R S T L N E

This would make a great Jeopardy “question”, because it’s combining two games shows into one.

Do you know what the letters in the image and title of the blog represent?

If so, then you must spend some of your evenings like me.

Those letters represent the five consonants and one vowel that a contestant is given when he or she reaches the Bonus Round on Wheel of Fortune. The player then gets to select three more consonants and one more vowel.

I’m not sure how the puzzles for the Bonus Round are chosen, but I’ve always felt that the producers can control how hard it will be to solve the puzzle.

They could make the puzzle relatively easy by choosing a phrase that features all  five of the default consonants and the one vowel in key places, like at the beginning of a word, and then not leave many letters left to solve the puzzle. And for the letters that are left, have them be among the more common letters people would think of – no “Z’s”, no “Q’s”, no “K’s”, or no “W’s”.

They could also make it really hard by having few, if any of the standard five consonants and one vowel appear in the bonus puzzle, and then have lots of the less common letters noted above be part of the solution.

I also wonder if they assign a degree of difficulty to each puzzle, so that the producers have a sense of how likely it will be that a contestant will solve the puzzle correctly.

And if they have that degree of difficulty, are they able to decide when to pick a relatively hard vs. easy puzzle, or is that done at random?

I would like to think that the producers would be required to have the puzzles for the bonus round be randomly selected prior to each game, but we have no way of knowing.

Many times I’ll watch the show and the bonus round seems essentially impossible, and other times it seems fairly easy, and it seems like that is something the producers could easily control, as noted above.

As you can tell, I’ve seen the show too many times (I even saw it live once with my mom and my wife when it came to the Philly area) if this is the kind of thing that’s on my mind.

I did try to see if I could find anything online that offers any insight, and I came across an article, “Statistics on the Bonus Round of Wheel of Fortune” that appeared in the September 2016 issue of The College Mathematics Journal.

While the article looked like it may address some of my concerns, unfortunately only the first page of the article is available, and I can’t justify spending the $16 necessary to gain access to the full article. I’m not THAT obsessed with Wheel of Fortune, at least not yet.

So I’ll just continue to have my conspiracy theory thoughts about the Bonus Round of Wheel of Fortune.

Doing so lets me keep yelling “the fix is in” when the puzzle is too hard, which is defined as any puzzle that I cannot solve.

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