What is War Eagle? It’s what Elizabeth Williams kinda sorta wishes she’d written down for her Final Jeopardy answer on Monday. Heck, we all do. But what she went with, a response almost identical to Cliff Clavin’s Jeopardy swan song on a Season 8 episode of Cheers, was still pretty awesome—so awesome it upstaged the return of Alex Trebek’s mustache, at least as far as the Internet is concerned.
USA Today did something on it. Uproxx. The Washington Post (but that was actually because of her “riveting take” on Alex’s ‘stache). The Huffington Post called her response “The Best Fail Ever.”
“The Cheers gag, I sort of had it in the back of my mind as a backup plan in case I choked in Final Jeopardy,” says Williams, who despite not recognizing a quote from Dr. Seuss’ sister still wound up winning Jeopardy’s Season 31 premiere (her two day total: $13,800 — watch her in action here).
Showing up on Williams’ screen: “Who is someone who has neve…”
Cliff Clavin’s response to the clue “Archibald Leach, Bernard Schwartz, and Lucille LeSueur (the real names of Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, and Joan Crawford): “Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?” (Can’t see the video? Try here.)
“Too bad there wasn’t enough time to write the whole thing down,” Williams says.
What she wishes she’d written instead would have been a lot shorter.
“My only regret—the thing that’s been haunting me since that date—is that I didn’t write down ‘War Eagle!!!’
Williams, a 34-year-old business research librarian currently living on Capitol Hill, is a lifelong Auburn fan. Auburn is her hometown–at least according to Facebook.
“I grew up in Beauregard and went to high school there, but most of my friends went to Auburn High, and that’s where I tend to tell people I’m from,” Williams says. “I mean, who’s ever heard of Beauregard?”
Her parents still live in Beauregard. On Monday, they hosted a Jeopardy watch party at their house for friends and family, including State Sen. Tom Whatley, Williams’ first cousin.
Williams’ Lee County roots actually stretch back more than 150 years.
“We are an Auburn family through and through,” Williams says. “I learned to sing the War Eagle fight song before I learned Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
Williams’ grandfather attended Auburn back in the API days. Her mom graduated from AU in 1973, her dad in 1974.
Harrison Williams, her younger brother, graduated from AU in 2006 and currently teaches World History at Auburn Junior High. Her uncle, James Whatley, pretty much founded FarmHouse Fraternity at Auburn.
Williams, yearning for “a going-off-to-school college experience”, headed for the College of Charleston after high school, in part “because it didn’t have a football team. I… didn’t want to have to divide my loyalties, sports-wise.”
Williams says she tries to make it home for at least one Auburn game a year. This season, it’ll be the South Carolina game. She won’t forget to “War Eagle.”
“The Cheers thing is garnering me a lot of attention… but hearing Alex Trebek say ‘War Eagle’ on national TV would’ve been priceless.”
More Jeopardy-related Auburn stuff:
* Auburn English professor on Jeopardy! today, gives ‘War Eagle’ in promo
* ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant thinks Texas legend Mack Brown won more than 150 games at Auburn
* Video Of Jeopardy! Contestant Bombing Auburn-Cam Question
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* Recent Auburn grad featured in ABC News segment on professional Viners
* Bo knows Jesus
* What legendary FSU AD John Bridgers had to do during practice when he played for Auburn in the early 40s
* The great Samford Tower Mickey Mouse clock caper of 1977
* Fore Eagle! Auburn fan Zach Manning describes the moment he found Rory McIlroy’s tee shot in his shorts pocket
* Teen who poured her Auburn soul out after wisdom teeth extraction recovering nicely, dishes dirt on Dayton
* ‘Looks like he’s gotten a little faster’: Jake Longenecker’s former high school coach proud of Auburn ball boy’s newfound fame
* Auburn-educated astronaut wanted ‘War Eagle’ to be first words on the moon
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Even better if her answer had been: “What is buck fama?”