Friday, April 4, 2008

I took "Potpourri" for $100, and then my head started to spin

Last night's final question was: What is the maximum number of "answers" that can be read during a game of Jeopardy!?
I think a better question is this: What is the maximum number of possible "questions" (i.e., responses) during a game of Jeopardy!?

Apologies for any confusion caused by the awkward punctuation.


bill said...

Two rounds of 30 answers each, including two daily doubles. Daily doubles can have just one question, every other answer could have three questions. Plus three questions for Final Jeopardy.

58x3 = 174

J. Bowman said...

There are two errors in your answer. Well, one error that I'm 100% certain of, and one that I'm 98% certain of. Neither of them greatly affect the solution.

J. Bowman said...

There are three Daily Doubles (two in the second round), so that subtracts two more, for 177 possible questions.
If each of the answers has three questions, that means at least two contestants are responding incorrectly. That leads to a lot of negative dollars, and contestants with $0 or less are not allowed to compete in Final Jeopardy. It is possible (if, say, one contestant is always incorrect) for two contestants to reach the final round with positive dollars, but not all three. Thus, the maximum number of questions is 176.