“Wheel of Fortune” fans are upset after a contestant lost out on close to $10,000 in cash and prizes over a technical rule violation.
Contestant Kristen Shaw made a minor mistake on Thursday night’s episode while trying to solve the “crossword puzzle” challenge. Although she had the puzzle solved, she added an extra word to her answer, which cost her the game and has prompted many fans to call on the long-running game show to make a rules change.
As Yahoo Entertainment reports, Shaw was attempting to solve the puzzle, which requires a contestant to list the words that appear. In Shaw’s case, the words were “right,” “football,” “left” and “Sally.”
She gave her answer: “ “Right, football, left and Sally.”
Unfortunately, Shaw answered the question in the form of a sentence, adding the conjunction “and.” The rules say contestants must say the words in the puzzle--and only the words in the puzzle. This unfortunate mistake forced host Pat Sajak to deny her the win.
“Most times I caution people not to add anything, and you maybe didn’t even hear yourself say it but you threw an ‘and’ in there with the last thing and we have to go by the rules,” he explained.
The minor flub cost Shaw $1,950 as well as a trip to Nashville valued at more than $8,000. Another contestant solved the puzzle after Shaw’s mistake and easily took home the cash and the big win.
"Our long-standing rule is that in order to have a correct puzzle solve, a contestant must say only what is on the board without adding words," A spokesperson for the show told Fox News. "Contestants are thoroughly briefed prior to the show, and Pat often reminds them of this rule when solving a puzzle in this particular category."
Regardless, the controversial moment sparked a debate online, with some fans calling on the show to amend its gameplay and others defending the clearly defined rule book.
"@WheelofFortune watch all the time but strongly disagree with the rules on the crossword puzzle for 11/21 show. Should have contestants say the word and the category to avoid extra words," one Twitter user wrote.
"wheel of fortune's "if you say 'and' when solving the crossword it doesn't count" rule sounds like a 3rd grade playground technicality enforced by the rich kid," another user noted.
"They can easily change the rule to allow 'and' as part of your verbal answer. Conjunctions are natural parts of speech an [sic] should be ok for crosswords," another grammar-savvy person wrote.
"Utterly ridiculous that you didn't give credit to Kristen for the ___ field puzzle because she said 'and' before the last word of the list. Functionally no different from the pauses you allow. You know she knew the puzzle," another user complained.
However, there were a handful of people who are of the opinion that she violated the rules and has to live with the consequences, no matter how close she was.
"Anybody who watches WOF knows not to add anything. The rule is fine it's a world where we must fix everything to win is wrong," one user complained.
"I DISAGREE! SHE WAS TOLD NOT TO ADD ANY WORDS, AND SHE SAID "AND" SO SHE LOST.! ALWAYS SOME NUT COMPLAINING ABOUT SOMETHING!" another user noted.
"It is a puzzle word game. She was warned and still let it slip. Just like people who umm in their speech. Grow up and say it right," someone else noted.