A composer and bartender from Toronto, Ontario, Canada...

Nathaniel Barnes

Hey Canada, I'm Nathaniel Barnes, a composer and bartender from Toronto. Make yourself a drink and watch me on Jeopardy!

Season 25 3-time champion: $57,300 + $2,000.

In his first game, Nathaniel was introduced as a "composer-bartender". In his subsequent games, he was introduced as a "composer and bartender".

Nathaniel Barnes, a Composer - Bartender
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

December 1, 2008

GAME 1 (air date: November 24)

I remember being slightly in awe as I pulled up with the other contestants to the Sony studio in Culver City. I was nervous, but tried to make conversation with some of the other contestants, most of whom seemed to be hiding their fear as well. Thanks to such a warm and welcoming team of contestant coordinators, the stress seemed to dissolve somewhat and before I knew it, we were all on set rehearsing. Having prepped for the show by not only researching a lot of different fields of knowledge, but also practicing my reflexes for the buzzer, I thought ringing in would be a breeze; I was sorely mistaken. It really is anyone's game trying to be first in on the buzzer and I was filled with some minor fear and trembling, knowing my supposed edge had evaporated.

I was called first to be on the initial episode of the taping day. Up against not only a two-day champion, but also a contestant who had been on a previous day's shoot and therefore had more experience practicing in rehearsals, I was in some hot water indeed. All I thought was play as well as you can. That's all I can do. It took me a few minutes to find my footing, and though the game is now kind of a haze -- it really does fly by -- I recall doing well in a category about Monarchs in film, and was surprised to see a category on Canadian novels (I was one lucky Canuck). But apart from a few categories that were strengths for me, I did try to play strategically, seeking out daily doubles and increasing my score.

A clue arose regarding the fate of, I believe, an astronomer who basically was punished by the church (the clue asked what happened to him). The returning champion gave the response of "excommunication" which was ruled incorrect. I rang in and said "killed, death penalty" but was also ruled incorrect. The game kept going and before I knew it we were through Double Jeopardy! Then the strangest thing happened, just as I was perusing the scores, noticing I had a considerable, though not lock-game, lead over the other two contestants, the judges started conversing for what seemed like hours. The time ticked by and I couldn't understand what they were arguing over, although I had a sneaking suspicion it had to do with that poor unfortunate astronomer. When they finally finished their debate, Alex informed us, that excommunication was an acceptable response, giving the returning champion the money value for the clue but also, and more importantly, nullifying my response so that with the money I was given back, I had achieved a lock-game (neither of the two contestants could match or beat my score going into Final Jeopardy! -- so long as I didn't pull a Cliff Clavin). The category was Shakespeare's women, and we all got the right response. I stood there at the end of the show amazed I had done so well and anxious to keep going!

GAME 2 (air date: November 25)

The clues seemed harder this game and as the scores reflected by the end, none of the three contestants had been able to surpass even $10,000 going into Final Jeopardy! I was happy for once as someone beat me to a rather pricy clue giving a wrong response, but the exact response I had been ready to give. For once, being slow on the buzzer worked in my benefit. Most of the second game is a blur. I remember being up against an intelligent man from Alaska. I had met him in the lobby of the hotel in which we were all guests and had thought he'd be stiff competition. I wonder if we all were just hoping for more accessible categories, or just nervous, but I imagine we all performed as well as we could. Going into Final Jeopardy!, miraculously, I had another lock-game (although my score was not even half of what I had going into the previous day's final). I was the only contestant to NOT get the response right in FJ and Alex seemed almost, pardon the paternal pondering, disappointed I had made such an admittedly moronic guess. Still, I had done well enough through the first two boards of clues to assure a second victory.

GAME 3 (air date: November 26)

A competitor really kept me on my toes, forcing me to play better in this one. She was a lab instructor or science teacher I believe. Oddly enough, during rehearsal, I recall her saying she felt embarrassed or stupid, having missed a few clues when we were practicing. However, during game time, she was on fire. I did the best I could to keep up, but was in a fairly distant second place. Categories like biology and meteorology really worked in her favour and I kept hoping to see a category on classical music, but to no avail! The Final Jeopardy! category was food brands and I didn't like the sound of it, but wagered to surpass my fierce opponent's lead if she should fail to get it correct. As I read through the clue, something to do with Swift company choosing this name that we associate with a rotund person, I worked past the Poppin' Fresh guy to meats and then finally an epiphany!! I had looked up Thanksgiving trivia before I came to the taping because I knew it would be aired around the week of the American Thanksgiving (oddly enough a month and a half after the Canadian thanksgiving I am used to). I had memorized names of Pilgrims, natives, presidents who helped solidify the date of Thanksgiving and on and on. Luckily, the web site I had been using kept giving tips for cooking turkey, sponsored, I'm assuming by Butterball. With only a few seconds to spare, I scribbled down the response Butterball, barely legible on the screen. When Alex came to me I actually had to say it as he had difficulty reading my writing, but I was the only contestant to get the correct response and so won my third game. All in all, I had an amazing time on the show and am so grateful and proud I was able to compete on a show I have very nearly idolized for almost two decades. It really was one of the best moments in my life so far.

Nathaniel appeared in the following 4 archived games:
#5574, aired 2008-11-27 Nathaniel Barnes vs. Peter Pinnow vs. Danielle Sexton
#5573, aired 2008-11-26 Nathaniel Barnes vs. Durant Gipson vs. Erin Haramoto Ask Alex #5: Most money.
#5572, aired 2008-11-25 Nathaniel Barnes vs. Jillian Rebmann vs. Guil Prickette
#5571, aired 2008-11-24 Brian Muth vs. Nathaniel Barnes vs. Jean MacKay Jackson

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