Deeper into Jeopardy! IV: Surrealism – $2000

Jeopardy! category: SURREALISM (04-02-2014)

$2000 clue: “Dog Barking at the Moon” is by this countryman of Picasso & Dali who ran with the Surrealists in the 1920s (visual clue: click the link to see)

Correct response

The gist: A ladder, a wispy bird, an irregularly-shaped moon, and a colourful dog that somehow reminds me of Snoopy on a brown groundline is all the painting presents. The simple composition perhaps belies the meaning the artist may have had in mind in its creation. Continue reading

Deeper into Jeopardy! IV: Surrealism – $1600

Jeopardy! category: SURREALISM (04-02-2014)

$1600 clue: Surrealism popped up in ’80s music as this band’s song “Debaser” took off from Bunuel’s film “Un Chien Andalou”

Correct response

The gist: “Got me a movie, I want you to know/ Slicin’ up eyeballs, I want you to know.” Continue reading

Deeper into Jeopardy! IV: Surrealism – $800

Jeopardy! category: SURREALISM (04-02-2014)

$800 clue: He painted a pipe with the baffling caption “This is not a pipe”

Correct response

The gist: La trahison des images (or The Treachery of Images) is pretty simple; it’s a nice painting of a wooden smoking pipe with the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” (handily translated in the clue) written below in a pleasing cursive.And, of course, the words don’t lie. The painted pipe is not a pipe – it’s a bunch of paint and canvas arranged such that it looks like an actual physical pipe you might actually hold in your hand. But it isn’t one of those. It’s just a picture of one. Right? Continue reading

Deeper into Jeopardy! IV: Surrealism – $400

This week, we leave the now-notorious (for some strange reason) Jeopardy! wiz Arthur Chu behind for a few weeks while the Battle of the Decades commences. A warning: judging by my own scores for the past week, this tournament is really hard. But all the more reason to look closer at some of the clues! I was hoping to tackle the Double J! Physics category that appeared on 7-2-2014, since we haven’t had any science yet, but unfortunately, at the time of this writing that game hasn’t been added to the J!Archive yet. So instead we’ll jump into some visual art, something we also haven’t done yet, with 4-2-2014’s Double J! Surrealism.


Jeopardy! category: SURREALISM (04-02-2014)

$400 clue: A surrealist word game produced the phrase “cadavre exquis”, which lives on in the name of the journal “Exquisite” this

Correct response

The gist: “Le cadavre / exquis / boira / le vin / nouveau.” Like a French MadLibs, those absurd words, written in turn by luminaries like Marcel Duchamp, Yves Tanguy, André Breton, and others, (possibly) helped spur on the young Surrealist movement. Continue reading

Deeper into Jeopardy! III: What a literary character! – $1000

Jeopardy! category: WHAT A LITERARY CHARACTER! (27-01-2014)

$1000 clue: Because his own life is so boring, this title character in a 1939 story lives a “Secret Life” in his imagination

Correct response

The gist: I only knew the correct response to this one because of the recent Ben Stiller movie of the same name – I had no idea that it was based on (loosely – “inspired by” might be a better way to put it) a previous work, but here we are. Continue reading

Deeper into Jeopardy! III: What a literary character! – $800

Jeopardy! category: WHAT A LITERARY CHARACTER! (27-01-2014)

$800 clue: By first names, this title group is Alyosha, Ivan, Dmitri & Smerdyakov

Correct response

The gist: Alyosha is the quiet, kind, thoughtful acolyte in the local monastery. Ivan is the analytical genius student of philosophy, back home to visit the family. Dmitri is the party animal, spending his money on wine and women, in love with a local girl. Smerdyakov is the abandoned, illegitimate son of the other three’s father, brought up as a servant in his father’s their father’s household. OK, the Muscovite sitcom I was trying to put together may have fallen apart with that last one, but of course, this is no TV show. Continue reading

Deeper into Jeopardy! III: What a literary character! – $600

Another slight format change: I’m going to start putting the main body of the posts “below the fold,” starting from the sentence in “The gist” where I first say the correct response – just click “Continue reading” or the post’s title for the rest. If you prefer it the old way, please let me know!

Jeopardy! category: WHAT A LITERARY CHARACTER! (27-01-2014)

$600 clue: This character “piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage & hate felt by his whole race”

Correct response

The gist: “He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.” Continue reading

Deeper into Jeopardy! III: What a literary character! – $400

A slight format change today: I’m going to start hiding the correct response in a spoiler box – just click on it to expand and reveal. This is just going to make it a lot easier for me if and when I decide to change the colour scheme around here.

Jeopardy! category: WHAT A LITERARY CHARACTER! (27-01-2014)

$400 clue: He works for Scrooge & is Tiny Tim’s father

Correct response
The gist: Dickens, with his prolific output, numerous adaptations, and plain old 19th century charm, is a perennial Jeopardy! favourite. A Christmas Carol often turns up around the Holiday season, but it’s far from unheard of at other times, too. The story tells of miserly old Ebenezer Scrooge and the things he sees while taking a tour through alternate realities by a menagerie of ghosts (or that’s how I choose to interpret it, at least). Continue reading

Deeper into Jeopardy! III: What a literary character! – $200

Well, we’ve covered one category of military history and another of modern presidential politics, both “important men” categories. That’s not all of history, nor all of politics, nor all of what Jeopardy! asks about, so this week we’ll be looking at a more literary category. In the coming weeks we’ll work on some science, some pop culture, some art, some geography, and more, so stay tuned.

Jeopardy! category: WHAT A LITERARY CHARACTER! (27-01-2014)

$200 clue: Simon LeGree is a brutal slave driver in this 19th century work

Correct response (highlight to see): UNCLE TOM’S CABIN

The gist: Uncle Tom’s Cabin (highlight to see that, too) mightbe the most-asked about work that I know next to nothing about. Something about slavery, right? Right. Anyway, let’s change that, shall we? Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 abolitionist novel was an instant best-seller, moving over a million copies worldwide within a year of its publication (in 1852, a huge deal). Although it’s often seen as an encapsulation of paternalistic racism in the modern day, it had an enormous impact on the antebellum United States, the abolitionist movement, and attitudes toward slavery in general.* Much more than just “something about slavery” as I sardonically put it, though, the book also explores the themes of liberty, loyalty, Christianity and spirituality, feminism, compassion, forgiveness, and many others.

Simon LeGree was the titular Tom’s third owner in the course of the novel, after being sold by the Shelbys in Kentucky and purchased by the St. Clares of New Orleans. Marie St. Clare breaks her dead husband’s promise to not sell Tom (Tom had saved their daughter Eva  from drowning before he was purchased, but Eva had subsequently died). Both the Shelbys and St. Clares had treated Tom well, but LeGree was well-known as a cruel slavedriver. His treatment continually tests Tom’s deep-held faith in God; he is beaten mercilessly when he refuses to whip a fellow slave, and LeGree, a Satan figure if there ever was one, resolves to break his faith, and nearly succeeds in doing so before Tom experiences two visions, one of Jesus and one of Eva, the Shelby’s daughter whom he had saved and befriended, that restore his resolve. He helps Cassy and Emmeline, whom LeGree had kept as sex slaves, escape to Canada, and LeGree beats Tom to death when he refuses to say where they had gone. George Shelby, Tom’s first owner, tragically arrives too late to save Tom by purchasing him back – we may be meant to take solace in the fact that Tom had stayed in God’s grace, and his Passion-like quiet defiance in the face of destruction is a symbol for the unshakeable Christian love that Stowe believed was a precursor to the abolition of slavery. LeGree may not meet a satisfying fate by the end of the novel, but Tom’s death has symbolically destroyed the institution that LeGree stands for.

LeGree with his hounds searching for the runaways Cassy and Emmeline on the cover of a comic book adaptation of the novel

The clue: Several of hints in this one, although LeGree is well-known enough that many players probably don’t need any more than his name. Of course, as we discussed, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is probably the most important and influential novel involving brutal slave drivers of all time, let alone of the 19th century, so that’s a good guess. Definitely not a clue that’s out to trick you – the only pitfall I can think of (although there are probably more) would be The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which is also from the 19th century (1884), but if the show asks about Huck and slavery it nearly always also mentions Jim, that book’s escaped slave character.

In Jeopardy!: A search of “Uncle Tom,” either as the character or as part of the novel’s title, returns 76 regular clues and five Final Jeopardy! clues, with 70 and two having to do with the book itself, respectively (two of them have to do with a different literary Tom, Henry Fielding’s 1749 The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, whose founder turns out to be his uncle). Those are big numbers, befitting such an important (and American) book. Most often the correct response is either “Harriett Beecher Stowe” or “Uncle Tom’s Cabin;” a few relate to Stowe’s biography and some connect the novel to other books. LeGree shows up in 19 regular clues himself, more often that not without mention of the book. He often shows up along with words like “slavemaster”or “slave owner,” often with Stowe (or looking for Stowe as the response), and often with a year between 1851 (when Stowe began writing the novel) and 1854 (when it was published in full, after two years of serialization). The novel is definitely one of the more important ones for Jeopardy!, and LeGree is a relatively important character to be able to identify as well.


* But beware of those quoting Lincoln as having said of Stowe, “So, this is the little lady who started this great war.” That quote is almost certainly apocryphal.