Wheel of Fortune fans are furious at the game show for not enforcing one of its more important rules during a recent episode. On Thursday, Decider reports that contestant Steven Page offered the solve to a puzzle that read “Quality Craftsmanship.” However, many viewers on social media were quick to point out that there was an error in pronunciation on the part of Page, who dropped the “s” from the solve, making the word the often mistaken “Craftmanship,” which is incorrect both grammatically and per the rules of Wheel of Fortune.
Several were delighted to publicly note that the incorrect answer earned the contestant an additional $9,000 in prize money and that the solve helped him advance past his fellow contestants to the bonus round. Had he been deemed incorrect, the clue would have gone to his opponent, Lisa Volivitch, who very likely would have solved the puzzle. Although Page didn’t end up solving the bonus puzzle, he did walk away from the night’s game Wheel of Fortune champion when it’s very possible he shouldn’t have been. Meanwhile, Lisa slumped off with a little more than $3,000 in prize money despite the fact that she could have tripled that total at the very least. Who knows how she would have done in the bonus round?
While it may seem petty to be a stickler for the Wheel of Fortune rules to the tune of complaining about whether or not the letter “s” was properly enunciated in the solution to a puzzle, the more die-hard fans of the game show aren’t necessarily howling at a technical foul. They’re more upset that the show is not keeping its enforcement of its own rules consistent. This is the part where the infamous “and rule” comes into play.
Several contestants over the past few years have fallen victim to a loss at the most technical of Wheel of Fortune rules that could be changed overnight. However, the show simply won’t change it. Although the show has been on the air for almost 40 years, the rule in question has only been around since 2016. As Yahoo Entertainment notes, the “and rule” came about when the show adopted the crossword puzzle format. The contestants are tasked with figuring out a categorical list, often consisting of four words. When they announce the list of words, they are forbidden from adding the conjunction “and” to the list. So, rather than talk like a human being, they have to remember to only say the four words and nothing but the four words or risk losing out on points entirely.
Quality Wheel of Fortune contestants such as David Pederson, Kristen Shaw and many others have fallen victim to this rule, losing out on wins for being intellectual and speaking more like Frasier than a cave person. Each time it happens, fans far-and-wide take to social media to call for the rule to be changed, but it has fallen on the deaf ears of Pat Sajak and the Wheel of Fortune crew for almost six years.
So, while “Quality Craftmanship” may seem like an arbitrary blunder that is more a technical violation than a violation of the spirit Wheel of Fortune, the fact of the matter is that the fans have valid complaints. Their calls aren’t for more nerdy rule-following, but rather for rules to be flexible enough to understand what the game is actually testing rather than a single contestant’s ability to hold onto a preferred speech pattern that’s acceptable sometimes, but not other times.