It's always nice to see the world struck with awe at the actions of a game show contestant. Usually this takes the form of a ribald “Family Feud” clip, but today it's about a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” who blew Pat Sajak's mind with horrible guesses during the final speed-up round.
Some have called Nura Fountano's guesses of “Z,” “X,” and “blank stare” totally incomprehensible. They are not incomprehensible. They were purposeful.
There are two possible theories for what's happening here. The first is that Nura wanted her fellow contestants to pick up some money before she headed off to Bonusland since she was leading going into the final round. The second theory is that she's actually using a strategy, one outlined by Cracked a few years ago; if you pick bad letters in the speed-up round, you force your opponents to fill in the puzzleboard so then, theoretically, you can solve it afterward.
Note how she reiterates “Z as in Zulu.” Note how she's scrunching her face in clearly feigned exasperation. Note how she opts for silence instead of picking letters, which is a way of avoiding a correct letter. There's intention there. Maybe it's not 100% wise to leave a jackpot on the table (especially since the contestant at the yellow podium would've won the whole game if he'd solved the puzzle), but her actions are deliberate and kind of diabolical.
“That's what I saw,” she said to Sajak afterwards when asked to justify her strange choices.
Nura, I don't know your story or journey. But I do know you just drove the ghost of Merv Griffin crazy, and I thank you for it.