
A derisive description of the shape of the houses in the 1908 painting “Houses at l’Estaque” gave this art style its name
Bucktown knew he did not know the answer, to be fair neither did I. However even not knowing the answer the way the respondent scribbled his answer of ‘minimalism’ in fittingly small lettering highlighted his uncertainty. It was in fact the incorrect answer. When his bid was revealed it showed he didn’t bet too much and only cut his winnings down to around $10,500. His fellow runner-up also got it wrong, and since Bucktown came into the round in second place he maintained his position and squeaked onto the 4th winningest runner-up position, giving him a shot, but he was in the most danger.
The Purrfurable Question
Going into the Friday game, despite the unfortunate Final Jeopardy question and dealing with an aggressive opponent in Double Jeopardy, Bucktown was still on the cusp of the Wild Card contenders with his $10,500 in winnings. It all came down to Friday night. If no contestant passed that threshold then he would have made it in by the skin of his tiger teeth.
This game was not so evenly matched with Francois Barcomb running away with most of the game and having a solid $34,000 dollar purse by the time the final question came to a head, which would be the largest winnings of the quarterfinals. But Bucktown’s fate was not in the hands of the winner, but in the runner-ups and how much money they took in. The contender in third place was not a threat, going into final jeopardy with only $4,000. This means if he got the question right he could only get up to $8,000. Instead the threat came from Steven Grade, who held $9,600 in winnings. If he could answer the question in confidence then he could quite easily knock the tiger from his wild card slot.
So it all came down to what this Final Jeopardy question was. And with baited breath from those rooting for Bucktown. Alex presented it:
From an 1894 work, his name literally translates to “Tiger King”
It could not have been a more devastating question. When the question was put forth, it was unbelievable. A writer of the greatest fictions could not have made such a deep driving punchline of irony in timing. One could not help but to laugh aloud and invoke that the universe must be joking. But no, there was the answer but with one question.
The question of course, “Who is Shere Khan?”
All three contestants got this right, and the contestant with the $9,600 pre-wager had bet enough to surpass the $10,500 threshold, and the rest is history.
In all games of skill there is an element of luck. Sometimes the universe just bends in the most chaotically jovial ways. Had this been the question only one night prior, then Bucktown would have surely been in the semi-finals. I could see his answer being far more confident with a smile on his face as he wrote the tiger’s name in big letters, and not in the reserved and deflated cursive of his minimalist answer.
It can feel a bit stinging that one question, and of all questions one about a tiger character, had put a halt to Bucktown’s time on the trivia game show. But in a way, if there is any recompense, it’s not everyday a tiger furry can say they took the brunt of the wrath of Shere Khan and live to tell the tale. And that is a heck of a story to tell.