‘Jeopardy!’ Fans Blast ‘Terrible’ Wording of Daily Double Clue

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The Jeopardy! Champions Wildcard continued on Monday, December 4, as three more brief champions from Seasons 37 and 38 returned to the Alex Trebek stage for another shot at glory. However, one question proved particularly tricky for one of the three returning champs.

In the Double Jeopardy round, graduate student and historian Kristen Thomas-McGill landed on the game’s final Daily Double, which happened to be a video clue under the “A Bird In The Hand” category.

The screen showed a brown, grey, and white bird perched on a person’s arm as host Ken Jennings read the clue, “The type of hawk seen here is found in the name of this olden occupation of the guy holding it.”

Thomas-McGill, who was in second place with $6,800, wagered $3,000 and gave the name of the bird, “Falcon.” This was deemed incorrect, as Jennings was looking for the name of the profession, “Falconer,” and not the bird itself.

Some viewers blasted the clue, both for its confusing wording and inaccuracy.

Kristen on Jeopardy!

Jeopardy, Inc!

“Based on the wording, I truly thought they were asking for the name of the species of bird. If the clue had just been “the name of this man’s occupation” I would’ve instantly got it,” wrote one fan on the Jeopardy! Reddit forum.

“That wording was super ambivalent. I was surprised they didn’t reconsider. I loved Kristen!!” said another.

Another wrote, “That clue was terrible. I totally thought they wanted falcon and when Ken said they were looking for the occupation I was like wha??? I just re-read it and it still sounds — at first glance — like they wanted the bird’s name.”

“I think it’s somewhat poorly written, though it is clear that they’re looking for the occupation and not the bird,” added one commenter. “However, since we only saw a picture of the bird and not the text of the question, mistakes like these are to be somewhat expected imo.”

Falcon photo on Jeopardy!

Picture shown on Jeopardy / Jeopardy, Inc

“This clue was BAD. i hated it!!! maybe if it was a text clue it would have been easier to understand? They need to trash this one forever and not bring it back again,” wrote another.

Others felt the clue was terrible because a hawk is technically a different species than a falcon.

“Falcons are not hawks; in fact, those groups are no longer even considered to be particularly closely related to one another (they’re assigned to different orders),” explained one fan. “I was able to figure out what the writers were going for, but it confused me.”

“Poorly written or not, it was terrible because a falcon is not a type of hawk or vice versa. There is no correct reply to the clue,” said another.

Others agreed, with one viewer writing, “I’ve been birding for a few years and I was so confused by them calling a falcon a hawk I never even got to the occupation part of the clue.”

With her Daily Double loss, Thomas-McGill went into Final Jeopardy! with $8,600, trailing behind student and postal clerk Finn Corrigan ($10,400) and attorney Julia Markham Cameron ($12,600).

Both Thomas-McGill and Cameron answered the Final Jeopardy! clue correctly, but it was the latter who ended up winning the episode with $19,600 and advancing to the semi-finals.

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