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'Jeopardy!' Fans Outraged After All Three Contestants Punished Despite Giving Correct Answer

A clue about Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn didn't leave contestants stumped—but their mispronunciations of his name tanked their earnings.

Hannah Wilson, Sami Casanova, and Juveria Zaheer on "Jeopardy".
Sony Pictures Television

What's in a name? Or at the very least, the pronunciation of a name?

Well, for recent Jeopardy!contestants Hannah Wilson, a data scientist from Chicago, Sami Casanova, an actuary from New York City, and Juveria Zaheer, a Canadian psychiatrist, the answer to that question was $1600.

As that is the amount all three of the contestants lost for their incorrect answer to a question on Monday's show, or rather, this being Jeopardy!, their incorrect question to an answer.

Even though all three technically answered correctly.

The rather unusual circumstance took place on Monday's episode of the iconic quiz show, when Casanova chose the $1600 answer in the category "The Quotable Alex".

Host Mayim Bialik then read the answer:

"An author and former prisoner: ‘Socialism of any type and shade leads to a total destruction of the human spirit."

While all three contestants knew the correct answer, Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, they were each still marked incorrect as none of them managed to correctly pronounce his name.

You can see the moment below:

After all three contestants struck out, Bialik admitted that Solzhenitsyn's surname was a "tricky one to pronounce", before revealing the correct pronunciation of the author's name.

According to Jeopardy! rules, all answers must be "phonetically correct", hence why none of the three contestants banked the $1600.

Interestingly though, had the answer been the clue for Final Jeopardy, and all three had misspelled Solzhenitsyn', they could have all still been deemed correct if the spelling had the correct phonetics.

While Wilson, Casanova, and Zaheer all took the ruling in stride, particularly Wilson, the episode's returning champion who continued her winning streak and took home a further $34,200 that night, the ruling did not sit well with Jeopardy! viewers.

Many of whom swiftly took to Twitter to let their displeasure be known.

Wilson continued her winning streak, having now won seven games and earning a total of $189, 801.

Should anyone not want to find themself in the same, unlucky position as these three Jeopardy contestants, the correct pronunciation of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn can be heard in the video below.