Final 'Jeopardy!' Questions That Stumped This Year's Top Contestants

For many Jeopardy! fans, few things can be more humbling than watching the show's champ du jour trample the competition with their encyclopedic knowledge of national marine sanctuaries and the British Industrial Revolution.

That feeling is soon replaced with awe when a super champ gets on a roll and clocks up multiple wins, giving them the opportunity to showcase the true breadth of their quizzing prowess.

Over the course of the year, there have been so many standout stars that fans are gleefully relishing the approach of 2022's Tournament of Champions, where the best of 2021 get to face off against one another in a battle of the elite.

"Jeopardy!" champs' final round struggles
Pictured are Amy Schneider (top left), Jonathan Fisher (bottom left), and Matt Amodio (right). Newsweek is looking back at the clues this year's "Jeopardy!" champs struggled to correctly answer. Jeopardy!/YouTube

And while we may sit and marvel at the sheer mastery of these contestants, it's worth noting that they, like us, have quite regularly been left stumped when faced with their last clue of the game in the Final Jeopardy round.

In fact, there are many who have managed to win multiple games in spite of getting the final question wrong (if they have earned enough in the earlier rounds, there will always be that precious cushion of cash, after all).

So as we close out 2021 celebrating the greatness of the year's brightest Jeopardy! stars, Newsweek is also looking back at some of the Final Jeopardy clues that left them perplexed. How many can you guess correctly?

"Jeopardy!" star Matt Amodio
Matt Amodio. Jeopardy!/YouTube

Matt Amodio (38 Wins)

Ph.D. Yale student, a native of Ohio, proved to be the top performing contestant of the year, getting an impressive 38 consecutive victories under his belt, placing him second behind all-time champ Ken Jennings. Here's a look at the Final Jeopardy clues he failed to give a correct response to.

CATEGORY: Literary Characters

CLUE: This owner of a large estate in Derbyshire is described as "proud" at least half a dozen times.

AMODIO'S RESPONSE: Who is Rochester?

CORRECT RESPONSE: Who is Mr. Darcy?


CATEGORY: Historic Businessmen

CLUE: Born in the village of Waldorf, Germany, in 1763, he arrived in the U.S. in 1784.

AMODIO'S RESPONSE: Who is Morris?

CORRECT RESPONSE: Who is John Jacob Astor?


CATEGORY: The Declaration of Independence

CLUE: The first published announcement of the Declaration was by a Philadelphia paper that reported it in this foreign language.

AMODIO'S RESPONSE: What is French?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is German?


CATEGORY: Beastly Eponyms

CLUE: A penguin species found in southern South America is named for this 16th century man whose crew were the first from Europe to see them

AMODIO'S RESPONSE: Who is Drake Magellan?

CORRECT RESPONSE: Who is Ferdinand Magellan?


CATEGORY: World Flags

CLUE: The use of red, yellow and green as Pan-African colors began with the flag of this nation, the continent's oldest independent country.

AMODIO'S RESPONSE: What is Egypt? (He had guessed and crossed out Ethiopia)

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Ethiopia?


CATEGORY: 1980s Movies

CLUE: The Dip used to kill characters in this 1988 film consisted of acetone, benzene and turpentine, ingredients of paint thinner.

AMODIO'S RESPONSE: What is Raiders of the Lost Ark?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Who Framed Roger Rabbit?


CATEGORY: Food & Drink in the Bible

CLUE: In the King James Version, these creatures are a plague in Exodus 10, but deemed okay to eat in Leviticus 11.

AMODIO'S RESPONSE: What are frogs? (He had guessed and crossed out locusts)

CORRECT RESPONSE: What are locusts?


CATEGORY: Historic Calendars

CLUE: Following Messidor, this summer month in the 18th century French Revolutionary calendar had a name meaning "heat gift."

AMODIO'S RESPONSE: What is August?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Thermidor?


CATEGORY: Countries of the World

CLUE: Nazi Germany annexed this nation and divided it into regions of the Alps and the Danube; the Allies later divided it into four sectors.

AMODIO'S RESPONSE: What is Poland?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Austria?


"Jeopardy!" champ Amy Schneider
Current "Jeopardy!" champ Amy Schneider. Jeopardy!/YouTube

Amy Schneider (18 Wins)

As the current Jeopardy! champion, Amy Schneider has deftly solidified her status as the one to fear on the show, with her buzzer speed and lifelong passion for learning leaving her competition in the dust. However, she has stumbled three times in Final Jeopardy. Here's a look at the clues she struggled with.

CATEGORY: World Capitals

CLUE: An annual event called Winterlude includes skating on the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in this city.

SCHNEIDER'S RESPONSE: What is Amsterdam?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Ottawa?


CATEGORY: Sporting Events

CLUE: In 1752 one of the first races in this sport was run—four miles from Buttevant Church to St. Mary's Doneraile.

SCHNEIDER'S RESPONSE: What is (Nothing else was added to her response)

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is steeplechase?


CATEGORY: International Landmarks

CLUE: In December 2020 an international agreement added nearly 3 feet to this; one surveyor lost half a toe in the effort.

SCHNEIDER'S RESPONSE: What is the DMZ?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Mount Everest?


New "Jeopardy!" champ Jonathan Fisher
Jonathan Fisher. Jeopardy!/YouTube

Jonathan Fisher (11 Wins)

Actor Fisher made quite the memorable arrival with his defeat of Amodio. And by the second day of his championship, the Florida native also reckoned with the force of the Final Jeopardy clue. Here's the clues that left him stumped.

CATEGORY: Publishing

CLUE: Last name of brothers James, John, Joseph & Fletcher, whose co. published magazines with their name as well as books.

FISHER'S RESPONSE: What is Penguin?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Harper?


CATEGORY: Literature for Children

CLUE: These stories got their collective title because little Josephine Kipling insisted they be told exactly the same way each time.

FISHER'S RESPONSE: What are Twice Told Tales?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Just So Stories?


CATEGORY: Names on the Map

CLUE: From 1824 to 1825 this hero toured all 24 states and an Indiana city was named for him.

FISHER'S RESPONSE: Who is Gary?

CORRECT RESPONSE: Who is (the Marquis de) Lafayette?


CATEGORY: 1970s Top 40 Hits

CLUE: Seeing a poster for a production of Cyrano de Bergerac in a seedy Paris hotel and ladies of the evening nearby inspired this hit.

FISHER'S RESPONSE: What is "Honky Tonk Women"?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is "Roxanne" (by The Police)?


Brian Chang
Brian Chang Jeopardy!/YouTube

Brian Chang (7 Wins)

Chicago attorney Brian Chang was another force to be reckoned with on the show, clocking up a seven-game win streak that more than qualified him for the next Tournament of Champions. Interestingly, the first Final Jeopardy clue he responded to incorrectly was on his debut episode.

CATEGORY: The Business of Travel

CLUE: Adjusted for inflation, the nightly rate this company put in its name in 1962 is now $51.

CHANG'S RESPONSE: What is H&R Block?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Motel 6?


CATEGORY: British Writers

CLUE: When Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days in 1926, this British fellow writer tried to find her with the help of a spiritual medium.

CHANG'S RESPONSE: Who is Shaw?

CORRECT RESPONSE: Who is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?


CATEGORY: The Wild West

CLUE: These two legends both known for buckskin clothes and long, flowing hair met violent ends 38 days apart, in Montana and South Dakota.

CHANG'S RESPONSE: Who are Hickok + Crockett?

CORRECT RESPONSE: Who are (George Armstrong) Custer and (Wild Bill) Hickok?


Courtney Shah
Courtney Shah Jeopardy!/YouTube

Courtney Shah (7 Wins)

A community college instructor from Portland, Oregon, Courtney Shah was also one of the standout stars on Jeopardy! this year. Her stellar run of seven consecutive victories saw her provide two incorrect responses in Final Jeopardy rounds.

CATEGORY: Rivers

CLUE: In "Notes on the State of Virginia," Thomas Jefferson said the most beautiful river on Earth is this one no longer in Virginia.

SHAH'S RESPONSE: What is the Shenandoah?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is the Ohio River?


CATEGORY: Hit Songs

CLUE: Written in 1930, this song was a No. 1 hit in 1960 and was covered by The Band to support a 1976 presidential candidate.

SHAH'S RESPONSE: What is "Happy Days Are Here Again?"

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is "Georgia on My Mind?"


Zach Newkirk
Zach Newkirk Jeopardy!/YouTube

Zach Newkirk (6 Wins)

Zach Newkirk is an unusual entry on this year's list, as his run was broken up between Season 37 and the one before it. However, he was still an impactful force when he eventually returned to the show to defend his title. See the clues that left him scratching his head.

CATEGORY: British Army History

CLUE: The Army's longest continuous campaign, 1969-2007, began in this Northern Ireland city known by either of two different names.

NEWKIRK'S RESPONSE: What is Belfast?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Derry/Londonderry?


CATEGORY: Science Words

CLUE: This word used to denote an irreversible dispersion of energy was coined in the 1860s to sound a bit like "energy."

NEWKIRK'S RESPONSE: What is synergy?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is entropy?


Andrew He
Andrew He Jeopardy!/YouTube

Andrew He (5 Wins)

Andrew He, a software developer from San Francisco, was the most recent of the champs to qualify for the Tournament of Champions—before Amy Schneider rode into town and unseated him.

CATEGORY: Priceless Objects

CLUE: It dates back to the "French Blue," which was set in gold and suspended from a neck ribbon when Louis XIV wore it on ceremonial occasions.

HE'S RESPONSE: What is Ellis Island?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is the Hope Diamond?


CATEGORY: Movie Quotes

CLUE: This three-word phrase was the protagonist's second line of dialogue in a 1962 movie, the first in a 25-film series.

HE'S RESPONSE: What is I'm the Batm. [He said he had intended to write Batman]

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is "Bond. James Bond."


CATEGORY: Final Resting Places

CLUE: A cemetery on this island has the graves of Robert Fulton and two of the first four Treasury secretaries.

HE'S RESPONSE: What is Ellis Island?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is Manhattan?


Tyler Rhode
Tyler Rhode Jeopardy!/YouTube

Tyler Rhode (5 Wins)

Tyler Rhode, a healthcare data specialist from New York, has also qualified to return to the Jeopardy! fold for the Tournament of Champions. See the clues he failed to respond to correctly during his run on the show.

CATEGORY: Paintings

CLUE: In 2021 experts in Oslo concluded that it was the artist who wrote on this painting, "Could only have been painted by a madman."

RHODE'S RESPONSE: What is the Garden of Earthly Delights?

CORRECT RESPONSE: What is "The Scream?"