The answer is: "It is mentioned on Minnesota's and depicted on Alaska's flags."
That's what confronted three contestants – all of them teachers – in a Final Jeopardy round on the long-running television quiz show this week.
(Scroll way down for the correct answer ... er, question.)
Hmmm. Mentioned in Minnesota and depicted in Alaska...
We'll help by showing you what the Alaska flag looks like:
While you're thinking, we'll hum the Final Jeopardy theme ... and mention that we learned about this through a newspaper story about Eric Hack, a Latin teacher at Broadwater Academy in Exmore, Virginia, whose students and supporters gathered to watch the telecast of his Jeopardy appearance.
Hack was the winner, too. But none of the three teachers on the show came up with the correct answer – sorry, question – regarding the state flags.
Minnesota's flag, by the way, features a wreath of the state flower, the showy lady-slipper. The three years that appear on the flag denote the year Fort Snelling was established, the year of statehood, and the year Minnesota's first state flag was adopted.
There are 19 stars because Minnesota was the 19th state admitted after the original 13 colonies.
DING! Time's up.
The correct reponse
If you asked "What is the North Star?" you're a winner.
A little tricky because you'll notice Minnesota's mention is not in English. "L'Étoile du Nord," – French for star of the north – is the state motto.
Mr. Hack took a stab at it by guessing "What is Ursa Major?"
But his counterparts from Massachusetts and Arizona also missed it, sending the Virginia Latin teacher on to Tuesday's semifinal round in the competition among educators.
Enjoy those parting gifts and thanks for playing.