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Ken Jennings of Jeopardy! confronts the player after calling the host his “nemesis” in a tense moment before the frantic finish


KEN Jennings was surprised when a Jeopardy! The contestant called the host his “nemesis” in Monday’s wild episode.

Recurring winner Troy Meyer then scored a crucial 3rd win for a total of $97K.

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New contestant Duncan revealed Ken Jennings’ name alone ‘raised a lot of eyes from me’Credit: ABC
The host replied in surprise,

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The host replied in surprise, “I wasn’t notified!”Credit: ABC

The reigning champion faced Duncan Bowling, an ICU nurse manager from Washington, D.C., and Ann Faircloth, a farmer from Clinton, North Carolina.

Ken, 48, turned to newcomer Duncan during the Q&A break: “I understand I’m your enemy, Duncan. And they didn’t notify me.”

Duncan replied, “I hate to break it to you, but back to your original path on Jeopardy! I was a quiz contestant in high school.

“And whenever we were relaxing, coach would say to me ‘how do you think Ken Jennings got this far, it wasn’t by relaxing!'”

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“Well, your name drew a lot of eyeballs from me.”

The straight-faced contestant assured: “But I’m glad we can put the past in the past.”

Ken laughed and nervously turned to the camera to address Duncan’s slightly awful share.

“If your quiz bowl coach is watching, I messed up a lot in high school, I’m so sorry!” Ken assured as the crowd went wild for the scrapped offense on the scoreboard.

“Thank you, thank you,” replied the contestant.

“I DIED when Ken looked straight into the camera and admitted, ‘I screwed up a ton in high school!’ Thank you for inspiring the next generation,” one fan tweeted.

‘NEXT SUPER CHAMPION?’

Troy, a music executive from Tampa, Florida, then went double-time and won the third of three “Runaways.”

In other words, by Final Jeopardy, he had such a large lead that by the time he didn’t bet the house, he had already won.

While Duncan landed the two remaining “Daily Doubles,” Troy caught clues afterward and left him in the dust.

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By Final Jeopardy, he had $32,000 to Duncan’s $13,600.

Poor Anne finished at $0 and did not compete.

Although it did get a laugh from Ken when he guessed that former athlete-turned-actor Bruce Dern refused to shave “his legs” in an earlier clue.

Final Jeopardy in “Astronomy and Geography” wrote: “At the winter solstice, the sun is in Sagittarius; it once appeared in this constellation, giving its name to a geographic feature.”

Both players were correct with “Capricorn” and Troy played it safe with $3,000 to win with $35,000.

Ken admitted that Troy had “the boosters” until the last lap and just couldn’t catch him.

The big win left Troy one W away from an invitation to the Tournament of Champions – he was clutching his chest and looking so grateful.

Fans are very excited online as three escapees is a good sign and one wrote on Reddit:

“Troy really seems to be very grateful to be on the show and he’s soaking up every moment. He doesn’t seem to take his petty superstardom for granted and that’s very refreshing to see.

“I think he will be the next super champ,” wrote another.

“Troy is pretty good,” a third Twitter user put it simply.

So far, only four contestants have won big enough to advance to next year Tournament of Champions.

These would be fan favorite Ray Lalonde with 13 wins, former poker ace Cris Pannullo with 21 wins, five-day champion Luigi de Guzman and four-day champion and priest David Sibley.

MORE ABOUT TROY

Ken also revealed on stage that Troy’s emotional first win saw him look up close to tears for the sweetest reason.

Troy’s mother recently passed away and they “shared a great love” of watching Jeopardy! together.

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As Troy also briefly touched on tonight, his wife Genevieve was a contestant in 2009 and they met anonymously online when she was training to compete.

Troy said to New York Times on their 2010 wedding announcement: “I talked to friends and they thought I was completely crazy.”

They kept in touch as she prepared, but Troy didn’t know what she looked like until her episode aired.

Troy told The New York Times that before then, “I thought he was 55.”

They finally met in person after her pageant: “Within the first 24 hours we just wanted to be together,” Genevieve told the New York Times. They now share a son, 10 years old.

Troy – who some fans have said looks like Bill Hunter – is one of the top US players at the position, the online invitation-only Learned League, a trivia club that has more than 25,000 members and questions that look like Jeopardy!

It is no easy feat to “win the scarf”, the prize given to the champion of the secret league, four times.

Many dangers! Champions are, or were secretly, members including host Ken, per The New Yorker – was forced to resign for obvious reasons.

Meanwhile, Troy also has no social media accounts – which is another sign that he could be our next big winner, as champions are advised to keep a low or low profile.

WHERE IS: MAYIM?

Co-host Mayim Bialik, 47, is expected to return to the game show in late February.

With Call Me Kat’s schedule running longer than expected, Mayim will begin her hosting duties with a new teen tournament.

Fans will get more of Ken as he hosts the new Jeopardy! Masters spinoff, which is scheduled to air during spring primetime.

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The six-champ special invited Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio, Sam Buttrey, Andrew He, Mattea Roach and James Holzhauer to join as contestants.

The 20-game, 10-episode special will see all players face each other in a round-robin with no one eliminated.

Troy Meyer reached Final Jeopardy heights with his third score in three games

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Troy Meyer reached Final Jeopardy heights with his third score in three gamesCredit: ABC
Fans believe he could be 'the next super-champion' or 10+ game winner

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Fans believe he could be ‘the next super-champion’ or 10+ game winnerCredit: ABC
Troy met his wife online when she was training to compete on Jeopardy!  in 2009

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Troy met his wife online when she was training to compete on Jeopardy! in 2009Credit: WTSP