Now, of course, if you’re playing a quiz game casually with friends you can make a random guess because the stakes aren’t exactly high. But Major Ingram was sitting on £500,000. A wrong guess would leave him £468,000 poorer. Of course, the right answer would make him £1,000,000. But it all boiled down to the fact that Ingram had no idea what the answer was.
However, after hearing a second cough – conveniently occurring at the mention of “googol” – suddenly, Ingram seemed certain. He went from being on the brink of calling it quits to confident in a matter of seconds – despite never hearing of a “googol.” While it’s not enough reason for most people to take such an incredible gamble, it was enough for Ingram.
The Major Almost Gave Up
What is interesting is that Ingram had seemed on the brink of defeat, stating outright “I don’t think I can do this one.” The major appeared to be majorly perplexed. It seemed like the major was genuinely stumped and was going to have to take his winnings home. It wouldn’t have been all that bad as he would have gone home with a happy £500,000.
Yet, once again, a familiar situation occurred. Major Ingram went through his options. One by one, he named them. First, he said, “I think it’s a ‘nanomole.’" Next, he offered, “It could be a ‘gigabit.’ Then again, “I don’t think it’s a ‘megatron.’” And finally, “I haven’t heard of a ‘googol.’”
Either the producers must have jacked up the air-con too ultracold to make the studio a freezing zone or “googol” had made Whittock cough again. And like on previous occasions, the coughing came only when the Major mentioned answer A: googol.
Interestingly, after hearing the cough or alternatively ‘by a process of elimination,’ Ingram had suddenly seemed more convinced about the answer being “googol.” Why Ingram was so sure of it being “googol” is simply downright crazy as he himself confessed that he had no idea was a “googol” was. He offered no explanation only that it sounded like a good guess.
Tarrant Starts to Lose It
It was clear that Tarrant’s patience was beginning to fade. Major Ingram confessed that he did not know what a “googol” was, but said this was he was one opportunity to win £1,000,000. Of course, Tarrant, dished out the truth to the major with a bit of sass, saying it was also the major’s first opportunity to lose £468,000.
Tarrant also summed up Ingram’s rationale saying, “You’ve got £500,000. You’re going for the one you’ve never heard of just because you’ve never heard of it.” The entire studio was wrapped in laughter at this point. It was like some kind of crazy joke. But like a joke without a punchline, for the final question Major Ingram answered “googol.”
The Final Answer
However, just before answering, Ingram’s doubts reappeared. He seemed suddenly aware of the enormity of the risk he was taking. Instead of forgoing the money, he repeated the word “googol” one more time. And then it came – like all the confirmation that he needed – the cough.
Despite not knowing what a “googol” was, Ingram seemed not the least bit worried. His eyes were bright with excitement and he seemed the surest man in the world like he had been the one to coin the term “googol.” But he hadn’t. He didn’t even know what it was. But he answered “googol” as his final answer.