2018 | Bethesda Beat

Montgomery Blair High Graduate Erik Agard Wins Big on Jeopardy!

Gaithersburg puzzle maker to appear on show for fourth time Wednesday night

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Erik Agard on Jeopardy! on Tuesday night


The third time was a charm for Gaithersburg resident Erik Agard, who won his third consecutive Jeopardy! game Tuesday night, winning a total of $66,802.

Agard, a 2011 graduate of Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, will compete for more money Wednesday night on the long-running game show that is broadcast locally at 7:30 p.m. on ABC7.

A professional puzzle maker, Agard won the American Crossword Puzzle tournament in March when the 24-year-old completed a puzzle in less than five minutes, besting the former champ by three minutes. Agard also serves as the Arizona Daily Star’s crossword puzzle maker, according to the newspaper’s website. He works remotely and in 2017 published a crossword book titled Food for Thought Crosswords, available for purchase on Amazon.

On Monday night’s show, Agard and host Alex Trebek even got in some laughs about his crossword puzzles. In his first appearance on the show on Friday night, Agard told Trebek a story about getting pies thrown in his face at puzzle conventions by angry puzzle solvers who felt his crossword puzzles were too challenging. In Monday night’s show, Trebek, an avid crossword puzzle solver, talked about struggling with a difficult puzzle that turned out to have been co-written by Agard. He then showed Agard a pie, threatening to hit him in the face as the audience egged him on. But pro that he is, Trebek laughed and decided to stand down.

In Friday night’s show, Agard beat Herschel Purvis, a laboratory technician from California and five-time champion Alan Dunn of Georgia. Dunn and Agard both answered the Final Jeopardy question correctly, but Agard bet just enough to defeat Dunn by one dollar, $25,201 to $25,200.

After winning easily on Monday night, Agard again won by $1 on Tuesday night. He defeated Traci Clark, a pharmacist from Florida, and Patrick Healy, a social studies teacher from New York. All three contestants correctly answered the Final Jeopardy question, which was in the Old English Literature category: “This ‘creature of evil, grim and fierce, was quickly ready, savage and cruel, and seized from their rest thirty thanes.’” The correct answer was “What is Grendel,” from the epic poem Beowulf.

Local fans of Agard may have been shaking their heads, though, when Agard couldn’t come up with the answer to this question in the “I Went To Famous Person High School” category about another MCPS high school in Kensington, just a few miles from Blair:

“Kensington, MD. Kids! No pressure living up to this scientist who has an animus mirabulus (“Year of Marvels”) in 1905.”

The answer: Albert Einstein