Local woman battles contestants in ‘Jeopardy!’ journey

July 31, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

Liz Frost, of Issaquah, got the chance to mingle with Alex Trebek when she was a contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ July 23. Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions Inc.

When Liz Frost gathered with friends July 23 to watch “Jeopardy!” it was an evening seven years in the making.

Frost, an Issaquah accountant, first tried out for the quiz show in 2005 and after two more auditions, got the call in February that her persistence had paid off.

“I don’t know why I believed it was really them,” Frost said about the phone call she received at work from a “Jeopardy!” representative. She was finally going to get the chance to print her name neatly across the contestants’ monitor. “You have to keep trying.”

To prepare for her 15 minutes of fame, Frost poured over general knowledge books and recorded the show every night so she could play along. Exactly a month after her phone call, she was in Los Angeles, taping the show that aired July 23.

“I was a little nervous in getting ready because there is a lot of sitting around and waiting,” she said. “But as soon as the show started I wasn’t nervous anymore.”

Frost first got on the board with the “classical cartoons” category when she correctly asked, “What is ‘The Flintstones?’” putting $600 in her bank. But by the first commercial break she still had not added more to her pot.

“My problem was, in the first round, I couldn’t get the timing of the buzzer down,” said Frost, explaining that if you buzz in too soon, it locks you out for a bit. “That was really frustrating for me.”

After staff gave Frost a few buzzer tips during the commercial break she was able to finish the first round with several correct responses. With $4,200, Frost was just $200 behind second-place player, Kate Mosesso, an attorney from Chicago. Helping Frost gain on her opponents was the “deus x” category, which referenced various gods from different cultures.

“I like mythology and I remember everything I read,” Frost said. “I think that makes you a good candidate for ‘Jeopardy!’”

Finishing the first round in third place meant that Frost got to go first in Double Jeopardy. Out of the gate, she got the first two questions right. It wasn’t long until she was in the lead with $11,400 and found the first Double Jeopardy Daily Double in the “official languages” category. With a wager of $2,000 on the line, Alex Trebek read aloud, “Haiti: French and the Haitian type of this vernacular language.” With the timer running, Frost asked, “What is Creole?” and rested in a comfortable lead.

Eventually, returning champion Andy Baggarly regained the lead and went into Final Jeopardy with $18,800. Frost had $12,200 to wager and Mosesso was in third with $9,200. With “political literature” as the final category, Frost put $8,000 on the line.

“The key message to this title figure in an Italian work is “It is far safer to be feared than loved,” Trebek said of the final clue, and the music started. When the camera settled on Frost, she was smiling. She had written, “Who is the Prince,” to earn a final purse of $20,200. Strategy, however, paid off for Baggarly who had also come up with the correct answer and bet $5,601. His grand total of $24,401 was only $1 more than Frost could have possibly ended up with.

Frost said she knew that even if she bet it all, Baggarly would still probably win. With a second-place prize of $2,000 Frost spent the next week after filming visiting her sister near Santa Barbara.

“It was a nice vacation,” she said. “I would love to do it again, but the rules say I can’t go back on until Alex Trebek retires.”

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