Alex Trebek does not tolerate wrong answers, whether he's spitting rap lyrics himself or simply asking for the title of a famous tune from the genre. One "Jeopardy!" contestant learned that lesson the hard way when he dared to utter an incorrect syllable during Monday's broadcast.
A challenger named Nick got a major reality check -- and lost $3,200 -- while answering a query that required contestants to use a before-and-after structure to combine the title of a famous song with the title of a famous work of literature. Here was the clue in question:
A song by Coolio from "Dangerous Minds" goes back in time to become a 1667 John Milton classic.
The answer the writers were looking for was "Gangsta's Paradise Lost," and when Nick rang in, he said "Gangster's Paradise Lost." While Trebek initially declared Nick's response correct, the host later had to backtrack on behalf of the show's judges, who ruled that that "-a" and "-er" difference was too significant to count as the right reply.
Nick's expression made it clear that he didn't agree with the decision, but the official "Jeopardy!" website defended the judges' ruling with a very simple -- and quite logical -- explanation:
Although Nick's response of "Gangster's Paradise Lost" was initially accepted, the hard R sound caught the ear of one member of the onstage team, who immediately followed up with a quick check.
It turns out that "gangsta" and "gangster" are both listed separately in the Oxford English Dictionary, each with its own unique definition.
Nick changed not only the song's title, but also its meaning – making his response unacceptable.
As "Daily Show" contributor Roy Wood Jr. declared on Twitter, Nick's blunder to start off the New Year should "be a lesson to us all. In 2018, you gotta keep it gangsta at all times. Never Gangster."