Extras By Page


The following is meant to make the book a little extra fun, if you’ve finished your copy and you want to enjoy a few extra bits left out or see what things looked like, all organized by page number.

There’s not much here yet, so don’t take this as representative of anything quite.  And a lot of this will make no sense whatsoever unless you’ve read the thing.  Although you might enjoy a preview of the weirdness anyhow.

Obviously, this isn’t a small project and will take me a while to flesh out, so it’ll just sort of expand as I have the time.  Watch the main or Trebekistan.com blogs, where I’ll mention any new batches of additions, if you’re curious.

Cover: The frame-grab is from the 1998 Tournament of Champions, taken at the precise instant I realized I was about to lose the $100,000 grand prize.

Page ix: In the Table of Contents, the initials of the first eight chapter titles spell out the phrase "W-A-T-C-H-T-H-E," as if similar first-initial sequences may be found elsewhere in the book.  Since Trebekistan spends much of its energy pointing out the sheer randomness of life, I cannot encourage anyone to go looking for more of these.

Page 2: If you do not know your car’s name, this is probably because you haven’t asked nicely.

Page 9: Alex’s star is at 6501 Hollywood Boulevard, near Vincent Price, Ann-Margret, and a convenient liquor store.

Page 10:
World's largest Hiawatha

Page 11: Ironwood, Michigan is at nearly the identical latitude as Sudbury, Ontario, the birthplace of Alex himself.  Make of this what you will.

Page 12: "Merv" is also the name of a city along the Silk Road trading route in Turkmenistan.  Nobody told me this in school, but for a few years in the 12th century, Merv was the biggest city on earth.

Page 14: Years later, Ken Jennings would use the name "Burns Cameron" as an alias when checking into a New York hotel.

Page 15: The Jeopardy! p-TING noise when the Final Jeopardy is revealed is two F notes, an octave apart.  The first tone is F above middle C.  Scientists have found that dying stars pulse at precisely this frequency just before exploding into supernovae.  I know the feeling.

Also on page 15: the attempt to chronicle every clue in the show’s history is the J! Archive.  It’s actually a lot of fun to goof around with, and the guy who runs it is pretty cool.  Go have fun.

Page 16: The Scooby-Doo reference on this page was independently made by Ken Jennings in a blog post which briefly became unfairly notorious.  Clearly, the Clue Crew gives off a detectable crime-solving vibe.

Page 18:
Mosquitoes the size of lawn dartsLawn darts the size of mosquitoes

Page 35: To my knowledge, no one has ever even tried to give these lights a specific name, even during warm-up or during barely-related conversations.  "The Lights" is all anyone needs to mention, and everyone knows which ones you mean.  Given that the studio is literally filled with flashing lights coming from all directions, this may be a measure of the near-hypnotic focus everyone has on the game. 

Page 64: As it happens, doctors and scientists figured out a few years later that vitamin B3 actually does help people with MS.  Of course, if you’ve already read the book, you expect complete coincidences like this.

Page 90: When I wrote the book, I had never seen the category "U.N. Secretaries-General" on the show.  As far as I knew, it had never been an actual set of clues, and so I proposed this as a pure hypothetical.  A few weeks after turning in the manuscript, I was invited by a player named David Madden to attend the 2006 Tournament of Champions as his guest.  Sure enough, the very first game I saw after finishing the book included — yes — "U.N. Secretaries-General."

Page 185: Dan Melia read an early draft and corrected my spelling of "erythema nodosum" off the top of his head.  This is exactly as it should be.

Page 244:
Pudu hiding behind bamboo, not particularly well

Page 277:
Mouse deer near Kuala Lumpur

Page 278:

Page 280:
Five kids in Cairo who helped me find my way

Page 281:

Page 283:
Sibelius monument (and Leslie)

Pages 284-86:
Fairy penguins via nightvision goggles

Pages 309-10:

Incidentally, Dan Melia also corrected my spelling of "Halicarnassus."

Page 319:
,000,000.00... sigh