A Jeopardy! "case book"

Quite often, Jeopardy! viewers take to social media to object to some decision that the show's host or judges have made. This persists despite continual efforts exerted by both the show itself and plugged-in fans such as Andy Saunders of The Jeopardy! Fan and myself. Here, I'm compiling examples of how the show interprets its rules to ensure a fair game for everyone who plays it — including some instances in which it falls short of the mark in that respect. An important link to share at this point is 5 Jeopardy! Rules Every Contestant Should Know; I'll make reference to it at points throughout this page.

I'm immensely thankful to the all-volunteer team over at J! Archive for providing the source material for this. Particularly, the "game responses" page for each game enabled me to quickly identify rulings that were reversed or occasioned attention for other reasons. As a result, I was able to find every instance of the judges overruling an original call for the one-year period from February 2018 to February 2019, as well as other rulings. Many of the examples you'll see below come from that period, along with others that stick out in my mind.

Table of contents

Alternative responses

Categorical ambiguity



The first of those "5 rules" I referred to above

For clarity, I'll quote that rule in its entirety:
Contestants may change their responses as long as neither [the host] nor the judges have made a ruling.
This is one area in which I think the show has not been entirely consistent; this may owe to the host initially ruling one way and being immediately overruled by the judges' table. Let's look at some examples. With all due respect to Fenster and his two opponents on February 1, 2018, I think a football analogy sums this section up best. Whether a response is correct or not is akin to breaking the plane of the goal line — that is, it's within the scope of review. Whether a player's self-correction is before Alex's ruling is his judgment call and not subject to review.

… and the second of those rules

Again, to save a click, I'll quote here the rule to which I'm referring:
Correct responses must satisfy the demands of both the clue and the category.


Phrasing of responses

Forbidden wagers

Handling complex overturns, and "asymmetric application"

Final Jeopardy!, and being invited back

Spelling and pronunciation

Partial responses

Handling problems in Final Jeopardy!

Other instances of players challenging again

"Named rules"

Over the last several years, I've taken to thinking of certain aspects of the game as being appropriate to be associated with particular people. For the most part, I'm introducing these terms for the first time; with one exception, they don't appear in the J! Archive glossary.

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