Around Town | May 3, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 3, 2019

Around Town

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE ... Palo Alto resident Chris Yeh is the third person to join the coveted circle of geniuses competing in the season finale of FOX's "Mental Samurai," a game show that tests competitors' intelligence. The Stanford University alumnus, who earned a degree in product design engineering at 19 years old and a creative writing degree a year later, was confident entering the preliminary round that aired on April 30. He told host Rob Lowe his top strength (general knowledge) and revealed his main problem-solving tactic: looking for themes and patterns. During the show, the 43-year-old author was strapped on to a capsule that shifted him like a rollercoaster around the show's set, stopping each time for a question presented on a screen that got tougher as the game progressed. Yeh breezed through the first round, "Towers of Samurai," where he was given five minutes to answer 12 questions, which he passed and received $10,000 in return. Yeh showed off his ability to quickly think on his feet, as shown when he knew which musician originally sang the 1972 hit "Rocket Man" (answer: Elton John) and repeated back sequences that he only learned seconds before. In the second round, "Circles of Samurai," Yeh only had one minute and 57 seconds to answer four questions to raise his total earnings to $100,000. (In that round, he correctly answered that kale is a vegetable, not a fruit, and selected the correct puzzle piece to complete a picture he was presented with.) The audience erupted in applause and cheers as they saw Yeh advance to the tournament finale where he'll compete for $250,000. "Every element of intelligence, you conquered. Every tower, you conquered. Every bit of money we had in the bank, you took it," Lowe said in congratulating the Palo Altan.

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