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What An Idiot / Wheel of Fortune

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Idiotic answers aren't all that rare on game shows. Wheel of Fortune has aired five days a week since January 6, 1975 (as two different versions from 1983-91 and 1997-98), so it has amassed quite a few. When you're on, you may have a lot of money on the line already, and you may also feel destined to make it to the end for the grand prize. An incomplete puzzle stands in your way, or you rely on a lucky spin of the Wheel itself... possibly both. Somebody is bound to reach their limit and wind up right here.


Note: As with the other Game Show pages in What an Idiot!, some of the following contestants may very well have given these stupid answers on purpose, while others earnestly are stumped or give an obviously incorrect answer on what many viewers would think is an easy question. More than once, host Pat Sajak — especially when nearly the entire puzzle is showing and it goes unsolved or the contestant calls a wrong letter — has told the audience that playing the game at home or from the studio audience is far different than it is for the contestants, who are under stress to do well and sometimes just say the wrong answer (if they provide a guess at all) or crack under pressure. That doesn't make them any less stupid, mind you, but instead become far more worthy of being here.

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    In General... 
  • Spin, buy a vowel, or solve... but you only have 5 seconds, so do not get buzzed out.
    • Especially if you've hit the "Express" space in Round 3 and are going for $1,000 a pop, as any mistake counts as a Bankrupt then.
  • Pretty much any time a contestant makes it clear they do not know the answer to any puzzle even with enough letters revealed.
  • On a few rare occasions, the puzzle was entirely filled in but incorrectly solved:
    • SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS on the daytime version when Rolf Benirschke hosted.
    • Subverted by DESE DEM AND DOSE GUYS on October 17, 1989. The contestant read off the first word as "Desi" instead of a thickly-accented "These". Pat asked for a ruling, and then said, "Listen, he's got all the letters up, I'm taking it."
    • Week of September 3, 1990: DOUBLE INDEMNITY (INDEMNITY was mispronounced without the second N).
    • A Megaword of PRISTINELY on December 16, 1994 (mispronounced as "prist-a-nell-y").
    • FRANCIS FORD AND SOFIA COPPOLA on January 2, 2004 (COPPOLA was read "cu-POH-la").
    • A Clue puzzle of OVERHAND SQUARE & SHEEPSHANK ARE TYPES on April 1, 2004 (SHEEPSHANK was read "sheep's hank").
    • REGIS PHILBIN & KELLY RIPA on January 4, 2010, is listed further below.
    • MYTHOLOGICAL HERO ACHILLES on April 11, 2014 (ACHILLES was read "Ay-chill-us").
    • FLAMENCO DANCE LESSONS on April 9, 2018 (was mispronounced as "Flamingo"). Even worse, the contestant did it on Express.
    • Also on the Finnish version, a contestant fills in the puzzle PANDAT ASUVAT KIINASSA ("Pandas live in China") all by himself. However, he mispronounces the third word as KILMASSA (thus making the puzzle "Pandas live in heat"), losing a substantial amount of points. The next contestant solves for zero points.
  • Season 12 (1994-95): One for the producers: The Megaword category. It consisted of a vocabulary word ranging from eight to thirteen letters in length and if solved, the contestant had to use it in a sentence for a $500-bonus. Pat eventually grew to detest the category on the air and lampshaded its usage numerous times. Every time the category was featured, the pace screeched to a grinding halt with numerous turns lost due to wrong letter calls.
    • As mentioned above, one contestant missolved a completely revealed Megaword, PRISTINELY, by mispronouncing it.
    • Some contestants had no idea of the context of certain words, leading to sentences such as "Being on Wheel of Fortune is a BOMBASTIC experience."
  • Calling the same letter twice in the same puzzle will make you lose your turn, which is the reason why there's a Used Letter Board offscreen to help contestants.
    • You'd Expect: Maybe one accidental repeated letter every now and then. This happens often enough that a contestant shouldn't kick himself for doing it. Furthermore, if the repeat happens on Free Play, the contestant can at least confide in keeping the turn.
    • Instead: During the week of May 13, 2002, a College Week episode, three repeated letters were called in one round, with the contestants apparently failing to realize the rule that's been in place since the show's very beginning.
    • Then: Years later, in a Hawaiian episode of Wheel, the game has entered the speed-up round. The blue player has just called L, which was not in the puzzle, so the turn immediately goes to the red player.
    • You'd Expect: For him to call another letter that has not yet been called.
    • Instead: He ends up repeating the L five seconds after the blue player had called it. He realizes his goofup immediately, and folds over while Pat snarks he could wait a few more seconds before calling the same letter.
  • Whenever a Toss-Up goes unsolved, at least one contestant has made a mistake that would end up on this page.
    • A bizarre exception was the first Toss-Up on September 19, 2008, with the theme "Nothing But the Best". FINE WINE, under the category Rhyme Time, had the W as the last remaining letter that had not been revealed. The answer at that point could have been FINE LINE among other things, although most other solutions don't fit the theme.
  • If the category is Before & After (two phrases joined by a word that ends the first phrase and starts the second), remember the "After" segment!
  • Knowing the answer to a puzzle but calling only one letter that appears less frequently than another remaining letter. This is generally in hindsight only, save for what may be the clearest example possible (starting at about 0:40).
  • During the Mystery Round, any time someone has most of the puzzle revealed and calls a correct letter on a Mystery Wedge. Said contestant already has an insurmountable lead with one or more of the following: one or both ½ Car tags (from 2011-2019), the Million Dollar Wedge, the Wheel Prize and the Wild Card with the Prize Puzzle (from 2003-2011) at stake.
    • You'd Expect: The contestant to just take the consonants that were called at $1,000 a pop and forget about flipping the wedge, lest they risk losing it all to Bankrupt. It's not worth the gamble.
    • Instead: A handful of contestants have chosen to flip the wedge only to find the Bankrupt on the other side.
    • Subverted: If someone is behind by a wide margin and the $10,000 on the other side would put the contestant within striking distance of the leader (even while possessing the Million Dollar Wedge, in which case it would be acceptable to go for it).
  • Similarly, if the contestant has a huge lead in the Express Round, possesses any of the items listed above and calls a correct letter on the Express Wedge...
    • You'd Expect: If the contestant doesn't know the puzzle to forget about hopping aboard since calling a wrong letter acts as a Bankrupt. It's not worth the gamble, especially considering the Prize Puzzle is at stake in this round.
    • Instead: A contestant on December 21, 2015 hops aboard with $8,250 and both ½ Car tags and proceeds to wipe out on his next letter call, losing his cash and ½ Car. The next contestant capitalizes by solving for the Prize Puzzle.
  • Using the Wild Card to call a second consonant on a relatively low dollar amount. On December 26, 2013, a contestant did this on $500 immediately after picking it up and wound up going to the Bonus Round where the Wild Card could have been much more beneficial.
    • If that wasn't bad enough, someone on January 6, 2014 used the Wild Card on the now-retired $450.
    • Another contestant on January 19, 2007 used it on the also retired $400.
    • One couple in April 2017 used the card on only $600, but the bonus cash proved worthless since they then solved and ended up below the couple house minimum of $2,000, wasting the card. They also went on to the bonus round where the Wild Card could have been much more useful.
  • Using Free Play to call a vowel you know is in the puzzle when you do not know the answer, generally indicated by a wrong letter at any point afterwards. Somewhat excusable if you cannot afford a vowel at that time, or subverted if you figure out the answer from that.
  • In the main game, any contestant who tries to solve with only a few letters revealed only to not make a serious attempt at doing so. This most often occurs during the Speed-Up but here's a clear otherwise example.
  • Solving a Same Letter puzzle while the same letter hasn't been called yet. Starting in Season 32, the category has awarded a $1,000-bonus for calling said letter, giving contestants the chance to earn at least $2,500 with one spin. However, this hasn't stopped contestants from solving the puzzle with that letter unrevealed. Forgiven if it's a Prize Puzzle.
  • When the category is Rhyme Time, solving with an answer that doesn't rhyme.
  • On modern-day episodes, ringing in on the $1,000 Toss-Up and making a guess that has nothing to do with the week's theme. For example, if the theme is "America's Game" and the puzzle is B_____ CREAM PIE, the answer is much more likely be BOSTON CREAM PIE rather than the also-fitting BANANA CREAM PIE. The other two Toss-Ups are usually unrelated.
    • March 24, 2014: Combined with the above point about Rhyme Time, Girlfriend Getaways week starts off with a team guessing CLICK CLACK instead of CHICK FLICK.
  • Contestants who shout the answer to a Toss-Up puzzle without ringing in first. Typically when this happens, another contestant will ring in with the answer they just heard. Forgiven if the third contestant has done so after the other two have buzzed in with incorrect guesses, and Pat will usually accept the answer anyway.
  • During the Speed-Up, any contestant who tries to solve without calling a letter first. In this case, the three-second time limit starts immediately after the first guess and contestants are not allowed to call a letter after trying to solve. Furthermore, with consonants worth at least $1,500 apiece, you'd be leaving money on the table. Subverted if only vowels remain since they're worth no money. Also subverted if it's a team episode, you have no money, only singles remain, and consonants are worth anything besides $6,000 apiece, as one consonant from any other possible value still would not surpass the house minimum of $2,000.
    • February 1, 2008 (Teen Best Friends): A team solves SHOPPING SPREE immediately upon receiving their turn when consonants are worth $6,000 apiece and the only consonants remaining are the three P's. Although they were in the lead anyway, they still passed up a free $18,000.
    • September 20, 2018: With __TERPR__F __DERS showing in a Speed-Up, the yellow contestant blurts out the answer of WATERPROOF WADERS instead of calling the W... and loses by $100.
  • Also during the Speed-Up, contestants who obviously know the puzzle when it's not their turn, then upon receiving their turn, call a consonant that appears only once when there are multiples elsewhere. Usually, this is due to eager contestants pouncing on their potential round win by calling the first unrevealed consonant when reading the puzzle out in order. Subverted if there are only singles left in the puzzle anyway.
    • February 14, 2013: With the puzzle appropriately being WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE? and consonants worth $6,000 each, the yellow team's turn comes and the wife confidently calls W and solves. About two seconds later, she yells, "I should've got the L!". They finish in second by about $2,600.
    • January 25, 2016 (Teen Best Friends): The yellow team receives control and asks to solve. Pat firmly suggests calling a letter first to "get some money". Knowing the puzzle is SECURITY GUARD and with S___R_T_ G__R_ revealed, they call E, the first unrevealed letter overall. Pat dryly responds "Well, okay..." and the team solves for the house minimum, though they still won the game by a landslide and went on to win the Bonus Round.
  • RSTLNE has been given for free in the Bonus around since 1988. While it isn't uncommon for some contestants to accidentally call one of those letters (in which case the host ignores the letter and asks them to pick another one instead), this didn't stop one contestant on February 18, 2004 from trying to call four of them, each time being told that they're "part of the original package". Even worse, one of the letters in the original package she picked was already in the answer.
  • When on the Express Wedge, attempting to solve the puzzle before calling all the consonants, which is essentially passing up a free $1,000 for each one left.
  • Some main game categories have letters guaranteed to be in the puzzle. Neglecting to call the consonants in these puzzles is often frowned upon, especially if they're solved while unrevealed.
    • Same Name whenever AND is used in place of an ampersand. This extends to Husband & Wife, Family or whenever a list has a pluralized category.
    • What Are You Doing? which is known for its usage of "-ING" suffixes. Somewhat excusable in the very rare occurrence where a puzzle with this category doesn't have N or G.
    • Star & Role which always has AS.
    • Certain Title companion puzzles which have either 'S or BY.
  • In the Bonus Round, after RSTLNE are revealed, all or part of a word may become obvious. Most often, "THE", an "ING" at the end of a word, or "AND" between two words. Since your guesses are numbered in the Bonus Round and you have no turn to lose for calling a wrong letter, calling letters you already know are in the puzzle when you don't actually know the whole puzzle generally proves to be unhelpful, as this likely won't provide any help other than what you already knew with RSTLNE. Sometimes, contestants will call obvious letters and fill in little to no letters elsewhere. Particularly, when the category is What Are You Doing?, contestants are prone to calling G for one of their consonants and I for their vowel.
    • In the past, some bonus puzzles had redundant A's in front (such as A GULF), usually in hopes of the contestant wasting their vowel choice on the obvious A.
    • Subverted if the contestant is still able to solve the puzzle, or if the puzzle contains more instances of the "obvious" letters elsewhere, which does sometimes happen when the show is feeling generous.
  • At least two contestants have wasted a consonant in the Bonus Round by picking a Q only for it not to appear, likely because, in both cases, they were overconfident on a certain solution that contained a Q, failing to realize until it was too late that their likely solutions couldn't be possible with the number of blanks in the puzzle.

Explanation: Some mistakes have been acknowledged on-air either during or after the original airing.

  • June 7, 1976: The puzzle board is showing K_LL THE _MP_RE, and Chuck has informed the contestants that only vowels remain.
    • You'd Expect: The contestant in control to solve KILL THE UMPIRE, or buy the U or I's if he's not certain.
    • Instead: He says KILL THE VAMPIRE. The next player, Linda, solves immediately for $925. Chuck then comments that this isn't the first time she made money off another's mistakes.
  • December 1981: During Pat Sajak's first week as host, A_RAHAM _INCO_N is revealed.
    • You'd Expect: ABRAHAM LINCOLN, maybe a spin for the L's.
    • Instead: ABRAHAM BINCOLN. Pat joked that Bincoln would be the guy who delivered the Bettysburg address, although he admitted years later that making the joke probably didn't help the poor contestant.
  • Vanna's favorite, date unknown: The answer is MORE FUN THAN A BARREL OF MONKEYS.
    • You'd Expect: That exact answer.
  • Early 1984 (nighttime): The puzzle board reads THE EAR__ __R_ _AT_HES THE W_RM.
    • You'd Expect: THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM, or maybe one more spin to claim the C's.
    • Instead: THE EARTH BIRD CATCHES THE WORM. This moment was aired as part of a promo in August 1984 with dubbed-in audience groans.
  • June 15, 1984 (daytime): The puzzle is REGISTERED VOTER, and everything is revealed except for the V and O.
    • You'd expect: The contestant to either solve or spin one last time for the V.
    • Instead: Another comedy of errors:
    1. Nan spins and hits the top amount of $2,000, but calls L. She turns in a Free Spin and buys... A, after which she exclaims, "I don't know that!"
    2. Steve spins and calls W.
    3. Lucille lands on $1,500 but calls M.
    4. After that, the round goes into Speed-Up (Pat: "Maybe I should call a letter".), and four more wrong letters are called (P, K, B, and N).
    5. Finally, Steve exclaims "Oh!" and calls V to solve the puzzle.
  • Another one of Pat's favorites, most likely Season 5 (1987-88): The puzzle board reads ST_R_F__M ___.
    • You'd Expect: STYROFOAM CUP, or letting time expire since it's still fairly early and the player's opponents likely won't know the answer.
    • Instead: STYROFOAM HAT.
  • Fall 1988 (nighttime, between October 11 and December 16):
    • During Round 3, the puzzle board reads WHICH __D WITCH THE WICKED WITCH.
    • You'd Expect: WHICH OLD WITCH THE WICKED WITCH. Maybe a call of the L or buying of the O, just to be sure.
    • Instead: This.
    1. Red contestant almost gets buzzed out, and calls a B.
    2. Yellow contestant spins $3,500, but calls an R.
    3. Blue contestant tries to buy a vowel but has no money. She spins and calls an M.
    4. Red contestant buys a repeated A (Pat: "Kind of a wacky game we have going here."), then turns in her Free Spin. She spins $3,500, but calls a G.
    5. Yellow contestant spins and hits Bankrupt.
    6. Blue contestant spins $3,500. Pat shouts for a letter, and she calls the L and solves. Pat compares the round to a root canal.
    • The winner of this episode has CANAD_AN __RDER showing and a category of Thing in the Bonus Round.
    • You'd Expect: CANADIAN BORDER.
    • Instead: CANADIAN MURDER is her only guess. Even when Vanna revealed the B, she still seemed confused.
  • Early 1989 (nighttime, between February 28 and June 16): In the Bonus Round, the contestant has _ANC_ T_AT showing under the category of Phrase.
    • You'd Expect: If she can't figure out FANCY THAT as the answer that she would at least come up with THAT as the second word.
    • Instead: She guesses TWAT which gets censored by the Pyramid cuckoo. Pat says, "No, no, that wasn't it." and appears visibly uncomfortable until throwing to commercial.
  • October 30, 1989: The category is Thing, and the board currently says _AR_EC_E S_IT.
    • You'd Expect: BARBECUE SPIT, perhaps calling the B first.
    • Instead: The contestant calls an H, and Pat later remarks that Wheel is a family show.
  • February 26, 1993: During a Speed-Up round, the category is Slang.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to solve BUTTINSKY with no trouble.
    • Instead: Nine, count 'em, nine screw-ups.
    1. Yellow contestant (Gordon) calls the K, revealing B_TT_NSK_. He says "button-sky" then "button-ski".
    2. Blue contestant (Larry) calls the Y, says "button-sky" also.
    3. Red contestant (Greg), told that only vowels are left, says "but-TIN-sky". Pat asks the producer if they'll take it, and she says no. He then says "buttansky" twice.
    4. Gordon calls the I, says "battinsky". Pat: "It's like the Warsaw phone book we're doing here!"
    5. Larry declines to call a letter since he doesn't know the missing vowel(?!), and guesses "boo-tinsky".
    6. Greg calls an A.
    7. Gordon hesitates and ultimately says "bettinsky".
    8. Pat prompts Larry to call a vowel. He calls an E, after which Pat suggests that he shouldn't.
    9. Greg calls the U and, with the whole puzzle now filled in, mispronounces it "but-TIN-sky" again. Luckily, he redeems himself with the correct pronunciation immediately afterward, and Pat is clearly relieved that the round is over.
  • February 21, 1995 (Some of the Greats Week): There is a Speed-Up under the category Phrase.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to solve LET HIM STEW IN HIS OWN JUICE with enough confidence.
    • Instead: This.
    1. Red contestant calls the H's and with __T H__ ST__ _N H_S __N _____ showing, guesses PUT HER STUFF IN HIS DARN THING. Pat: "Oh! So close!"
    2. Yellow contestant calls an R.
    3. Blue contestant calls the W's and has no guess.
    4. Red contestant calls the O, says NOT but "corrects" it to PUT HOT STEW IN HIS OWN before getting buzzed out. Pat: "These fantasies you have..."
    5. Yellow contestant calls the L, says LET HIM STEW ON HIS OWN MONEY.
    6. Blue contestant calls the M and has no guess.
    7. Finally, the red contestant calls the J and solves. Pat, of course, delays until announcing he's right.
  • March 2, 1995: The puzzle board reads _OD O_ THE SE_ OR PL_NET, the category is Clue.
    • You'd Expect: GOD OF THE SEA OR PLANET, followed by an answer of Neptune for the Clue.
    • Instead: GOD OF THE SEX OR PLANET. Pat quips, "That's a lovely thought."
  • March 21, 1997: The puzzle MIKE CONNORS AS MANNI_, categorized as Classic TV.
    • You'd Expect: MIKE CONNORS AS MANNIX, maybe a risky spin for the X.
    • Instead: One contestant calls a repeated B, and the next calls an F. After the puzzle is solved, Pat addresses the plenty of Mannix fans out there.
  • November 11, 1999: The puzzle answer is A GROUP OF WELL-WISHERS.
    • You'd Expect: A fairly normal Speed-Up round, maybe one that takes a little while since this isn't a common phrase.
    • Instead: Hoo boy.
      • The blue contestant (Joe) calls a B only two turns after someone else does, then exclaims "Oh, Jesus!" when he realizes his mistake.
      • A few turns later, he calls a P, revealing _ _R__P __ __LL-__SH_RS. He guesses A GROUP OF PILL-PUSHERS, prompting a What the Hell, Player? response from Pat while the audience erupts with laughter.
      • Awhile later, _ GR__P _F W_LL-W_SH_RS is revealed. The red contestant says A GROUP OF WILL-WISHES.
      • Finally, after Pat tells the yellow contestant only vowels are left, she solves for $8,000.
  • Fall 2001: In the Bonus Round, __MIDIT_ is revealed.
    • You'd Expect: At least 10 seconds of trying to solve, maybe the right answer of HUMIDITY.
    • Instead: 10 seconds of non-word guesses like HUMDITTY and other gibberish words ending in -DITTY. After time runs out, the correct answer of HUMIDITY is revealed and the contestant asks "Didn't I say 'HUMDITTY'?" which Pat replies "Yes, but the answer was 'HUMIDITY'."
  • February 4, 2002: A Toss-Up of _IN_ERS & _OES.
  • April 11, 2002: A Toss-Up of AN ___Y CHILD.
    • You'd Expect: AN ONLY CHILD.
    • Instead: AN UGLY CHILD. Pat then rebukes the contestant by pointing out that "Now, you are a school counselor..."
  • August 9, 2002: Australian version, a Where Are We puzzle - _M__IRE __CKET BATSMAN.
    • You'd Expect: The contestants to realise that they were at the Cricket, so the answer would be UMPIRE WICKET BATSMAN as the C has already been called, and the place where they are is never in the puzzle.
    • Instead: The carryover winner realises that they're at the cricket, and tries to solve the puzzle - UMPIRE CRICKET BATSMAN. The audience applauds, Sophie goes to turn the letters and the buzzer sounds, and poor Rob has to call "no" repeatedly and remind everyone that the answer was actually incorrect, and that the contestant should know why it's wrong.
  • August 12, 2002: Australian version, a Saying: PA_KED TO THE RAFTERS. The contestant admits that she doesn't know what it is. The host, Rob Elliot, points out that it will be "an interesting letter coming up".
    • You'd Expect: The contestant to think about while the wheel spins and to realise that there are really only two possibilities it could be - PARKED or PACKED - and the R has already been called.
    • Instead: The contestant calls for an L. Rob quips, "that would have been an interesting word".
  • March 15, 2004: A Clue puzzle reads A ROMAN _OD OR THE PLANET NEAREST THE SUN.
    • You'd Expect: The contestant to figure out GOD as the third word right away, and then offer Mercury as the answer to the very easy Clue. Even if she doesn't know her ancient gods, the second half of the Clue is elementary school stuff.
    • Instead: She nearly draws a blank before pulling the word GOD out of thin air. After that, she says Pluto for the Clue and just when Pat is about to tell her the answer, she interrupts him with a guess of The Moon and then Mars. Pat lets her continue, and she guesses Saturn before finally giving the right answer Mercury. He reminds everyone that she doesn't get anything for that, however.
  • January 30, 2006: Australian version. It's the first episode back after a year's hiatus, and it's round two. The category is Thing, the puzzle currently shows _RIN_ING STRAW. Contestant Troy has just spun the wheel.
    • You'd Expect: Troy would use some common sense and call a D or a K, or maybe a letter that could reasonably fit that word pattern (there's a few other possibilities that fit, but would result in a nonsense answer).
    • Instead: He calls a Y, to the annoyance of several audience members.
  • May 18, 2006: A Prize Puzzle with E_CLUSI_E NIGHTCLUB revealed.
    • You'd Expect: EXCLUSIVE NIGHTCLUB, maybe a call of X and/or V just to be sure.
    • Instead: Contestant calls a K. Cue an icy glare from Pat before the next player solves.
  • December 15, 2008: A $3,000 Toss-Up puzzle, _ISH L___ is shown.
    • You'd Expect: Guessing WISH LIST at some point.
    • Instead: A contestant guesses FISH LOVE.
    • To Be Fair: The contestant responsible for that flub managed to redeem himself to the point of winning the Bonus Round, after which they put FISH LOVE on the board.
  • May 28, 2009: _I_ING AM_NG E__TI_ PLANTS AND ANIMALS is revealed. It's a Prize Puzzle.
    • Instead: Look out.
    1. Having just gotten a Free Spin, the red contestant guesses LIVING AMONG EXOTIC PLANTS AND ANIMALS.
    2. He turns in the Free Spin to call the X, but after buying the O he hits Lose A Turn.
    3. Yellow player spins for the C, then hits Bankrupt.
    4. Blue player spins and hits Lose A Turn.
    5. Back to the red player, who makes another wrong guess of RIDING AMONG EXOTIC PLANTS AND ANIMALS.
    6. Back to the yellow player, who hits Bankrupt again. Pat: "Good night, everyone!"
    7. The blue player hits the Million-Dollar Wedge and calls the H.
    8. With HI_ING AMONG EXOTIC PLANTS AND ANIMALS showing, the blue player guesses... W.
    9. Finally, the red contestant takes a wild guess on what turns out to be the right answer. Afterwards, Pat jokes that this was an undeserved win.
  • December 29, 2009: A contestant rings in on the first Toss-Up, which is showing S_LF-PO_T___T.
    • You'd Expect: SELF-PORTRAIT.
    • Instead: She guesses SELF-POTATO and apologizes immediately. After another contestant guesses correctly, Pat reassures her "that's not even in the top ten of things that have come out of people's mouths."
  • January 4, 2010: The puzzle REGIS PHILBIN & KELLY RIPA.
    • You'd Expect: That even three military servicemen, who maybe don't get to watch TV that much while on active duty, would still recognize two people who have long since become household names.
    • Instead: This.
    1. With REG_S P__L__N & _ELL_ R_P_ revealed, the yellow player says REGIS PHILBRIN & KELLY RIPA. Pat says they can't accept it.
    2. Blue player calls the Y, then hits Bankrupt.
    3. Red player buys the I and A, then guesses REGIS PHILMIN & KELLY RIPA, pronouncing "Ripa" as "Ree-pa". It's also ruled incorrect.
    4. Yellow player gets a chance to redeem himself, but also says REGIS PHILMIN & KELLY RIPA.
    5. Blue player calls H, B, and K to fill in the puzzle entirely... but still manages to screw up the completely-revealed puzzle by pronouncing "Ripa" with a long I sound.
    6. Back to the red player again, who finally says their names properly. Cue Pat snarking that the clip of this round will get played a lot, then jokingly suggesting that Regis should step down.
  • February 8, 2010 (couples episode): Immediately upon the start of the $2,000 Toss-Up, the husband of the blue team presses their buzzer for no apparent reason. Neither him or his wife attempted a guess when prompted by Pat, who noted that their ring-in was "probably an accident", although the team was still penalized and the Toss-Up proceeded as normal.
  • February 14, 2011: On a Teen Best Friends Week episode, a Speed-Up with consonants worth $6,000 each has an Occupation of A_ATE_R ASTR____ER. With $18,000, a member of the yellow team starts to say the correct answer of AMATEUR ASTRONOMER just before the buzzer.
    • You'd Expect: That she seamlessly finishes her answer, as answers finished after the buzzer do count as long as they are started before it, a rule that Pat has stated on-camera many times before.
    • Instead: She stops speaking upon hearing the buzzer. Pat makes an expression as if to say "You completely blew it" as the team whines "But... but...". The blue team calls the M's and solves.
    • What Makes It Worse: Before this round, the final totals were $6,000/$17,150/$2,000. The yellow team was still well-ahead and the blue team was dead last... until they solve for $18,000 after the above blunder, overtaking the yellow team by less than $3,000.
  • May 10, 2012: The puzzle board displays CA_IBBEA_ _UEE_ BY BI__Y OCEA_ (Song/Artist). The contestant lands on Free Play, and Pat explains that she can attempt to solve the puzzle without getting penalized for an incorrect answer.
    • You'd Expect: The contestant to pick the N's and solve the puzzle CARIBBEAN QUEEN BY BILLY OCEAN.
    • Instead: She just tries to solve, and says CARIBBEAN QUEEN BY BIFFY OCEAN. Pat just shouts "No!" but reminds her she is still on Free Play.
  • May 15, 2012: College Week, a contestant from Portland's Reed College makes it to the Bonus Round. Every single letter he guesses is in the puzzle, which reads MAG_C _AND.
    • You'd Expect: An easy solve of MAGIC WAND.
    • Instead: His first guess is MAGIC HAND, followed by MAGIC BAND. Then he starts seemingly trying to go through the whole alphabet guessing several non-words like "jand", before finally getting to "wand" about two seconds after the buzzer. He ended up missing out on a Toyota Prius as a result.
  • January 10, 2013: A contestant has the Song/Artist puzzle I _A__ THE _INE BY J_HNNY _A_H and has just landed on the Jackpot wedge.
    • You'd Expect: The contestant to recognize the iconic song I WALK THE LINE BY JOHNNY CASH.
    • Instead: She guesses I HAVE THE WINE BY JOHNNY CASH. Jeopardy! would reference this just over a year later with "I Have The Wine" and "By Johnny Cash" categories.
  • January 22, 2013: A Speed-Up puzzle of FASHION STATEMENT.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to recognize that exact answer at some point.
    • Instead: The following errors.
    1. Yellow contestant calls the M and with __S_I_N S____M_N_ revealed, he guesses CHASING SOMEONE.
    2. Blue contestant calls the T's and has no guess.
    3. Red contestant calls the A's and guesses MAGIC STATEMENT and BASIC STATEMENT, the latter coming after the buzzer.
    4. Yellow contestant calls the E and has no guess.
    5. Blue contestant calls a D.
    6. Three more wrong letters are edited out, after which Pat has clearly become annoyed.
    7. Finally, the red contestant calls the H and solves.
  • January 25, 2013: A contestant has landed on the Jackpot wedge with GO TO THE F_O_T OF THE ___E revealed under the category of Phrase.
    • You'd Expect: Solving GO TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE right away.
    • Instead: GO TO THE FRONT OF THE CAVE. Pat doesn't let the opportunity slip to throw in a jab: "Well, you don't want to be in the back of the cave, I'll tell you that."
  • April 11, 2014: A contestant during College Week has just called C, which fills in the Round 1 puzzle MYTHOLOGICAL HERO ACHILLES entirely.
    • You'd Expect: That he would solve by pronouncing each word correctly.
    • Instead: He pronounces "Achilles" as "Ay-chill-us" and is ruled incorrect. The next contestant solves for only $600, bumped up to the house minimum of $1,000.
    • To Make Matters Worse: He had $5,100, a trip to London, and the Million Dollar Wedge when he slipped.
    • Later: The same contestant is playing the Prize Puzzle, with THE WORLD'S FASTEST _A_ revealed and the category given as Person. At the moment, he has a fairly big chunk of change and both ½ Car tags.
    • You'd Expect: That he would either solve THE WORLD'S FASTEST MAN, or spin again to call the M and/or N.
    • Instead: He calls C, and the next contestant benefits again from his mistake by solving for just the Prize Puzzle trip to Jamaica.
      • He probably thought it was THE WORLD'S FASTEST CAR, but he should have known that was wrong since the category was "Person" and "R" was already on the board.
    • After that: the same contestant has _N-TH_-SP_T D_C_S__N. Pat has just told the contestants that only vowels remain.
    • You'd Expect: That he would solve ON-THE-SPOT DECISION; if he's not entirely sure, he can call the O's, E's or I's before doing so.
    • Instead: He says ON-THE-SPOT DICESPIN. The next contestant benefits again from his mistake.
    • However: Despite missing out on at least $49,000, the Million Dollar Wedge and the Prize Puzzle, he wins the game. Pat states that nobody has ever taken a more "circuitous route" than him.
  • November 10, 2014: During a couples week in Hawaii, a Speed-Up puzzle in which you are ______ _ _____ _____
    • You'd Expect: The contestants to at least pay attention to the letters they call, and to at least guess a few more letters before making a serious attempt at solving.
    • Instead: The first contestant calls an N, which there is only one of, and guesses RIDING A BROWN HORSE.
    • To Make Matters Worse: The next contestant reveals the G, and then guesses RIDING A WHITE HORSE on the very next turn. Pat Sajak walked away from his podium in disbelief. The actual solution, SEEING A BUDDY MOVIE, was nowhere near any of their guesses.
      Pat: Who said anything about a horse?!
  • January 23, 2015: A Speed-Up puzzle has THE P__NTED DESERT revealed under the category Landmark. The yellow contestant has just called the last consonant in the puzzle.
    • You'd Expect: That she would solve THE PAINTED DESERT.
    • Instead: She says THE POINTED DESERT, then THE PRINTED DESERT.
    • To Make Matters Worse: Without calling a vowel, the blue contestant also says THE POINTED DESERT. Realizing it's still his turn, he asks to solve and repeats THE POINTED DESERT again. Pat: "It's not THE POINTED DESERT no matter how many times you say it."
    • Finally: The red contestant solves for $3,000.
  • March 4, 2015: Characters is the category and the puzzle board is almost filled in and reads DOPEY _RU_PY DO_ _ASH_UL HAPPY SNEE_Y AND SLEEPY The yellow contestant tries to solve.
    • You'd expect: Her to recognize and say the names DOPEY GRUMPY DOC BASHFUL HAPPY SNEEZY AND SLEEPY, the names of Snow White's seven dwarfs.
    • Instead: The contestant calls out SNEEKY instead of SNEEZY. Pat remarks "No, I'm sorry" among obviously-dubbed-in audience groans.
    • Finally: Blue contestant correctly solves the puzzle.
  • December 15, 2015: It's a Speed-Up puzzle and the red contestant has just called the Z's to reveal F_ZZ__ B__R. The category is Character and only vowels are left.
    • You'd Expect: FOZZIE BEAR.
    • Instead: Brace yourself.
    1. He guesses FUZZIE BEAR.
    2. Before Pat can say only vowels are left and as the sound effect is playing, the yellow contestant repeats the Y.
    3. Blue contestant calls the E's but guesses FIZZY BEAR, FUZZY BEAR and FONZIE BEAR.
    4. Finally, the red contestant calls the I and solves. Cue Pat joking about Fozzie's lesser known cousins.
  • January 20, 2016: The first Toss-Up reads ____M__E __FF___ under the category Food & Drink. The red contestant rings in and provides an incorrect guess of HOMEMADE WAFFLES.
    • You'd Expect: If another contestant rings in early, maybe a different but reasonable guess. HOMEMADE MUFFINS at best since it's the answer.
    • Instead: The yellow contestant rings in before any more letters are revealed and also says HOMEMADE WAFFLES, to which Pat responds with "Still not that." The blue contestant then solves for $1,000.
  • February 16, 2016: A couple has correctly solved the Prize Puzzle: GONDOLA RIDE THROUGH VENICE in the category of Event. Pat asks the husband "What country do you think we're sending you to?"
    • You'd expect: Italy.
    • Instead: He says Paris followed by France. His wife laughs along with the audience and asks Pat, "Do we still get it?"
  • March 21, 2017: The category is Title and the board says A STREETCAR NA_ED DESIRE.
    • You'd Expect: The yellow contestant (Kevin) to solve A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE or to spin for the M.
    • Instead: He spins for a K.
    • Then: Blue contestant spins for the M and solves. Pat: "Although you got the right answer, I’d rather see Kevin’s play.”
  • April 4, 2017 (couples episode): The category in the Toss-Up is "Living Thing" and _O_EYS_CK_E B_S_ has filled in. The red couple buzzes in to solve.
    • You'd Expect: If not coming up with the correct response of HONEYSUCKLE BUSH to at least name some kind of bush or even a living thing in general.
    • Instead: The woman in the red couple guesses POPSICLE BIKE.
    • To Be Fair: Despite the setback, the couple still wins the game. They later appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where the woman explains that "Pat was on one side, and [my husband] was on the other, so I think I needed to be cooled off. So that's the first thing I thought about. Popsicle. And I couldn't figure out the second word, so I just said 'bike.'" Then Kimmel gives them an actual Popsicle Bike (a bike made of popsicle sticks).
  • March 24, 2020: It's a Speed-Up round and the category is Food & Drink.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to solve BLACKBERRY JAM with enough confidence and enough letters.
    • Instead: Here it comes...
    1. Red contestant says BLUEBERRY TEA with _L_____RR_ ___ showing, forgetting that the T was called already.
    2. Yellow contestant calls the C. She gives a reasonable guess of BLACKBERRY PIE but follows that up with BLACKBERRY TEA.
    3. Blue contestant calls the B's and says BLACKBERRY ICE.
    4. Red contestant calls the A's and says BLACKBERRY BAR.
    5. Yellow contestant calls the K. She says BLACKBERRY three times, making no attempt at the second word with either. Pat: "I think we pretty much established that."
    6. The blue contestant solves without calling a letter (he'd have finished in third place either way, but he still passed up another $1,500).

Important: Please limit this section to instances in which at least two contestants are stumped by the same solution.

  • December 29, 1982: A Teen Week episode. The category is Things, and THE N_N_ THE P_NT_ _ND THE S_NT_ M_R__ is showing in a Speed-Up round. Pat has landed on $1,500; Jonathan has a then very-huge $12,700, Chris has $1,500 and Evangelina has $3,000. Pat has just announced that only vowels remain and it is Jonathan's turn.
    • You'd expect: Jonathan to call either the A's or the I's before identifying three ships well-known to history: THE NINA THE PINTA AND THE SANTA MARIA.
    • Instead: He calls an O.
    • To Make Matters Worse: Chris calls the I's but fails to so much as spit a guess.
    • Finally: Evangelina calls the A's and solves the completely-revealed puzzle for $3,000.
    • What Makes It Worse: Had Jonathan claimed his $12,700, it would have certainly been among the top single-round amounts for a daytime show to that point. He could have bought most of the prizes in the studio plus a hefty Service Merchandise gift certificate. The prize budget that day was a paltry-by-even-1982-standards $26,000, with the car unavailable until that week's Friday show.
  • Fall 1983 (nighttime): The category is People, and CH__CH AND CH_N_ is showing.
    • You'd Expect: The contestant, who has $3,400 plus a $1,550 Cartier man's watch as the Wheel prize, to identify the well-known comedy duo CHEECH AND CHONG. She can solve, spin one last time for the G or at the very least buy the E's and/or the O.
    • Instead: After a pause, she decides to buy a vowel (to an annoyed gasp in the audience) and calls... I.
    • To Make Matters Worse: The next contestant spins and calls an R.
    • Finally: The third contestant calls the G and solves. Pat remarks, "Everybody knows now."
  • November 9, 1983 (daytime): During a Couples Week episode, the winning pair has T__ SE_RET showing on a Bonus Round puzzle.
    • You'd Expect: At least one of the two to recognize the common phrase TOP SECRET.
    • Instead: Their only guesses are THE SECRET and TOO SECRET. When the solution is revealed, the husband remarks, "Oh, that was so easy!"
  • October 26, 1988 (daytime): During a Speed-Up, the yellow contestant calls the K's to reveal KN_CKL____D under the category of Person.
    • You'd Expect: KNUCKLEHEAD.
    • Instead: NICKELODEON is her only guess. She then stands in silence and gets buzzed out. Four more wrong letters are called, then the red contestant finally calls the H and solves.
  • May 6, 1992: It's a Clue puzzle: THE SOUL OF WIT.
    • You'd Expect: That exact answer followed by a response of "Brevity", since the Clue is referring to the well-known William Shakespeare quote.
    • Instead: After several wrong turns, the board finally reads THE SOUL OF __T. One contestant takes a wild guess of W, then says the answer in a "that can't possibly be right" tone.
    • To Make Matters Worse: None of them can answer the clue. The contestant who solved guesses Pat Sajak, next contestant guesses Bill Cosby, and the third guesses "laughter". After Pat says that the right answer is "brevity", the first contestant asks "What is brevity?" Cue Pat's response: "Neil Brevity. He works in Vegas a lot."
  • April 9, 1993: Another Speed-Up, this one with a category of Before & After.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to recognize KIRSTIE ALLEY CAT at some point.
    • Instead: Another batch of errors.
    1. Red contestant calls the L's to reveal __RST_E _LLE_ C_T and guesses PRETZEL ALLEY CAT.
    2. Yellow contestant calls a D.
    3. Blue contestant calls the Y, says nothing.
    4. All three contestants call wrong letters, then the red contestant calls the A's and says nothing.
    5. Yellow contestant calls an F.
    6. Blue contestant calls an H.
    7. Finally, the red contestant calls the I's and solves with little confidence.
  • February 24, 1995 (Some of the Greats Week): This Clue puzzle has just been solved: FOUND ON A WALL OR ON YOUR TEETH.
    • You'd Expect: Plaque.
    • Instead: All three contestants screw it up.
    1. Blue contestant: What are braces?
    2. Red contestant: Paste?... What is paste?
    3. Yellow contestant forgoes answering in the form of a question, says Enamel.
  • March 21, 1995: A Clue puzzle of PRESIDENT ON TWENTY-DOLLAR BILL has just been solved.
    • You'd Expect: The contestant to say Andrew Jackson. At the very worst, one of the other two will identify him for the $500.
    • Instead: No one figures out the answer!
  • May 15, 1995: The puzzle is PORTRA_T ON THE _ S D_ME in the category Clue. Pat has just told the players that only vowels are left.
    • You'd Expect: PORTRAIT ON THE U S DIME, followed by recognizing the person in question as Franklin Roosevelt.
    • Instead: The contestant hesitantly opts to buy the I's. It's clear that he still doesn't know, but despite having more than enough to buy the U, he opts to solve and gets as far as PORTRAIT ON THE before getting buzzed out.
    • To Make Matters Worse: After the next contestant solves for the house minimum, none of them can identify who it is!
  • May 8, 1997: On a Celebrity Mother's Day week, Steve Burton (yes, that Steve Burton) and his mother have made it to the Bonus Round. The category is Thing and E_OT_ON is showing.
    • You'd Expect: Even if neither one can figure out that the answer is EMOTION, that they would attempt to talk it out.
    • Instead: No guess from either of them.
  • November 1, 1997 (Wheel 2000): The puzzle is _NT_ST_N_, in the category Every Body.
    • You'd Expect: Solving INTESTINE, possibly a purchase of the E's and/or I's just to make sure.
    • Instead: This.
    1. Blue contestant buys an A.
    2. Red contestant has no points and gets buzzed out.
    3. Yellow contestant buys the E's but says ANTESTONE.
    4. Back to the blue contestant who finally solves INTESTINE for 2,000 points.
  • March 9, 1998: The puzzle board reads SHO__ING IN BEVERLY HILLS and the category is Event.
    • You'd Expect: SHOPPING IN BEVERLY HILLS, perhaps one final spin for the P's.
    • Instead: The yellow contestant calls a T, then the blue contestant calls an M. The red contestant, who had $10,550 before hitting Lose a Turn, just decides to solve. Pat lampshades it with, "That was an odd round."
  • February 6, 2001: Another Toss-Up. The category is Phrase.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to ring in and say SHE ACED IT at some point.
    • Instead: The first contestant to ring in has SHE A_ED IT revealed and guesses SHE ASKED IT. Immediately after, another contestant rings in, but also gives a incorrect guess of SHE AXED IT. The third contestant doesn't ring in at all.
  • 2000s: It's a Speed-Up and a contestant has just called the G in the puzzle TEN-G_LLON __T.
    • You'd Expect: TEN-GALLON HAT.
    • Instead: TEN-GALLON POT.
    • To Make Matters Worse: The next contestant calls the A's to reveal TEN-GALLON _AT. She makes multiple guesses at the last word, neither of them correct.
    • Finally: The last contestant calls the H and solves.
  • October 23, 2002: Where Are We? is the category, and _UIET PLEASE STA__S DE_EY DE_IMAL SYSTEM is showing.
    • You'd Expect: QUIET PLEASE STACKS DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM, followed by a guess of Library for the answer to the Where Are We? puzzle.
    • Instead: The blue contestant says STANDS for the third word.
    • Then: The red contestant calls the C's, W and Q to reveal QUIET PLEASE STAC_S DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM.
    • You'd Then Expect: That he'd solve or call the K before doing so.
    • Instead: He calls an F.
  • April 15, 2003: MAPLE WOOD CREDEN_A is revealed.
    • You'd Expect: Either solving or calling a Z, since the word is CREDENZA.
    • Instead: One contestant calls an H, the next calls a Y.
  • December 10, 2003: The puzzle board reads BRO_HERLY LOVE _REA_ _HEESE _HE LIBER_Y BELL under the category Where Are We?
    • You'd Expect: Solving BROTHERLY LOVE CREAM CHEESE THE LIBERTY BELL or calling the neglected T first. After that, the person who solved should recognize the place as Philadelphia.
    • Instead: First contestant says BROTHERLY LOVE GREAT CHEESE THE LIBERTY BELL and the next gets the puzzle wrong by adding an unnecessary AND before THE LIBERTY BELL note .
    • To Make Matters Worse: After solving, the third contestant says New York.
  • January 9, 2004: It's NFL Week where contestants are paired with pro football players. Then Oakland Raiders running back Charlie Garner and his partner have made it to the Bonus Round where the category is Phrase and _O FOR _RO_E is revealed.
    • You'd Expect: GO FOR BROKE.
    • Instead: They guess TO for the first word and after they get it, they make no attempt at the last word.
  • November 16, 2004: On a Family Week episode, a team has made it to the Bonus Round. The category is Title and THE _IE_ showing.
    • You'd Expect: THE VIEW.
    • Instead: Neither of them get the second word, making obviously non-fitting guesses such as THE FIRE and THE WIRE.
  • April 18, 2005: The puzzle board reads _RI__E_ CHICKEN SKEWERS WITH PEANUT SAUCE under the category On the Menu.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to figure out that the incomplete word is GRILLED.
    • Instead: The first contestant says TERIYAKI for the first word, and the next player calls an M.
  • October 14, 2005: The puzzle board reads _O _O _O AN_ A _OTTLE OF RUM.
    • You'd Expect: YO HO HO AND A BOTTLE OF RUM, perhaps spinning for the H's or even the Y just to be sure.
    • Instead: First contestant says YO YO YO AND A BOTTLE OF RUM, and the second says HO HO HO AND A BOTTLE OF RUM.
  • March 5, 2007: The category is Fun & Games, and EN_O_ING THE GREAT OUTDOORS is displayed.
    • You'd Expect: ENJOYING THE GREAT OUTDOORS, or maybe a spin for the J or Y.
    • Instead: Before even spinning the Wheel, a contestant calls an M, and he is asked to spin while held to that letter. Following that, the next contestant correctly spins first before calling... a C.
  • June 2, 2008: A Same Name puzzle of _E_I_AL & STI__ING POINT.
    • You'd Expect: DECIMAL & STICKING POINT, perhaps calling a few more letters if the contestants aren't sure.
    • Instead: Oh boy.
    1. First contestant guesses SPECIAL & STITCHING POINT.
    2. Second contestant calls the D and the C's, revealing DECI_AL & STIC_ING POINT, says DECIMAL & STITCHING POINT.
    3. Third contestant calls the M, revealing DECIMAL & STIC_ING POINT.
      • You'd Then Expect: Spinning for the K or solving.
      • Instead: The contestant spins and calls... Y.
  • October 14, 2008: TORONTO'S SPECTACULAR S__L_NE is shown.
    • You'd Expect: TORONTO'S SPECTACULAR SKYLINE, maybe a spin for the K or the Y.
    • Instead: A spin and a D call followed by another spin and an H call.
  • October 16, 2008: The Speed-Up puzzle WOOD-BURNING STOVE.
    • You'd Expect: That even someone who's never seen one would at least have heard of one.
    • Instead: A comedy of errors.
    1. With ____-__RN_N_ ST___ on the board, the blue contestant says HIGH-BURNING STOVE, then FAST-BURNING STOVE after the buzzer.
    2. Red contestant calls B and says FAST-BURNING STOVE again, then COAL-BURNING STOVE on the buzzer.
    3. Yellow contestant calls G and says COLD-BURNING STOVE.
    4. Blue contestant calls V, says nothing.
    5. Red and yellow contestants both call wrong letters.
    6. Blue contestant calls E, says nothing.
    7. Red contestant calls a wrong letter.
    8. Yellow contestant calls D, says FOOD-BURNING STOVE to the laughter of the other two contestants.
    9. Blue contestant calls O and also says FOOD-BURNING STOVE, but "corrects" it to HOOD-BURNING STOVE. She finally says WOOD-BURNING STOVE, but gets beaten by the buzzer.
    10. Finally, the red contestant calls W and solves. Pat quips that "we burned pretty much everything."
  • May 31, 2010: A simple $1,000 Toss-Up under the category of Thing.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to ring in and say TREASURE MAP at some point.
    • Instead: Two contestants ring in early and can only spit out TREASURE before time runs out. The third has TREASURE _A_ revealed and guesses TREASURE BAY.
    • Much Later: An incredibly similar scenario repeats almost eight years later in April 2018, when one contestant guesses "TREASURE BOX" instead.
  • October 21, 2010: The puzzle is Same Letter. FI_ING FRANKFURTERS & FRENCH FRIES is revealed.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to call the X right away, or just solve.
    • Instead: One contestant calls a P, and the next calls a B.
  • November 16, 2010 (Military Week): The Speed-Up Round is a Phrase. After a few turns, E_ER_THING IS SHI_SH__E is revealed.
    • Instead: A contestant tries a guess of EVERYTHING IS SUNSHINE without calling a letter first. He then tries to call a D, but since he's already made an attempt at solving, it isn't taken (not like it would have mattered, anyway).
    • To Make Matters Worse: The next contestant calls the V and says EVERYTHING IS SHIPSHORE.
  • December 2, 2010: Fun & Games is the category, and _I__ING DOWN THE WATER SLIDE is showing.
    • Instead: Several goofs.
    1. Yellow contestant calls M.
    2. Blue contestant calls C.
    3. Red contestant lands on Free Play and calls the P's.
    4. She spins again and lands on $3,500. Looking like a deer in the headlights, she agonizes for a bit and calls... Y.
    5. Yellow contestant solves.
  • February 23, 2011: A___LAND NEW ZEALAND is revealed during a Speed-Up round.
    • You'd Expect: AUCKLAND NEW ZEALAND.
    • Instead: One contestant guesses AVALAND, and another guesses ARCHLAND after calling the C. Eventually, the K is in place, but the same contestant says ACKLAND. Next contestant calls the U (again, vowels are free in Speed-Up)... and says the right answer with about zero confidence. He then says that he's never heard of Auckland.
    • To Make Matters Worse: Pat says Auckland is the capital city of New Zealand, but it's actually Wellington. Auckland is the most populous city, sure, but it hasn't been the capital city since the 1860s.
  • March 28, 2011: A Before & After puzzle of _I_INI STRING CHEESE.
    • You'd Expect: BIKINI STRING CHEESE, maybe a spin for the B and/or K.
    • Instead: One contestant calls a D, and the next calls a W.
  • May 5, 2011: The $2,000 Toss-Up reads _R__NDLY _A_ES.
    • You'd Expect: FRIENDLY FACES.
    • Instead: The first contestant rings in by accident, then the second rings in immediately after and says FRIENDLY WAVES. The third contestant rings in with FRIENDLY FA_ES showing, says FRIENDLY, but runs out of time (he actually said FACES after time ran out, but it was edited out because... because).
  • October 11, 2011: The puzzle board reads _ORL__I_E SMASH-HIT MUSICAL. It's a Prize Puzzle and the contestant has the $10,000-Mystery Wedge, a trip to Barbados, the Wild Card and $12,550 in cash.
    • You'd Expect: The contestant to figure out that WORLDWIDE is the first word by either solving immediately or spinning for the D's and/or W's.
    • Instead: He calls a P.
    • To Make Matters Worse: The next contestant spins and calls an F.
  • December 1, 2011: A $2,000 Toss-Up under the category of Living Things.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to guess PONDEROSA PINES.
    • Instead: Nobody rings in until the E in PINES is missing, and the contestant who rings in says PONDEROSA PINTS. As a result, nobody else gets a chance before the last letter is put up.
    • To Make Matters Worse: The same answer also stumped all three contestants when it was the $2,000 Toss-Up on May 29, 2007.
  • January 5, 2012: A Before & After of J__T IN THE NIC_ O_ TIME MA_A_INE. The yellow contestant also has a ½ Kia tag.
    • You'd Expect: JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME MAGAZINE, or maybe an attempt at the other ½ Kia tag.
    • To Make Matters Worse: With JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME MA_A_INE revealed, the blue contestant calls an R.
  • November 2, 2012: The first Toss-Up has a category of Thing.
    • You'd Expect: At the very worst, two contestants might ring in too early, and the third one would wait for all but one letter to reveal to solve the puzzle RUBBER MASK.
    • Instead: All three contestants ring in while the second word is completely blank, and nobody solves.
  • November 6, 2012: It's a Same Name puzzle, and WILLIE AND _ULL NELSON is revealed.
    • You'd Expect: WILLIE AND FULL NELSON, or maybe one final spin for the F.
    • Instead: The first contestant says WILLIE AND, pauses, and says BULL NELSON. The next contestant just decides to solve, but says WILLIE AND PULL NELSON. (To be fair, he later says that he thought the first contestant said "Full".)
  • November 12, 2012: A Speed-Up under the category of On the Map. The answer is INDEPENDENCE MISSOURI.
    • You'd Expect: The answer itself is pretty tough, but any attempted guesses should at least be 1) a one-word city and 2) a city that's in the state given.
    • Instead: Incorrect guesses of KANSAS CITY MISSOURI and INDIANAPOLIS MISSOURI.
  • November 13, 2012 (Military Families, so teams of two): What Are You Doing, and a Speed-Up — S_TT___ __ TH_ H_T S__T.
    • You'd Expect: Either to get SITTING IN THE HOT SEAT right away, or to first guess SITTING ON THE HOT SEAT right away, then change the preposition to the correct one as contestants are allowed unlimited guesses during a not-that-short time limit.
    • Instead: Hoo boy.
      • The first team tries SITTING ON THE HOT SEAT, and when that is ruled wrong, they try SETTING ON THE HOT SEAT and SETTING UP THE HOT SEAT.
      • The next team adds the O to HOT (thus, ON is completely ruled out)... and repeat SITTING ON THE HOT SEAT and SETTING UP THE HOT SEAT.
      • The third pair calls the N's. The husband then repeats SITTING ON THE HOT SEAT again; thankfully, his wife saves them with the correct answer.
  • December 5, 2012: A Speed-Up under the category What Are You Doing?
    • You'd Expect: Someone to solve the seemingly harmless puzzle POPPING THE CORK.
    • Instead: Wow.
    1. Blue contestant calls the H and with ______G _H_ ____ showing, guesses MIXING THE CAKE.
    2. Red contestant calls the N and gives a joke answer: BLANKING THE BLANK. Pat: "This is not Match Game."
    3. Yellow contestant calls the T, says nothing.
    4. Blue contestant calls an A.
    5. Red contestant calls the E, says WATCHING THE SHOW.
    6. Three wrong letter calls are edited out.
    7. Yellow contestant calls the R, says MOWING THE YARD.
    8. Blue and red contestants call wrong letters.
    9. Yellow contestant calls the C, says nothing.
    10. Blue contestant calls an F.
    11. Red contestant calls the P's, says POPPING THE CORN.
    12. Finally, the yellow contestant calls the K and solves.
  • November 21, 2013: The $3,000 Toss-Up is GIRL SCOUT TROOP in the category People.
    • You'd Expect: That it would be solved without much difficulty.
    • Instead:
      • With G___ _C__T _____ revealed, the first contestant rings in and says GIRL SCOUT GIRLS.
      • Second contestant, with G___ SC_UT __O__ showing, guesses GIRL SCOUT MOMS. Pat instructs the third player to take her time...
      • ...and once G_R_ SCOUT __O_P is showing, she guesses GIRL SCOUT GROUP.
  • December 5, 2013: During a Military Week, the Speed-Up puzzle is People and __N_RALS AND MA__RS is showing.
    • You'd Expect: GENERALS AND MAJORS.
    • Instead: Three lost turns are edited out, then the yellow contestant calls the J and guesses FUNERALS AND MAJORS. The blue contestant finally calls the G and solves.
  • December 20, 2013: Another Speed-Up with Living Thing as the category.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to guess TOY FOX TERRIER with no trouble.
    • Instead: Eek.
    1. Red contestant calls the R's to reveal T__ ___ T_RR__R, says TWO LEG TERRIER.
    2. 5 more wrong letters are called, then the red contestant calls the E's, says TOP DOG TERRIER.
    3. Red contestant gets her turn back after two more incorrect letters. She calls the O's and says TOP BOX TERRIER.
    4. Three more wrong letters, then the yellow contestant calls the Y and says... TOY BOX TERRIER
    5. Blue contestant calls a J.
    6. Finally, the red contestant calls the F and solves.
  • December 30, 2013: A familiar puzzle reappears as a Speed-Up.
    • You'd Expect: WOOD-BURNING STOVE to be solved without any trouble.
    • Instead: Here We Go Again!.
    1. Blue contestant calls the N's and with ____-___N_N_ ST___ says OLD-BURNING STOVE.
    2. Red contestant calls the R and says FIRE-BURNING STOVE.
    3. Yellow contestant calls the G and solves.
  • April 23, 2014: Same Name is the category with C_MMENCEMENT AND CAR __EA_ER_ showing.
    • You'd Expect: COMMENCEMENT AND CAR SPEAKERS, perhaps another spin for the S's.
    • Instead: The yellow contestant says DEALER for the last word and after the blue contestant hits Bankrupt, the red contestant calls Y.
    • Later: The puzzle board reads KEEP YOUR NOSE TO THE _RIN_STONE under the category Phrase.
    • Instead: The red contestant calls an M, then the yellow contestant calls a C.
  • May 21, 2014: A Prize Puzzle: _IE_S OF THE BRILLIANT BLUE SEA is showing under the category Things.
    • Instead: Wow.
    1. Yellow contestant calls an M.
    2. Blue contestant calls a P.
    3. Red contestant calls a Y.
    4. Finally, the yellow contestant solves.
  • November 20, 2014: A Speed-Up puzzle under the category Event.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to solve DRAMATIC CONCLUSION at some point.
    • Instead: This.
    1. Red contestant calls the A's, revealing DRAMAT_C C__C__S___ and says DRAMATIC CONSEQUENCES.
    2. Yellow contestant calls the N's and says DRAMATIC CONCUSSION.
    3. Blue contestant calls the O's and says DRAMATIC CONCEPTION.
    4. Finally, the red contestant calls the L and solves.
  • November 25, 2014: The first Toss-Up puzzle is a Landmark, with I_DEP_____CE _A__ revealed.
    • You'd Expect: INDEPENDENCE HALL, especially since the category is Landmark and not Place.
    • Instead: INDEPENDENCE PARK and INDEPENDENCE LAKE from the blue and red contestants, before Yellow solves with only the H and second D unrevealed.
  • December 5, 2014: It's a Prize Puzzle and SURFBOARDS SAILBOATS AND _A_A_S is showing.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to figure out that the incomplete word is KAYAKS.
    • Instead:
    1. Having just landed on the Express, the blue contestant hops aboard and calls an M.
    2. Red contestant calls a W.
    3. Yellow contestant calls a C.
    4. Finally, the blue contestant calls the K's and solves.
  • January 22, 2015: The puzzle board reads _AN_O AND A_RON STR_N_S and the category is Same Name.
    • You'd Expect: BANJO AND APRON STRINGS.
    • Instead: The yellow contestant says TANGO AND APRON STRINGS.
    • To Make Matters Worse: With _AN_O AND APRON STR_NGS showing, the blue contestant calls an M.
  • March 3, 2015: What Are You Doing? is the category for the Speed-Up puzzle.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to recognize SOLVING A MYSTERY at some point.
    • Instead: Yellow contestant calls the R and with S____NG A __ST_R_ showing, guesses SHARING A HISTORY.
    • To Make Matters Worse: Blue contestant calls the Y's and says STUDYING A before getting buzzed out.
    • Finally: Red contestant calls the L and solves.
  • March 25, 2015: A simple $1,000 Toss-Up under the category of Phrase.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to ring in with a guess of HERE COMES SUMMER.
    • Instead: With H__E CO__S __MM__ showing, the blue contestant rings in and says HERE COMES MOMMY.
    • To Make Matters Worse: Red contestant rings in with H_RE COMES _UMME_ revealed and guesses HERE COMES MUMMY.
    • Finally: Yellow contestant rings in and solves.
    • To Be Fair: This puzzle is not exactly a common phrase, but rather a sentence that fits the week's theme (in this case, "Leave Winter Behind"), something that the writers make an effort to do with nearly every $1,000 Toss-Up. However, this still does not excuse the fact that both incorrect guesses did not even fit among the blanks.
  • April 27, 2015: A pair of contestants are faced with the Bonus Round puzzle A _E_ CH__CES under the category of Thing.
    • You'd Expect: A FEW CHOICES.
    • Instead: They only guess NEW for the second word.
  • May 20, 2015: The category is What Are You Doing? and WANDERING AROUND IN _IR__E_ is showing.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to figure out that the incomplete word is CIRCLES.
    • Instead: Look out.
    1. Blue contestant calls a T.
    2. Red contestant spins and lands on Lose a Turn.
    3. Yellow contestant calls the S and the L to reveal WANDERING AROUND IN _IR_LES... but calls an M.
    4. Blue contestant calls an H.
    5. Finally, the red contestant calls the C's and solves.
  • November 16, 2015: It's a Prize Puzzle and the yellow contestant, who has hopped on the Express, has OXFORD AND _A__RID_E showing.
    • You'd Expect: Figuring out that CAMBRIDGE is the incomplete part of the puzzle, followed by calling said consonants and solving.
    • Instead: He calls an L, losing $2,350 and his Wild Card.
    • To Make Matters Worse: Blue contestant spins a Free Play but calls an S. She spins again, only to call a P.
    • Finally: Red contestant calls the C and solves.
  • October 3, 2016: A $1,000 Toss-Up has a category of Rhyme Time and WHEEL_N_ A_D __ALI_G showing.
    • You'd Expect: WHEELING AND DEALING.
    • Instead: Blue contestant guesses WHEELING AND PEELING.
    • To Make Matters Worse: Red contestant rings in with WHEEL_N_ A_D D_ALI_G revealed and says WHEELING AND DIALING.
  • December 30, 2016: The category is Before & After and _I___ BANK TELLER is showing.
    • You'd Expect: PIGGY BANK TELLER, perhaps spinning for the G's first.
    • Instead: One constant calls a C and the next calls an M.
  • March 3, 2017 (not for broadcast): A special episode featuring lottery sweepstakes winners playing the game has CHEE__ONES revealed in the Bonus Round
    • You'd Expect: An easy solve of CHEEKBONES.
    • Instead: The contestant only guesses CHEESE for the first half of the word.
  • October 25, 2017: A Speed-Up puzzle of under the category of Person in Girlfriend Getaways week.
    • You'd Expect: One of the pairs to solve YOUR BIGGEST FAN at some point.
    • Instead: Whoa.
    1. After the blue pair calls the M to reveal ___R _____ST ___, they guess YOUR CLOSEST PAL.
    2. Red pair calls the Y and has no guess.
    3. Yellow pair calls the B and they say YOUR BESTEST PAL.
    4. Some time later, the yellow pair has Y__R B_GGEST ___ showing after calling the G's. They guess YOUR BIGGEST DAY.
    5. Finally, the blue pair calls the N and solves.
  • November 27, 2017: The puzzle board reads __ARTERING A _O_ERBOAT and it's a Prize Puzzle.
    • Instead: Yellow contestant guesses CHARTERING A MOTORBOAT, belatedly realizing it doesn't work.
    • To Make Matters Worse: With CHARTERING A _O_ERBOAT showing, the blue contestant calls an M on Free Play and then calls a D.
  • December 5, 2017: It's a Crossword Round and a Prize Puzzle. The puzzle has the words LAVA LEIS LUAU MACADAMIAS.
    • You'd Expect: For them to solve this with no difficulty, especially given that the clue is "It's Paradise".
    • Instead:
    1. Red contestant, who has hopped aboard the Express, has only V, C, and D missing. She almost gets buzzed out and calls W.
    2. Yellow contestant hits Bankrupt.
    3. Blue contestant calls the V, then hits Bankrupt too, losing his Million Dollar Wedge in the process.
    4. Red contestant tries to solve, but she accidentally says MACADAMIANS and mispronounces LEIS as LEES.
    5. Yellow contestant also asks to solve, but leaves off the S in MACADAMIAS. She tries to get it in anyway, despite getting beaten by the buzzer.note 
    6. Finally, the blue contestant solves.
  • January 12, 2018: On a Couples Week episode, a husband and wife team has chosen Show Biz as their Bonus Round categorynote . After picking their letters, the board reads __LM CL_P.
    • You'd Expect: FILM CLIP at best; CLAP is ruled out because they chose A as their vowel. If you get FILM for the first word, you should have no problem associating CLIP with that.
    • Instead: The husband somehow figures out FILM, but neither of them get the second word.
  • May 28, 2018: A Crossword Round during a Best Friends episode, with the clue "What Planet Are You From?" The puzzle has the words MERCURY MARS SATURN JUPITER. At this point, SATURN is entirely filled in, and MARS is missing only the M; said M is also the first letter in the word MERCURY, which at this point has just the R's and U showing.
    • You'd Expect: That all of the contestants would know the names and spellings of what should be grade-school knowledge.
    • Instead: The blue team identifies all of the other planets in the puzzle, but somehow thinks that __R_UR_ is URANUS (despite correctly identifying MARS).
    • Later, the $3,000 Toss-Up is an 80's TV Title, with the answer WKRP in Cincinnati. Despite the younger clientele, they shouldn't have much difficulty identifying the puzzle.
    • You'd Expect: That with enough letters revealed, at least one of the six people onstage would identify the answer.
    • Instead:
    1. Yellow team rings in but says nothing.
    2. Red team rings in and says WARP IS CINCINNATI.
    3. Blue team, with only the K missing from the puzzle, rings in and says WARP IN CINCINNATI. As a result, no one gets the $3,000, and the red team starts Round 4.
  • September 20, 2018: A Prize Puzzle under the category Places. The puzzle board has E__E_TI__ALLY LUSH VALLEYS.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to figure out that the incomplete word is EXCEPTIONALLY.
    • Instead: Oh boy.
    1. Blue contestant calls an M.
    2. Red contestant calls an R.
    3. Yellow contestant calls the N on $3,500 and the C on the Express Wedge. He opts not to hop aboard and calls a D on his next spin.
    4. Blue contestant calls an F.
    5. Finally, the red contestant calls the P and solves.
  • January 18, 2019: It's a Crossword Round with the clue "____ Down" and the following words: SLOW CALM COOL and DOUBLE. At this point, only the D and B are missing from DOUBLE. The red contestant has the Million Dollar Wedge, the Gift Tag and $7,150 cash, and she has just landed on $3,500.
    • You'd Expect: For her to call one of the two letters and then either spin for the other or solve.
    • Instead: She calls a P.
    • To Make Matters Worse: On the next spin, the yellow contestant calls a G.
  • February 5, 2018: Another Couples Week episode has a husband and wife team picking What Are You Doing? as their Bonus Round category. They have DRA__NG A _LAN_ showing after their chosen letters are revealed.
    • You'd Expect: DRAWING A BLANK, even if takes a little talking out first. It should be an easy jump if you back into either incomplete word.
    • Instead: They figure out DRAWING but can only guess PLANE for the last word (which can't fit due to E being given at the start).
  • February 11, 2019: It's Sweethearts Week, and the red couple has hopped aboard the Express. The category is Place, and they have worked on the board to reveal A SU_ER_ ISLAND RESORT.
    • You'd Expect: For one or both of them to figure out that the incomplete world is SUPERB, call both letters for $2,000 and then solve the puzzle.
    • Instead: They call an M, losing $8,450 and their Wild Card.
    • To Make Matters Worse: The yellow pair calls a C.
  • April 5, 2019: This is at the Final Spin, the category is "Thing," and the revealed puzzle is TR_AS_R_ _H_ST. The Final Spin landed on the $5,000 wedge, putting consonants at $6,000 each and turning this into a Golden Snitch round: whoever solved this puzzle got to move on to the Bonus Round.
    • You'd Expect: The first word to be more obvious than the second, with the only common English words to fit it being TREASURE and TREASURY. From there, you can eventually figure the answer is TREASURE CHEST.
    • Instead: The blue contestant is completely fixated on the second word and is absolutely convinced it's GHOST. She has no clue what the first word can be and can only say SOMETHING GHOST before time to solve runs out.
    • Then: The red contestant calls a C, making it TR_AS_R_ CH_ST but is still unable to solve. Pat then points out that they've found all of the consonants.
    • To Make Matters Worse: The other contestants guess M, then W, with Pat having to repeat that there are no more consonants.
    • Finally: When it's the red contestant's turn again, she provides the correct answer.
  • September 10, 2019: The second Toss-Up has a category of Thing and SP__AL ____BO_K showing.
    • You'd Expect: At best, for the contestant who rings in to say SPIRAL NOTEBOOK.
    • Instead: She guesses SPECIAL TEXTBOOK despite the first word not fitting the blanks.
    • To Make Matters Worse: With SP__AL NOT_BO_K revealed, the second contestant to ring in also says SPECIAL as a guess for the first word.
  • October 21, 2019: A Crossword Round has BELLY, LAST, SQUARE and TAP with the clue "____ Dance". At this point, the Q and U are yet to be called.
    • You'd Expect: Someone to either spin for the Q or solve.
    • Instead: The red contestant calls D and the yellow player calls C.
  • October 22, 2019: It's a Speed-Up round, and the board reads TH_ Q__STION R___INS.
    • You'd Expect: THE QUESTION REMAINS.
    • Instead: This.
    1. Red contestant, after calling the Q, says THE QUESTION ROUNDS and THE QUESTION RAISING.
    2. Yellow contestant calls M. She says THE QUESTION REMINDS.
    3. The players are told that only vowels remain. The blue contestant calls the E's but has no guess.
    4. The red contestant solves and wins the game by $80.


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