In the first round of Jeopardy! Wednesday night, Christina McTighe faced the category of “Seussian Keywords.” That was a lucky break: McTighe is a children’s library associate at the Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library.
But by the end of the first round, she was down, and only one question remained. The category was “No. 1 Songs.” Host Alex Trebek read the clue: “A US No. 1 in 1977, it was performed the night before Carl XVI Gustaf’s 1976 wedding to Silvia Sommerlath.”
McTighe ran me through her thinking. “Well I knew Carl Gustaf was the king of Sweden, and since it was the 1970s I figured it had to be Abba, and it was the night before his wedding so ‘Dancing Queen’ made a lot of sense to me. And that’s what it was.”
That string of thoughts helped McTighe win $21,600. She won Wednesday and Thursday’s shows. Tonight, she competes again as she enters into the third round, which airs on WJLA-TV at 7:30.
She caught another break on last night’s show: The last question’s category was poets: “On completing the ‘Deathbed’ edition of his great work, he wrote, ‘L.ofG. at last complete- after 33 y’rs of hackling at it.’”
The answer was Walt Whitman, and “L.ofG.” was Leaves of Grass. McTighe was not the only one to answer it correctly, but she was the one who bet the most. She finished on top with a two-day total of $36,800.
“People who want to work in libraries tend to be curious,” McTighe says. “It’s kind of the profession you go into so you don’t stop learning things.” The hardest parts of Jeopardy! are “the times when your mind goes absolutely blank” or when she doubted herself, because her first instincts is usually right. So far, she has been able to overcome those moments.
After McTighe gracefully sidestepped my not-too-discreet questions about tonight’s outcome, I asked her if there was anything she wanted to tell Washingtonian readers about Jeopardy!
“I think a lot of people think that you have to be so smart to do it, but you know, just do it anyway if it sounds like something fun, and—” she paused, “Get a library card.”