This Week's Contestant
We were instructed to grab our buzzers almost immediately and were given the first toss-up. The toss ups were really hit-or-miss for me while practicing at homeeither I got them pretty quickly or didn't get them at all before one of the contestants solved them. I solved it pretty quickly but didn't ring in first. The upside was that I didn't have to go first for the interview. I knew that I wanted to mention my nephews and not sound like an idiot, so it was a pretty low bar to clear.
I solved the second toss-up and got to spin first. I was eventually able to solve the puzzle- DORA THE EXPLORER- because I had heard of the show via my nephews. The wheel is really, really heavy! It's particularly difficult to spin because it is below you, making it hard to get enough leverage. It turns out that the heaviness was not my only wheel-related problem, as our show must have set a new record for number of Bankrupt spins. For the rest of the game, my general strategy was to spin as few times as possible and solve the second I could.
Watching episodes beforehand convinced me that solving the prize puzzle was the biggest key to getting to the bonus round. I knew the solution almost immediately after my turn passed but didn't think that I would have another chance. It is definitely a LOT easier to solve the puzzles at home when you don't have to worry about the score or the wheel or when your turn is coming up. Luck was on my side and I solved it without risking a spin when my turn came up again.
There are usually four full puzzles, but we had an additional one because our puzzles had gone quickly (due to the number of bankrupt spins and our resultant risk aversion). I solved the final round- PERSONALIZED STATIONARY- and headed into the bonus round. In all, I had solved four puzzles and one toss-up, winning about $6,500 in cash and a trip to Hawaii. It was actually a fairly low total considering the number of puzzles, but I was just happy to be able to try for the Bonus.
The category was Thing, which I consider to be the most difficult category because it doesn't really narrow down the possibilities. There were no letters revealed in the first word and only three letters in the second- eek! I had decided before the show to select C, H and O. I blanked on another consonant but had read online that F appeared surprisingly often in Bonus Rounds and decided to go with it. I had _ _ _C_ _EC_S_ON with ten seconds on the clock. I focused on the second word since there were more letters filled in. My first thought was recession even though it didn't fit. I looked at the used-letter board in alphabetical order and figured out Decision when I landed on D. The answer just popped in my head- QUICK DECISION. I still to this day have no idea how I figured it outthe letter Q was nowhere in my head.
The envelope had $30,000 written in itnot a bad total for a day's work. My mom and Valerie ran out to meet me and I vaguely remember one of them jumping on me. It was really exciting but still not quite real. Even as we went to lunch and I got on the flight home, the fact that I had appeared on Wheel of Fortune didn't really sink in. Talking to several of my friends who wanted to know the results helped a lot, as their excitement was pretty contagious. I am planning on using the vast majority of the money to help pay for business school in a few years, but the Hawaii trip will be a fun indulgence in the meantime.