Robert Santoli’s overwhelming victory on an episode of “Wheel of Fortune” wasn’t just a fluke.
Santoli guessed the opening round toss-up with only one letter and an ampersand and dominated the rest of the game with similar mastery.
But it wasn’t by accident.
Santoli, 23, has been trying to get on the show for about five years and it took him seven auditions to finally get accepted, according to an extensive interview with Tapinto.net.
He knew that the episode was sponsored by a cruise company and that some of the puzzles will be maritime-themed.
“The instant I got my theme, I immediately came up with an ever-growing list of puzzles themed towards cruises, sailing, fish, boats—anything on or in the water,” Santoli told Tapinto.
“There are websites that keep track of past ‘Wheel of Fortune’ puzzles, so I did some research on previous weeks themed toward these things and wrote them down. The show does sometimes repeat puzzles, especially themed ones. ‘Port & Starboard’ had been used at least twice before my show, both times as a Toss-Up puzzle.”
Santoli won over $76,000 in cash and prizes.
Man Wins ‘Unsolvable’ Puzzle
In another instance, a “Wheel of Fortune” contestant once faced a board that appeared to be unsolvable.
But either by a lucky guess or something else, he was able to solve it—almost immediately.
Emil, the contestant, started off with “NE” in the show’s “Thing” category.
None of the four letters that he guessed were on found on board.
Then, Emil was given about 10 seconds to make his guess.
“This looks tough to me,” Pat Sajak says.
“It’s a thing … you’re a very good puzzle solver, but I don’t know. Keep talkin’ and maybe the right thing will pop out,” Sajak adds.
His very first guess of “new baby buggy” was correct. The audience erupted in applause while Sajack was left in awe.
Sajak then “searched” him live on the set, but he found nothing before walking off while Emil celebrated.
His lucky guess earned him $45,000 before taxes.