The Buzzer!

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rouquinne
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The Buzzer!

Post by rouquinne » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:26 pm

Ha! So much for all this 'signaling device' nonsense now that The Powers That Be just tweeted out a link to this article:

https://www.jeopardy.com/jbuzz/features ... rdy-buzzer

I know I've mentioned more than a few times the issues I have with my hands. At first they thought it was de Quervain's syndrome, but now the diagnosis is arthritis. For the past couple of years, I have faithfully had my hands injected with cortisone every 5 months in order to deal with the pain. This last time around, it did not "take".

My issue is that the only part of my body that is affected by arthritis happens to be the joint at the base of my thumb and it has consequences all the way up the digit.

Over the past four years, kind boardies have said to me that accommodations can be made for disabilities, but after reading this line in the article, I think I'm dead in the water:

"....lightning reflexes and flexible thumbs are just as important to the game as having staggering amounts of knowledge about a vast array of subjects."

Friends, I think I'm toast, unless (should lightning strike and I get The Call) I find an alternate method of using the buzzer. (Or I can get lidocaine injections for the pain prior to departure to LA.)

Is there anyone here who used the device without depressing it with their thumb who can impart some wisdom? Right now, when I'm playing along at home, I hold my pen from last audition in my left hand and hit the cap with the palm of my right, but I suspect that won't cut it at the next audition or when actually playing the game.

Suggestions gratefully received!
Last edited by rouquinne on Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Wheatley
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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by Wheatley » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:47 pm

Could you hold the buzzer in one hand, and hover the other hand over it?
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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by MinnesotaMyron » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:50 pm

Wheatley wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:47 pm
Could you hold the buzzer in one hand, and hover the other hand over it?
Specifically not allowed, unless they've changed their rules in the last 15 years.

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by alietr » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:58 pm

MinnesotaMyron wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:50 pm
Wheatley wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:47 pm
Could you hold the buzzer in one hand, and hover the other hand over it?
Specifically not allowed, unless they've changed their rules in the last 15 years.
But they will always make whatever accommodations they can to ensure a contestant's fair participation.

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pinkfreud
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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by pinkfreud » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:00 pm

I have rheumatoid arthritis in both hands. This, plus aging reflexes, caused my buzzer-fu to be quite poor during my game. However, I managed to come in second, losing by only $300. I doubt that there is a way to level the playing field for people with disabilities involving the use of their hands, but it is entirely possible that you can win despite your arthritis. And, if not, just getting the chance to play is an incredible experience.

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by acthomas » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:20 pm

rouquinne wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:26 pm
Is there anyone here who used the device without depressing it with their thumb who can impart some wisdom? Right now, when I'm playing along at home, I hold my pen from last audition in my left hand and hit the cap with the palm of my right, but I suspect that won't cut it at the next audition or when actually playing the game.
You can see a number of people on the show hold the buzzer with one hand and press the trigger with their index finger on their other hand. I don't know if that's officially discouraged -- slamming it with your palm is because it can damage the device -- but I've seen it enough to imagine it's OK and it doesn't look damaging.

Otherwise, I concur with the other posters: they will find a way to make it work.

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by zerobandwidth » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:30 pm

alietr wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:58 pm
MinnesotaMyron wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:50 pm
Wheatley wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:47 pm
Could you hold the buzzer in one hand, and hover the other hand over it?
Specifically not allowed, unless they've changed their rules in the last 15 years.
But they will always make whatever accommodations they can to ensure a contestant's fair participation.
Yeah there was no talk of "forbidden" buzzer grips when I was there in April.

@rouquinne: You should be able to get away with holding the device in one fist, and depressing the button with a finger of the other hand. I would recommend using the middle finger, curled as if playing the piano, to give the best control. Also, in the morning scrimmage, when asked to try the buzzer, get a feel for how far you can pre-press the button with that finger before the device actually triggers; keeping the button partially pressed can save another fraction of a second off your reaction time. If you absolutely can't hold the buzzer yourself (for example, if keeping a grip on the device in one hand gets tiresome), maybe you could leave it in its "holster" on the podium, and push it from there. You can also ask the contestant coordinators for some extra time at the podium in the morning scrimmage, to see how long your hands can last. (Of course you wouldn't want to overdo it, either, in case your name is drawn for game 1…)

Practice with your Official Jeopardy! Click Pen™ to see what works best for you! :D
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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by dhkendall » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:34 pm

You mentioned recently that you got The Email and that you'll be auditioning in two weeks time. (Congratulations, again!) I don't know if you've been to an audition before (but considering how long you've been a boardie, you must've!) but one thing I was really happy to see at my audition is that they brought the real buzzers from the set to use for our mock games. So, at your audition, you'll get a chance to use the buzzers from the stage there. When that happens, you'll either find out that you can use them without too much problem, or you can bring up your concerns right then and there and they'll help you through it.

As alietr mentioned, they are great at making accommodations for disabled people that can't play the game the way most people can. If they want you, they'll move heaven and earth to have you there and be able to play.

Worse comes to worse, you can request a designated buzzer-er. I suggest Watson. :D
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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by rmfromfla » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:37 pm

Watching a game from Season 3 today, challenger Fran was trying to ring in on a clue, but was using the light pen from the FJ round instead, which she admitted to Alex during the contestant interviews. :shock:

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by Golf » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:14 pm

Outside the box thought, with the device in your hand hold your arm straight down with the button just off your hip. To ring in, simply move your hand slightly towards your body ramming the button into your hip.

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by MasterCone » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:30 pm

Fairly recently (maybe near the end of last season) I clearly recall noticing that one female contestant was gripping the signaling device such that she was using her index finger to hit the button. From the looks of it, it was not a significant hindrance most likely.

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by squarekara » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:38 pm

Don't worry about that "flexible thumbs" line. There's no hard and fast rule about handling the buzzer. (I did not use my thumb.) As long as your method doesn't wreck the equipment, they don't care how you depress the button. They want you to be as comfortable as possible, so definitely let them know about your limitations. The button/hip suggestion is great, but you can also ask for the use of a fixed surface (chair back, table, clipboard) against which to press the device--whatever allows you to remain poised and focused. Best of luck!

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rouquinne
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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by rouquinne » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:03 pm

I love you guys!

:)

I did have an audition 4 years ago and had some issues using the buzzer then; my hands are so much worse now!

I will try some of these suggestions, but Pink, I want to thank you for that first-hand (pardon the pun) experience.

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by Ironhorse » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:12 am

J! prides itself on accessibility. When Eddie Timanus competed, all visual clues were removed. I have little doubt they would find a way to accommodate you should you pass the audition.
Never been on J!, but once won a knockoff version that aired on local access TV.

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mcsheffrey
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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by mcsheffrey » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:04 am

Speaking as someone who has fairly good reflexes but was pretty poor at using the buzzer, I would say that good reflexes are not really the trick to mastering the buzzer. I would instead say that it really comes down to timing and that the technique you described should work just fine. I found the most important component to be trying to solve the clue quickly enough that you can then concentrate on the last few words and anticipate the end of Alex's reading.

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by immaf » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:18 am

In most of my auditions (I am about to wash out of the pool for the 6th time) I have held the buzzer in my right hand and used my right index finger to depress the button. I use my left hand to steady my right by grasping my wrist. I have never had TPTB object to this technique.

In fact, I read somewhere (perhaps in Prisoner of Trebekistan?) that someone once studied different methods of ringing in, and concluded that one's index finger reacts faster than one's thumb.

It is true that I have never gotten THE CALL, but I attibrute that more to my (lack of) personality than to my buzzer technique. Or maybe it's just bad luck? Hope springs eternal.
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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by Fleeboy » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:28 am

immaf wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:18 am
In most of my auditions (I am about to wash out of the pool for the 6th time) I have held the buzzer in my right hand and used my right index finger to depress the button. I use my left hand to steady my right by grasping my wrist. I have never had TPTB object to this technique.

In fact, I read somewhere (perhaps in Prisoner of Trebekistan?) that someone once studied different methods of ringing in, and concluded that one's index finger reacts faster than one's thumb.
When I was prepping for the show, years before Trebekistan was published, I read an interview with Bob Harris in which he described his buzzer technique, which he called the "Harris Hit." For a right-hander, it involved placing the left wrist flat on the lectern, anchoring the right wrist atop it, and using the index finger on the button. I tried it, and it was effective against any contestant not named Rutter.

I don't know if this would work today. Aren't the lecterns lower now than they were in the 2000s?

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by AFRET CMS » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:06 pm

MinnesotaMyron wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:50 pm
Wheatley wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:47 pm
Could you hold the buzzer in one hand, and hover the other hand over it?
Specifically not allowed, unless they've changed their rules in the last 15 years.
Not-to-distant past, one contestant (if memory serves, it may have been Rob Liguori) held the base of the buzzer in left hand, with right thumb and last three fingers gripping lightly above it, with right index finger used to press the button.
I'm not the defending Jeopardy! champion. But I have played one on TV.

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by AFRET CMS » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:10 pm

squarekara wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:38 pm
Don't worry about that "flexible thumbs" line. There's no hard and fast rule about handling the buzzer. (I did not use my thumb.) As long as your method doesn't wreck the equipment, they don't care how you depress the button. They want you to be as comfortable as possible, so definitely let them know about your limitations. The button/hip suggestion is great, but you can also ask for the use of a fixed surface (chair back, table, clipboard) against which to press the device--whatever allows you to remain poised and focused. Best of luck!
In thinking about your response, I wonder how it would work to hold the buzzer with a pencil-like grip upside down against the top of the lectern, and simply press down to activate the button. Have to wonder if somone's ever tried that.
I'm not the defending Jeopardy! champion. But I have played one on TV.

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Re: The Buzzer!

Post by opusthepenguin » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:20 pm

AFRET CMS wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:10 pm
In thinking about your response, I wonder how it would work to hold the buzzer with a pencil-like grip upside down against the top of the lectern, and simply press down to activate the button. Have to wonder if somone's ever tried that.
Your guess is better than mine, but I wonder if the button might slip on the lectern if you weren't careful to hold the buzzer at exactly a 90-degree angle to the surface.

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