Thursday, April 30, 2009

La Máquina de Pasapalabra

For over a month, the machine-like ability of José Manuel Lúcia to win Spain's most popular game-show called Pasapalabra (Pass the word) has captivated Spanish audiences and provided a much needed distraction to the constant bad news of the economic crisis and now the Swine Flu.

Based on The Alphabet Game and hosted by Spain's equivalent of Ryan Seacrest (Christian Galvez), two contestants are joined by local celebrities to form two teams of three, who must then match wits against each other through a series of word puzzles and tests in order to earn seconds for the grand finale called: El Rosco - at which time - with the letters of the alphabet encircling their faces on the TV screen, and starting with A and ending with Z; they must guess the word that starts with, or in some cases contains, the specified letter based on a quickly spoken clue as the seconds tick downAnd, if they don't know the word, the say: pasapalabra, and move on to the next letter of the circle, until they come back around to it again, time permitting.  It is by no means easy.

For 36 straight shows, José Manuel Lúcia from Asturias won the competition, but when it came to El Rosco, he'd fall painfully one or two letters short of completing the alphabet.  Sometimes, he'd run off ten letters in a row only to trip up on the eleventh; other times, it was a word he simply did not know.  The look of degection on his opponents' faces was a story in-and-of itself, as some of them would've been champion had they not run into the Asturian phenomenon.  Then, finally, at the end of his 37th appearance, he did it.  And, not only did he do it, but he went from A to Y without missing a beat, before passing la palabra and sighing.  His shocked competition got to C and passed.  He closed it out with time to spare, bringing his magnificient and record earning 396,000-euro run to an end, and an explosion of congratulations from throughout Spain at a truly remarkable accomplishment.


  1. wait a second, what's the consolation prize if neither player completes it? (i'm assuming that there is a consolation prize for the winner.)

  2. The contestant still wins money he/she earned throughout the different segments and based on the number of words guess right at the end, but just not the big prize, and he/she gets to keep coming back and trying until he/she does or someone beats him.

    Thanks for the comment