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Entries in Jeopardy (2)

Saturday
Jul202013

7 “Jeopardy!” Blunders By Obama’s Top Consumer Watchdog

Office of Attorney General of Ohio(WASHINGTON) -- This newly installed head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau waited two years for confirmation from the U.S. Senate. He also won Jeopardy! five times in 1987, graduated from both Michigan and Oxford universities, and his last name derives from the French cor de roi, meaning “King’s heart.”

The answer: Richard Cordray.

President Obama‘s new top consumer watchdog is, simply put, a trivia monster. The former Ohio attorney general won five consecutive days of Jeopardy! in 1987–when five was the limit, long before the Ken Jennings era–before losing twice in that year’s Tournament of Champions.

This week, the Senate confirmed him to run the CFPB, a governmental watchdog arm devised to shield consumers from predatory lending and financial abuse. Obama nominated Cordray in July 2011, but Republicans blocked his nomination until this week, having opposed the CFPB’s creation under the massive financial-reform bill in 2010 and having continued to oppose its materialization with an appointed head. They approved Cordray as part of a bipartisan deal on executive nominations.

Cordray’s Jeopardy! run was impressive. Over the course of a week in April 1987, and two Tournament-of-Champions days in November, he missed only 27 questions while correctly answering 141, including six of seven Final Jeopardy! questions. He knows, for instance, that Pericles ruled over the “Golden Age of Athens,” that it was The Hollies who released “Stop, Stop, Stop” in 1966, and that Maria Tallchief was the Osage Indian who danced as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Balanchine’s Nutcracker after their marriage had ended.

Not bad.

But now that Cordray has been appointed to a somewhat controversial job, it’s worth examining his Jeopardy! record with a more critical eye. In other words, what doesn’t Richard Cordray know?

The website J! Archive has sought to compile every Jeopardy! question asked, answer given, and who got it right. (See Cordray’s games here.) A review of Cordray’s misses reveals few gems, but were the Republican National Committee to release an attack memo on his 1987 quiz-show record, it could say that Obama’s top consumer cop whiffed on questions about Santa Claus, FDR, photosynthesis, and Woody Allen, while confusing Rastafarianism with Voodoo and gravity with air–raising dark, troubling questions about his knowledge base.

Here are seven questions on which Cordray missed, according to J! Archive. The rest weren’t all that interesting.

•    Q: If it were not for the retarding influence of this, raindrops would attain bullet-like speeds
CORDRAY: What is gravity?
A: the atmosphere

•    Q: “Of him, Francis Church said ‘Thank God, he lives, & he lives forever… Virginia’”
CORDRAY: “Who is Robert E. Lee?”
A: Santa Claus

•    Q: “In Feb. 1942 radio address he said, ‘Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much’”
CORDRAY: “Who is Winston Churchill?”
A: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

•    Q: “Believers in this Haitian religion say ‘loa’ spirits possess them & ride them like horses”
CORDRAY: “Who are Rastafarians?”
A: Voodoo

•    Q: “The raw materials required for photosynthesis are water & this gas”
CORDRAY: “What is oxygen?”
TREBEK: “Yes, the plant produces oxygen.”
A: carbon dioxide

•    Q: “1982 Woody Allen movie whose title suggests he had a little help from Shakespeare”
CORDRAY: “What is A Midsummer Night’s Dream?”
SUSAN: “What is A Midsummer Night’s Comedy?”
A: A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy

•    Q: “It’s said this part of Peter Stuyvesant’s body was buried with full military honors years before his death”
CORDRAY: “What is his wooden leg?”
A: his (real) leg

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar092011

Rep. Holt: Watson May Not Have Been Trying Hard, but 'Jeopardy!' Highlights ‘Thoughtful Research’

holt[dot]house[dot]gov(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) drew headlines last week as something of a savior for humanity, with his victory over IBM supercomputer Watson in an exhibition round of Jeopardy!

Holt, a five-time Jeopardy! champion back when that was the limit, pointed out on ABC's "Top Line" Wednesday that it was only a demonstration game, and that Watson may not have been trying its hardest: "I'm not sure that Watson wasn't operating on low voltage that night."

But there's a larger point to the experiment, he said: "I was there for a purpose, and so was IBM," said Holt. "The reason they spent five years developing a computer to play a game was to demonstrate what goes into research. And that's why I was there, too."

The technological prowess displayed by Watson, Holt said, shows the importance of public investment in research.

"What's happening now in Congress, we saw this with the HR 1 spending bill for the rest of this year that passed the House of Representatives -- they just want to cut everything, regardless of whether it's going to produce jobs in the future, regardless of whether it's going to produce jobs in the short run," he said. "The reason I played this game was to highlight what comes from thoughtful research."

Watson, he said, is a "tool" that should be celebrated: "It's a tool that has been built by human ingenuity, and that's the kind of thing we want to invest in. That's what builds our economy, that is what has made America great over the decades. And it's true."

"It's science education that underlies that. So we mustn't either vilify teachers or cut the very source of our innovation which is the education in our schools."

We also got Holt's take on some college basketball news -- Holt represents Princeton, N.J., in Congress, and is a former director at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

His call in Saturday's playoff, to determine who will represent the Ivy League in the NCAA Tournament? "Tigers. They beat Penn yesterday. They're on their way. I don't know how they'll do against Duke in the Final Four, but watch Princeton."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio