‘Jeopardy!’ Fans Debate Taylor Swift ‘Tough Ticket’ Daily Double Clue

Ben Goldstein reads the third Daily Double in the Wednesday, June 21, 2023 episode of 'Jeopardy!'
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for the Wednesday, June 21, 2023 episode of Jeopardy!]

Jeopardy! fans are questioning the merits of a Taylor Swift-themed Daily Double from the June 21, 2023 episode, which, much like its answer, was a “tough” one to figure out for one player.

Playing in the Wednesday game was returning champ Ben Goldstein, Nabeela Rahman, and Lee Papa. The clue in question was the third Daily Double of the night, found by Ben in the “alliteration” category during the second round of game play. “In 2022 getting a chance to see Taylor Swift in concert was the definition of this challenging phrase,” the clue read, referencing the Ticketmaster fiasco for Swift’s Eras tour last year. The correct answer was, “What is tough ticket?” But Ben had no guesses to give.

Fans on the Jeopardy! Reddit page agree it was a head-scratcher not because it was particularly difficult, but because of the clue’s argument that “tough ticket” is a well known phrase.

“Tough Ticket is weird phrasing, and given it barely shows up on Google,” one Reddit user commented. “Where are the writers getting this from?” As one viewer replied, “Yeah, that’s not a thing. Weird clue,” another wrote, “I’ve heard the phrase ‘That’s the toughest ticket in town’ in reference to a hot Broadway show, but it might be somewhat old-timey.”

One self-proclaimed “old timer” said they’ve heard “tough ticket” used before, but that they didn’t think it was a universally common phrase.

“I’m an old timer and I can see saying something like, ‘that’s a tough ticket to come by,'” they said. “But I don’t think of tough ticket as a phrase. Tough is just the adjective there. Golden ticket, ticket to ride, ticket out of here – those are phrases. The writers have been simply terrible lately and I feel for the contestants this past week in particular.”

“I’ve heard the phrase, but that was an odd choice for a DD,” one fan noted. “‘I’ve just made something up in my head and now you have to guess what I’m thinking’ is a terrible format for a Jeopardy clue,” said another. “Yesterday’s movie category was basically the same thing.”

Another commenter came up with other Swift-inspired alliterations. “I’ve (barely) heard of a ‘hard ticket,’ but a tough ticket? Really? At that point, what’s stopping me from saying ‘tour tensions’ or ‘Eras ennui’ when referencing how hard it is to get Taylor Swift tickets nowadays?” they said. And as another fan joked, “Any reason ‘shit show’ wouldn’t have been accepted?”

One viewer did come to the writers’ defenses by sharing the Google search results for both “a tough ticket” and “tough ticket.” With over 50 thousand results for the former and over 11 thousand for the latter, it’s clearly not completely unheard of. Although, Google searching either of those phrases without the quotation marks mostly yields results for the definition of “hard ticket.”

In the end, the Daily Double loss didn’t hamper Ben’s overall game. The final results were Ben in first with $16,000, Nabeela in second with $12,200, and Lee in third with $3,199.

What did you think of the “tough ticket” Daily Double? Was it as “weird” of an answer as the Jeopardy! Reddit board implies? Let us know in the comments, and check out the fan reactions to the episode below. It seems “tough ticket” wasn’t the only thing bothering tonight’s viewers.

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