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A 'Jeopardy' contestant lost thousands for saying 'gangster' instead of 'gangsta'

NBCNick Spicher on ‘Jeopardy.’
  • The “Jeopardy” contestant Nick Spicher lost out on $US3,200 after saying “gangster” instead of “gangsta” in an answer involving Coolio’s 1995 rap hit, “Gangsta’s Paradise.”
  • He initially received points for the answer before the “Jeopardy” judges took the money back after reviewing his pronunciation.

A “Jeopardy” contestant lost thousands in Monday’s show after mispronouncing the name of Coolio’s 1995 rap hit, “Gangsta’s Paradise.”

The show’s host, Alex Trebek, read the following clue from a category in which contestants must combine well-known works of music and literature: “A song by Coolio from ‘Dangerous Minds’ goes back in time to become a 1667 John Milton classic.”

The contestant Nick Spicher correctly identified the substance of the answer by responding “What is Gangster’s Paradise Lost?” and took the lead with $US11,200.

Moments later, however, Trebek interrupted the game to say the show’s judges had reviewed Spicher’s answer and decided it couldn’t count.

“You said Gangster’s instead of Gangsta’s on that song by Coolio,” Trebek said. “We take $US3,200 away from you, so you are now in second place.”

“Jeopardy” later wrote a blog post explaining the difference between “gangsta” and “gangster.”

“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,” the blog post says. “It turns out that ‘gangsta‘ and ‘gangster‘ are both listed separately in the Oxford English Dictionary, each with its own unique definition.”

Spicher would nonetheless go on to win the game.

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