Viewers felt sympathy for a Wheel of Fortune contestant on Tuesday’s (September 12) episode after he lost out on a big money prize due to what many deemed an “unheard” of phrase, while another said it was “impossible.”
Mark Henderson, a theater professor from Jackson, Mississippi, made it to the bonus round and had a chance to add $50,000 to his winnings, having already amassed $13,990 during regular play. Feeling confident, Henderson picked the “Phrase” category and the additional letters “G, Y,” and “O.”
Unfortunately, those letters didn’t help much, and Henderson was left staring at a puzzle board that read, “_ _ _ R L _ N G _ R O _ N _.”
“Well, it’s a phrase. You have ten seconds to try to do something with that,” host Pat Sajak said.
Henderson was completely baffled and didn’t say anything until the last second, randomly guessing, “Carling Brown.”
“Well, you said something,” Sajak said, reassuring the confused contestant before revealing the correct answer.
Vanna White then turned over the letters to reveal the phrase was “Whirling Around.”
Viewers took to social media to share their sympathies with Henderson and blast the puzzle.
“No one says “Whirling Around!?” Another horrible final puzzle in the category of phrase,” wrote one fan on Twitter/X.
“”Whirling Around” is not a phrase,” said another, while one viewer remarked, “Who the hell uses that final bonus puzzle phrase?!?”
No one says “Whirling Around!?” Another horrible final puzzle in the category of phrase. pic.twitter.com/ybF6a1dSGU
— Man For Mindy (@manformindy) September 12, 2023
“Whirling Around” is not a phrase #WheelOfFortune
— Pat Sajak said what? (@NoMoreVowels) September 12, 2023
Whirling around…is not a phrase 🤭 #wheeloffortune
— Chill like a Sunday️ (@Sofa_loaf_) September 12, 2023
Another WOF fan chimed in that it was an “impossible” puzzle.
Still, it wasn’t all bad for Henderson, who got to keep his $14K and a trip to Italy that he won earlier in the episode.
Elsewhere, Sajak, who is set to retire at the end of this season, took to social media to apologize to those who didn’t get to see Monday’s (September 11) episode. The show was bumped from its usual time slot in markets like New York and Chicago on Monday to make way for Monday Night Football.
“Because of football and squabbles between stations and carriers, a lot of you won’t be able to see some episodes of Wheel this season,” Sajak wrote. “We’re as sorry as you are, but we are powerless to do anything about it.”
Because of football and squabbles between stations and carriers, a lot of you won’t be able to see some episodes of Wheel this season. We’re as sorry as you are, but we are powerless to do anything about it.
— Pat Sajak (@PatOnWheel) September 12, 2023
Wheel of Fortune, Weekdays, check your local listings