5. Don’t Overthink It
While the Jeopardy writers strive for clever clues, they don’t try to trick you. They like brain-teasers but not deception. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen contestants get it wrong by overthinking the clue.
I’m one to talk. In my second game I faced this question in the category “Dinnerware”: “The Anne Boleyn character jug made by Royal Doulton has one of these weapons as a handle.” To this day I remember my thought process: Anne was the second wife of King Henry VIII. She was accused of treason and beheaded—axe!—but in reality she was innocent. Her death was the result of treachery—dagger!—but would a dagger make a good handle on a pitcher, or would an axe be better … but wait, she was actually executed by sword, not axe, so—sword!—but that wouldn’t make a good pitcher handle, so it has to be dagger. As a famous philosopher once said: D’oh! The answer was axe. Yes, technically she wasn’t killed by an axe but a sword, but the popular image of the headsman is a guy with an axe, so I should have gone with the obvious.
When playing Jeopardy, always remember good Friar William of Occam and his razor.