When it came time for Final Jeopardy!, host Abhiram Karuppur ’19 read the prompt from the large screen above him: “Cleveland Tower at the Graduate College houses one of these instruments.” The Jeopardy! music played. The contestants were pensive.
Five-time Jeopardy! winner Gil Collins *99, the director of Global Health Programs at the Woodrow Wilson School, was the only competitor of seven to answer correctly: “What is a carillon?” The audience of about 60 in the Friend Center cheered.
Collins was joined May 2 by two other former Jeopardy! participants — All-Star Tournament winner David Madden ’03 and Tova Meyer, a former Princeton assistant director of admission — for one of the Class of 2019’s Last Lectures. They answered questions about the long-running TV show, then took part in two rounds of Princeton-themed Jeopardy!
Asked about what happens behind the scenes, Madden said the show films five rounds of the game each day of taping. Contestants are asked to bring four different outfits to create the impression that the show is filmed on different days, he said.
One student asked if the success of James Holzhauer, the current Jeopardy! champion who has won more than $1.5 million and “almost broken the game,” would prompt a change in the show’s rules. Madden replied that a rule could be introduced that contestants cannot jump around the categories or “actively hunt for the Daily Double.” But he seemed skeptical that Holzhauer has “broken” the system. “I think he’s been very, very good at what he’s doing,” Madden said.
Meyer agreed: “He’s unafraid of risk and he loves risk. That is paying off for him.”
Following the Q&A, members of the senior class volunteered to compete against the Jeopardy! guests; categories included “Princeton history,” “Princeton in pop culture,” and “All things orange.” Emma Corless ’19 and Meyer both answered the second-round Final Jeopardy! question correctly: “In 1963, four students on horseback abducted four women from this location as a prank. It is called the Great (blank) Robbery.”
Both had the correct response — “Dinky Train.” But Corless, with more points, captured first place and got to select her prize: an orange-and-black suitcase.