CULVER CITY, Calif. — To many watching from home, Tuesday night's 'Wheel of Fortune' puzzle -- "Another feather _n yo_r _a_" -- was a no-brainer. But when contestants struggled to solve it, the resulting social media storm led the host to speak out.
One contestant guessed "Another feather in your hat," "Another feather in your lap", and "Another feather in your map" -- all incorrect. The next contestant repeatedly guessed the wrong consonant, then spun bankrupt.
Finally, a contestant who had spun Bankrupt twice solved the puzzle with "Another feather in your cap."
The clip went viral, with some on Twitter declaring it frustrating or even "the worst two minute stretch in Wheel of Fortune history".
It went far enough that host Pat Sajak himself defended the contestants.
"It always pains me when nice people come on our show to play a game and win some money and maybe fulfill a lifelong dream, and are then subject to online ridicule when they make a mistake or something goes awry," Sajak wrote on Twitter.
Sajak said some puzzles are easy to solve from the comfort of home, but it's a different story in the studio.
"Now imagine you’re on national TV, and you’re suddenly thrown a curve and you begin getting worried about looking stupid, and if the feather isn’t in your hat, where the heck can it be? You start flailing away looking for alternatives rather than synonyms for 'hat.'"
Sajak said the puzzle was entertaining and there's nothing wrong with good-natured laughter -- "But have a little heart."
"After all, you may be there one day," the host concluded. "And no one wants to be trending on Twitter."