Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time champ Ken Jennings on why the NW is fertile ground for trivia fans – OregonLive

The entertaining and suspenseful Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament came to a conclusion Tuesday night, when Ken Jennings emerged as the winner. Jennings won a trophy, $1 million, and the title of the greatest of all time.

Jennings, and his fellow champions, James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter, put on a splendid show in three matches last week, and in the fourth, and deciding match Tuesday, on ABC. Jennings entered Tuesdays match having already won two, Holzhauer had won one, and Rutter hadnt won any.

Despite Holzhauer putting together an impressive run in the second game of Tuesdays match, Jennings earned the win with a combination of canny wagering, and knowing the correct answer.

In addition to his Jeopardy! achievement, Jennings has Northwest roots. Its no accident, he said after a Jan. 8 panel appearance at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, that someone from the Northwest should know so much about so many topics.

A Seattle-area native who is now again living in the Washington city, Jennings said the Northwest rainy climate makes it easy to read, and consume all sorts of media. Its depressing, Jennings said, jokingly. You dont want to go outside.

James Holzhauer gives Ken Jennings a tribute, as Brad Rutter looks on, during "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time." (Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless)ABC

On a more serious note, Jennings said, the Northwest has also produced several winners of the National Geographic GeoBee competition for young people, an event that Alex (Trebek) used to host.

I was an indoor kid, recalled Jennings, who spent many of his growing-up years abroad, with his family. As his website says, Jennings was an avid viewer of Jeopardy! on the Armed Forces Network. If my parents made us go outdoors for a couple of hours in the summer, we would often end up standing at the glass, wondering when we could come back in, and watch our game shows.

Related: Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time players spill info on strategy, game play, inside jokes (no pants!)

Jennings also gets to Portland sometimes, as he said following the press tour panel for Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.

I was in Portland last week, Jennings said. I spent a hundred bucks at Powells (bookstore). We were coming back from Cannon Beach -- my kids love the Oregon coast. My grandparents lived in Eugene when I was a kid, so wed always spend our summers in Oregon."

Jennings notched his Greatest of All Time victory Tuesday thanks to the Final Jeopardy clue, which was: He has 272 speeches, the most of any non-title character in a Shakespeare tragedy.

Putting their answers in the form of a question, in correct Jeopardy! style, the three champs revealed what they had written. Rutter, who didnt know the right answer, wrote a tribute to longtime host Alex Trebek: Who is, Youre the best, Alex!" As the audience clapped, Rutter joked, Its true, and I should get credit for it."

Holzhauer also had the incorrect answer, and guessed Horatio, a character in Hamlet. He bet all of his points, in his typical all-in style.

Jennings knew the right answer, which was Iago, the villainous character in Othello." Jennings bet nothing, however, which allowed him to end the match with the most points. That earned Jennings the win, the Greatest of All Time title, and $1 million. Holzhauer and Rutter each won $250,000.

More of our coverage:

-- Kristi Turnquist

kturnquist@oregonian.com 503-221-8227 @Kristiturnquist

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Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time champ Ken Jennings on why the NW is fertile ground for trivia fans - OregonLive

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