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Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

A 'Jeopardy!' contestant lost $3,200 for mispronouncing 'gangsta'



A contestant on “Jeopardy!” lost $3,200 when he mispronounced “gangsta” during a recent appearance on the game show.

“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek on Monday deducted the amount from Nick Spicher after he said “gangster” rather than the proper word.

Spicher made the error that evening while responding to the $1,600 clue in the MUSIC & LITERATURE BEFORE & AFTER category.

The category asked players to combine the title of one musical work with one literary one to answer a question.

“A song by Coolio from ‘Dangerous Minds’ goes back in time to become a 1667 John Milton classic,” Trebek said.

“What is gangster’s paradise lost?” Spicher said, prompting Trebek to initially award him $1,600 before reversing course.

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“Our judges have reevaluated one of your responses a few moments ago Nick,” Trebek told Spicher.

“You said ‘gangster’s’ instead of ‘gangsta’s’ on that song by Coolio, so we take $3,200 away from you so you’re now in second place.”

“Paradise Lost” is Milton’s 1667 epic poem concerning Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve resulting in the fall of man.

“Gangsta’s Paradise” is a song from Coolio’s 1995 album of the same name, a single which also appeared on the soundtrack for “Dangerous Minds,” a movie released the same year.

“Jeopardy!” on Tuesday posted an explanation of the decision to have Trebek rule that Spicher had incorrectly answered the question.

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“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 statement said.

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

Spicher ultimately won Final Jeopardy during Monday’s broadcast, and he has since taken responsibility for the mix-up on Twitter.

“My first thought was, ‘Didn’t I say ‘gangsta?’ and I kind of wanted to hear the tape,” he tweeted. “I assume they listened to it quite enough to definitively determine it.”

“And since that was my reaction, that of course means that yes, ‘Gangsta’s’ would have been correct,” Spicher added. “They had every right to call me out on it.”

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