A Boston question stumped Ken Jennings on ‘Jeopardy! GOAT’ Tuesday night

From left: James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter appear on the set of "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time."
From left: James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter appear on the set of "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time."Eric McCandless/Associated Press

Boston history buffs must be slapping their foreheads over this one.

Trivia whiz Ken Jennings was stumped by a Boston-related question during the first hour-long match of “Jeopardy! GOAT” on Tuesday night, in which Jennings, James Holzhauer, and Brad Rutter competed to become the show’s “Greatest of all Time.”

The GOAT tournament pits the three TV show champs against each other, treating each hour-long match as two “Jeopardy!” games; the winner of each hour-long match is decided by the total point score of the two games. The first to win three matches will receive $1 million; the two others each receive $250,000.


With so much cash on the line, it’s understandable if Seattle-based Jennings harbors a bit of a grudge against Beantown. In the second half of the match, Rutter — after incorrectly guessing the answer to a Daily Double clue on philosophers — chose the $2,000 question under the “architecture” category.

The clue read: “This Boston-born architect designed the Massachusetts state house and from 1818 to 1829 served as architect of the US Capitol.”

Jennings buzzed in first, asking, “Who is Latrobe?”

“Nope,” host Alex Trebek shot back.

Holzhauer then buzzed in with the correct answer: “Who is Bulfinch?”

For those keeping track at home: Jennings was likely referring to Benjamin Henry Latrobe, an architect who worked on the US Capitol in the early 1800s.

However, Jennings seemed to get Latrobe confused with Charles Bulfinch, a Boston-born architect who studied at Harvard and left his mark on the city by working on the Massachusetts State House. (Bulfinch also took the mantle from Latrobe when it came to the US Capitol.)

Here’s some more information on Bulfinch from the Architect of the Capitol’s official website:

Bulfinch was among the first American-born architects of distinction. Born in Boston in 1763, he graduated from Harvard and studied European buildings using an itinerary drawn up by Thomas Jefferson. He became famous in New England for elegant private residences, churches and public buildings. His most famous commission was the Massachusetts Statehouse of 1795–1798. Following his Washington career Bulfinch retired to Boston, where he died in 1844.

For Jennings, missing the question might have stung, but he still ended up eking out a win against Holzhauer: Jennings finished the night with $63,400, while Holzhauer received $63,200. Rutter trailed at $10,400.


“Jeopardy! GOAT” will continue Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. More dates will be added if needed, according to the show’s website.

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss