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February 5, 2014

Battle of the Decades preview: 1980s, game 3

Battle of the Decades – preliminary round
1980s 1990s 2000s
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
knockout rounds

Check out what actually happened.

We have a fascinating slate for the third of five 1980s games: an older TOC champ against two five-timers who didn’t make much of a splash in subsequent play.


Richard Cordray JeopardyRichard Cordray, known best as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, makes an unusual appearance as a sitting government official. As such, he won’t be keeping any of his winnings, but I think any of us would go on the show again for free, right?

He had some decent performances in his regular games, but fell in a crush in the TOC semifinals.


Tom Nosek JeopardyTom Nosek won the TOC in 1993, then got edged out by Frank Spangenberg in the 10th Anniversary Tournament. He had a tough game in the UTOC against my friend John Beck, falling to just under John’s total heading into Final, rendering that clue moot.


Leslie Shannon JeopardyLeslie Shannon, then known by her maiden name of Miller, reached the semifinals of both her TOC (1993) and the Million Dollar Masters (she had tough competition in Eric Newhouse and Bob Harris).

It appears she did not play in the UTOC. I’m unsure why this is; her total was certainly high enough to qualify her.


Prediction: There’s no clear favorite; one could argue that all three players are among the weakest in this field. I’m going with Richard, strictly because I think he’ll have the advantage on the buzzer.


Richard Cordray


Richard had a lock in his third game.

Game 1 (04/01/87)

Richard Susan Larry
7,800 3,900 2,900

Proper wager: 0
Actual wager: 0
Verdict: take the tie and be happy with it. (Susan missed the clue.)

Game 2 (04/22/87)

Richard Scott Marian
5,800 5,200 2,800

Proper wager: 4,600
Actual wager: 4,601
Verdict: good wager. The extra dollar is fine.

Game 4 (04/24/87)

Richard Yaier Donna
9,500 5,100 3,900

Proper wager: 700 (but no more than 1,700)
Actual wager: 1,600
Verdict: confident in the category, he decided to take a stab at some extra cash.

Game 5 (04/27/87)

Richard Bob Eileen
4,200 2,700 1,100

Proper wager: 1,200 (but no more than 1,500)
Actual wager: 1,201
Verdict: +$1 in the fifth game isn’t very nice!

TOC semifinal (11/16/87)

Dave Richard Roger
10,083 6,200 4,500

Proper wager: 6,200
Actual wager: 6,200
Verdict: all-in to win. (Dave also responded correctly.)

Tom Nosek


Tom had locks in the semifinals of his TOC and the 10th Anniversary Tournament, and was locked out of his first-round UTOC game. There are no other relevant games in the J! Archive.

Leslie Shannon


Leslie had a lock in her fourth game.

Game 5 (10/14/92)

Leslie Kyle Kate
10,200 8,700 6,000

Proper wager: 7,200
Actual wager: 7,201
Verdict: another +$1 player!

TOC semifinal (11/23/93)

Marilyn Ed Leslie
8,700 5,800 5,400

Proper wager: 5,400
Actual wager: 5,400
Verdict: good play. More interesting is how Marilyn handles this, since it’s a 2/3 wager-to-tie scenario in a tournament. (She should tack on the dollar, since Leslie forces Ed to wager everything.)

Million Dollar Masters semifinal (05/08/02)

Eric Bob H* Leslie
25,500 14,800 2,800

Proper wager: irrelevant
Actual wager: 2,800
Verdict: she can’t catch Eric, but I’m sure it was fun to share the stage with those two gentlemen.Jeopardy 1980s game 3 matchup

2 Comments
  1. Leslie Shannon permalink

    Just for the record, I wasn’t in the Ultimate Tournament because I was due to give birth three days before my taping date. :-) Jeopardy kindly held the space for me as long as they could in case I gave birth early (ha!), but in the end I had to relinquish my spot to another.

    • Ah! Thanks for sharing, Leslie – I thought my search skills were slipping. 😉 I know the CCs are very good about making changes when necessary – sorry that didn’t work out for you, but you had more important things!

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