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The Jeopardy! College Championship wrapped up Friday, and MIT’s Lilly Chen walked away with the $100,000 top prize. That’s not huge news—someone was going to win, after all—but the spicy way Chen clinched the victory has everybody talking. Rolling into Final Jeopardy with a big lead over her nearest competitor, all Chen had to do was avoid blowing it all with a risky wager. Faced with a question about a famous astronomer’s epitaph, she made the smart play and bet zero. And then she named that astronomer: “Who is The Spiciest Memelord?”
The answer was Johannes Kepler, but Chen’s response was so much better. “Memelord” has been around since the mid-aughts as a descriptor—often sarcastic and derogatory—of someone who’s become truly obsessed with meme culture, to the exclusion of other interests. “Spicy” is basically the top-tier adjective one can apply to a good meme, even more superlative than “dank.”
And, in the grand tradition of making Alex Trebek speak aloud various pop culture references that a 70-something erudite Canadian probably shouldn’t know, Lilly Chen forced Trebek to ask: “Who is the spiciest memelord?” (He pronounced it properly, at least!)
In addition to being the big winner of the six-figure college tournament, Chen will go down in history as the best Final Jeopardy respondent of all time. Who is the spiciest memelord? Apparently, she is.
The only way her game could’ve been improved is if she had written “Whomst’d is the spiciest memelord?” instead.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.