Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

In the Shadow of "Jeopardy!" (Humor)

Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

In the Shadow of "Jeopardy!" (Humor)

Article excerpt

For unexplainable reasons, my wife and I have become "Jeopardy!" junkies. Maybe it's because we like to see other people putting their smarts on the line while we ourselves are smug in the comfort of our home. Or maybe it's just that we think we'd be good contestants.

Our fascination with "Jeopardy!" can't be due to its format. It's not a question-and-answer show, because it always puts the A before the Q. Host Alex Trebek presents an answer, and the contestants have to think backwards and come up with the fitting question. The only thing I do that way is my tax return.

During "Jeopardy!" my wife and I average about three right questions out of ten, two from her and one from me. I spend most of the time trying to catch Alex in a slip of the tongue. He is an articulate guy, but the other night I caught him on an obscure point of grammar. He stated an answer about the amount of liquid it takes "to make a cup runneth over."

I groaned. "That's a boo-boo, Alex."

"It's Biblical language," my wife answered.

"No," I said. "The Bible never makes a cup runneth over."

"Twenty-third Psalm," she said.

"Wrong," I said. "The Psalm says, |My cup runneth over.' It would be ungrammatical to say something makes the cup runneth over."

"I see your point," my wife said. "Something makes it run over."

"That's it," I said. "Runneth means runs. I run, thou runnest, the cup runneth. That lisping -eth is the third-person singular ending. It's never used on an infinitive."

"Shall I get out your chalkboard?" she said.

She had caught me using my lecture voice. …

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