From “What is a diving board?” to “What are food trucks?” Andrew Pau had all the right answers Friday.
Competing on the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions on national television, the 48-year-old Amherst resident scored $29,000 to earn a semifinals spot.
We’re attributing 90 percent of the victory to smarts and 10 percent to luck. An associate professor of music theory at Oberlin College, Pau hit big money when a classical music category popped up in the Double Jeopardy round.
That’s when he took a big risk that paid off, wagering it all and doubling his total by correctly answering a question about Camille Saint-Saens’ “The Carnival of the Animals.” As it happens, Pau’s research at Oberlin focuses on French composers.
Contestants Justin Vossler, a high school history teacher from Homer, N.Y., and Jon Eisenman, an attorney from Los Angeles, Calif., each answered the Final Jeopardy clue incorrectly.
But Pau nailed it.
Posed with, “The Victoria Cross is for military bravery; this cross first given in 1940 and named for Victoria’s great-grandson is for civilian bravery,” he asked, “What is the George Cross?”
The win sends Pau into further competition as the 15-way contest continues.
He’s no stranger to the thrill of the “Jeopardy!” stage, qualifying for the tournament by winning more than $170,000 in six games in April 2016.
Also in the mix is Tim Aten, 36, of Vermilion. After losing an earlier game, he’s still a wild card.
Alten topped $107,000 in winnings last December with a seven-game streak.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.