As my interview with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire millionaire Martin Flood continues today, the discussion turns to the multiple choice format of Millionaire and the relative values of the answer options…
MF: I noticed over the years that when the questions get quite valuable, the answer tends to be the lesser well known one. (And yet) everyone goes for the one that they know. In fact so many contestants say “well I’ve never heard of this person, I’ve never heard of that person – I’ve only ever heard of one person so I’ll lock that one in”. That’s probably going to be the one that’s not the answer, because that’s the one you’ve heard of. This is worth a quarter of a million dollars or something!
It’s like the classic question for $125 000, “When James Cook mapped the east coast of Australia, what was his rank?” Let’s say that answer was worth $500. What would you say is the answer (without them even giving you four options)?
MF: Now the question was worth $125 000! One of the options is ‘Captain’, one of the options is ‘Commodore’, one is ‘Commander’ and one is ‘Lieutenant’. Are you still going to go for ‘Captain’, at $125 000?
SH: I’m not. I think I know the answer to this.
MF: Okay, that’s my point. When I looked at the other ones, it’s obviously not ‘Captain’. You don’t get paid $125 000, being an Aussie, for knowing “Captain James Cook”! The guy goes “It’s Captain! Everyone knows it’s ‘Captain James Cook’! I can’t believe it! It’s so easy – 125 grand! It’s Captain James Cook!”
SH: Really? But he’s proven himself. He is even telling you why he is wrong when he says “everyone knows it’s ‘Captain James Cook’!” Because if everyone does know, then it’s not worth $125 000, it’s worth $500.
MF: Exactly. But unfortunately most contestants do the same thing. It’s unbelievable.
SH: It’s human nature, I suppose.
MF: Yeah, I remember this beautiful young girl, she got a $64 000 question; “In Romeo and Juliet; ‘wherefore art thou Romeo?’… What does “wherefore” mean?” And one of the answers is “Where”, for $64 000. Does it kind of seem obvious that the answer would be “Where”? Too obvious?
SH: But then you start second guessing.
MF: I know what you are saying, it could be a double bluff but I have never seen a double bluff on the show, ever. For $64 000, translating old English “wherefore” into “where” is unbelievably obvious. It was wrong. But she locked it in anyway, sadly. Because it means “why”. The “whys and wherefores” – that’s another expression, do you know this?
SH: Yeah, “never mind the whys and wherefores”. “Why” and “wherefore” means the same thing.
MF: Yes. She’s basically saying “why are you a Montague and I’m a Capulet?”
SH: “Why does it have to be this way?”
MF: That was just another example of an obvious answer at a higher value; $64 000 is pretty high.
Next week, we discuss the audition and screening process for Millionaire in more detail, and Martin outlines his experiences in that part of the process. So if you’re thinking of going on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, you can’t afford to miss that!