Deeper Into Jeopardy! VI: Islands of the Pacific – $2000

Jeopardy! category: ISLANDS OF THE PACIFIC (19-02-2014)

$2000 clue: Thor Heyerdahl believed this island was once colonized by a redheaded race from South America, possibly Peru

Correct response

The gist: Piloting the Kon-Tiki, a balsa-wood raft constructed based on drawings made by Spanish conquistadores in sixteenth-century Peru, Thor Heyerdahl and his six-man Norwegian-Swedish crew successfully sailed from Callao, Peru to a small islet in the French Polynesian Tuamotu island group. Although his aim was slightly off, he had demonstrated that it was theoretically possible for a craft built on ancient principles (albeit with modern provisions) to successfully sail halfway across the Pacific. Continue reading

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! I: Battle Nations – $2000

Thanks for joining me for the first installment of Deeper Into Jeopardy! We’ll be back next Monday with a new category.

Category: BATTLE NATIONS (17-01-2014)

$2000 clue: Home team France might rather forget this October 1415 English Victory.

Correct response (highlight to see): BATTLE OF AGINCOURT

The gist: The Battle of Agincourt (or ‘Ah-zeh-coor’ as Alex said in his questionable French accent) was a major English victory during the Hundred Years’ War (that the French eventually won, though only almost 40 years later). It was the first major field battle between English and French forces after the “Second Peace” of 1389-1415 (you can see how “Hundred Years’ War” is something of a misnomer), and took place just a few months after the Peace ended – Henry V, the new English king, had sent an envoy to the king of France, Charles VI, to make his claim on French territory, and followed it up with a 10,000-strong army. He laid siege to Harfleur, and by the end of September had taken the city, but winter was setting in and he had to quarter his troops. He elected not to return to England, but to station himself in Calais, English-occupied territory on the mainland. On his way, however, he encountered a very large French army and was forced to fight lest more of his troops succumb to sickness and hunger. A classic example of brains over brawn, Henry made masterful use of his longbowmen, and the French were routed – the English took so many prisoners that they outnumbered the English soldiers, and Henry ordered their execution. Although not decisive, Agincourt was a major victory and led indirectly to Henry’s marriage to King Charles’ daughter Catherine of Valois at the 1420 Treaty of Troyes… although by the end of the War (31 years after Henry’s death), and notably after the rise of Joan of Arc, Charles VII (or the Victorious) would take the French throne. The Battle of Agincourt was such an important event in English history that Shakespeare would make it the focal point of his play Henry V (the King’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech is one of the more famous of Shakespeare’s monologues: “we few, we happy few, we band of brothers…”).

In Jeopardy!: This one was the only clue in the category where the correct response wasn’t a country – instead they supply that information in the clue, and ask you for the more specific information. Luckily they also give you one of the two big clues about Agincourt: 1415. The number shows up 27 times in the J!Archive, and any time fighting is mentioned, the answer is either the (Battle of) Agincourt or Henry V. (Most of the other times 1415 appears, it’s the first through fourth digits of pi after the decimal point, and the rest are about Czech religious thinker Jan Hus, who was burned for heresy in the same year.) The other big thing about Agincourt – the longbows – isn’t mentioned in this clue, but references to it (“archers” or “archery” always, strangely, never “longbows”) appear in several of the other Agincourt clues, although it shouldn’t be confused with the 1346 battle of Crecy, earlier in the Hundred Years’ War, that also relied on longbows to bring the English to victory. The best thing to remember about Agincourt, though, is definitely 1415, followed closely by Henry V as the English commander, especially since that doubles as a Shakespeare clue.