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Kishwaukee College teacher 3-time winner on 'Jeopardy!'

Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Tim Anderson, an instructor of modern language at Kishwaukee College in Malta, won a total of $58,001 as a contestant on "Jeopardy!," which was filmed Jan. 30 and Feb. 5.

DeKALB – Answer for $200: Name a Kishwaukee College teacher who was a three-time winner on “Jeopardy!”.

Question: Who is Tim Anderson?

A lifelong fan of the TV game show, Anderson appeared in four episodes that aired June 7 and June 10 through 12. He won three games, and walked away with $58,001.

Anderson, 47, who teaches in Kishwaukee College’s modern languages department, said he remembers watching the show’s original host, Art Fleming, when he and his sister, Lisa Stich, were children.

“If there was someone who should go play ‘Jeopardy!,’ it was Tim,” Stich said.

Anderson, of Rockford, passed the show’s online test in January 2012, and was invited to audition in May.

“This time, I just decided I wasn’t going to be nervous and I was just going to go and have fun and enjoy the experience of being there that day with the other people who like ‘Jeopardy!’ as much as I do,” Anderson said. “We’re kind of nerdy in our own ‘Jeopardy!’ way.”

Anderson received news he would appear on the show in December, just as he was about to give a two-hour Spanish final. His episodes were filmed over two days in California. Although he lost his fourth game, he said that was his top-earning one, losing only because one of his competitors answered a string of high-dollar questions.

Anderson described the layout of the show as disorienting. In addition to the game board and the buzzer contestants must also watch the scoreboard, their own monitor for video questions and a set of lights that signal contestants when they can buzz in.

“Every time I watch, I pick up a clue I didn’t notice,” Anderson said. “For instance, in a Daily Double category ... I didn’t notice that the clue said it was something happening in the summer and the date was January, which would have been a clue that was in the Southern Hemisphere. I completely missed that. I got it right because of a different part of a clue.”

Stich had organized a big watch party for Anderson when his episodes were aired. She described watching her brother as being surreal and exciting.

“Several times, even the second or third times, I had to keep reminding myself that, ‘Oh my god, he’s really on ‘Jeopardy!’ ” Stich said.

As a result of his being on “Jeopardy!”, Anderson made an inadvertent cameo appearance on “Conan.” One of Anderson’s episodes was used in a comedy sketch by talk show host Conan O’Brien to show how host Alex Trebek had gone insane.

The sketch was edited so that Trebek seemed to be asking nonsensical questions that Anderson and cohorts were unable to answer.

By winning three games, Anderson said he could apply to the show’s Tournament of Champions contest, which features winners of past games.

“But I doubt I did well enough to make it back,” Anderson said. “But you never know. Stranger things have happened.”

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