By Diana Nollen/ SourceMedia
Iowa City native Paul Nelson’s quest for the right questions came to an end in today’s (2/22/13) semifinal round of the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions.
Nelson, 24, a former U.S. Senate aide now in the U.S. Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., finished in third place after missing the Final Jeopardy category on Italy, where the correct answer was Umbria. He wagered half of his $4,000 earnings.
He and second-place winner Jason Keller didn’t stand a chance against Keith Whitener, who ran away with the Double Jeopardy round, racking up $32,400 in today’s play. He had the right answer, but bet nothing, so takes the full amount into the Tournament Finals, which begin Monday.
Keller, a tutor from Highland Park, N.J., earned his Tournament of Champions spot with $213,900 in previous winnings, while Whitener, a research chemist from Charlotte, N.C., qualified with $147,597 in prior earnings.
Back in November, Nelson won $54,900 in first-place finishes, plus another $2,000 for finishing second in his final fall appearance.
Tournament of Champions semifinalists win $10,000.
At one point in today’s play, Nelson apologized to his “granny” in Canada for missing the answer Georgia Strait in previous play — since he’s crossed the strait at least four times when going to visit his grandmother. He is the son of Scott and Tracy Nelson of Iowa City.
“Jeopardy!” airs at 11:30 a.m. on KWWL Channel 7 in the Corridor.