I have loved watching “Jeopardy!” for years, from sick days as a kid watching Art Fleming to time between or after college classes watching Alex Trebek collecting the questions for the given answers. I loved watching it with my dad, and eventually even sharing it by phone. He would watch when he could and save me a particular question and answer, usually the Final Jeopardy one, and see whether I could solve it. We delighted in figuring out a question for the given answer, especially when all three contestants had missed their chances.
So yes, I was very sorry to read about Alex Trebek’s death from pancreatic cancer. But that’s been covered elsewhere, and better. Here in my language-centered corner of the world, I am left wondering what to do about expressions like the headline I’ve just used. For gentle sarcasm, strange questions, or avoiding having to say “That’s so obvious,” there’s a whole adjustable brand of “Jeopardy”-related slang — “I’ll take (category) for (dollar amount), Alex,” with the category what you’re talking about and the dollar value for just how hard the problem is (of course).
But those expressions were always addressed to Alex! Now what? Will this fun little slang expression stay in its present form until people wind up asking “Alex who?”
Over the weekend just past, I heard several people refer to others as “dressed to the nines.” I wonder what answers I’d have gotten if I asked the speakers “Nine what?”
(Actually, it’s an old British expression for when the ordinary seats in a theatre cost sixpence, but the better seats — the ones more worth dressing up for — cost ninepence. Thus, dressed for the ninepence seats became “dressed to the nines.”)
So the final category is Favorite Game Shows. Bet your whole bank that my question is “What is ‘Jeopardy!'”? (A pain in the neck to punctuate, that’s what that is.)
Rest in peace, Alex Trebek.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.