So what did it take to make it onto Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Canadian Edition?
Judging by most of the 10 finalists who correctly answered the five questions in the telephone qualifying round, a try-again philosophy was crucial. Add a good telephone, a bit of luck, and fast fingers to beat the 10-second time limit.
The last question Susan Neff of Kitchener, Ont., answered was to arrange the birthplaces of classical composers going west from Russia.
"For some people, that would be hard. For me, it was easy. I studied classical music," said Ms. Neff, a 44-year-old housewife.
With the exception of rock music and team sports, few questions are likely to stump her. Ms. Neff has also studied psychology and spends much of her time reading about history, art and literature.
Ms. Neff is preparing for the Sept. 7 taping in New York by consulting almanacs, encyclopedias and précis of Shakespeare plays.
Her 25th wedding anniversary is on Sept. 6, but she is leaving her husband at home as a lifeline. "I told him, 'I'll bring you back some money.' "
Bill Shizas of Toronto isn't planning to brush up on trivia before the final event, either. A 32-year-old teacher, Mr. Shizas said much of the winning money would go toward a house. He wouldn't quit his job, at least not right away.
"I expect to finish off this year of work at least," he said.
Contestant Francois Dominic Laramee of Verdun, Que., a 30-year-old computer-game designer, has a cautious game plan. "If I get to the $125,000 level, I'm not going to guess," he said. "I'm not going to use a lifeline or anything. I take the money and run."
Most of the cash would go to a new home and perhaps a trip to "somewhere remote like Iceland," Mr. Laramee said.
Most contestants, like 25-year-old Michelle Jones, qualified after the fourth or fifth try. The temp receptionist made it through on her fourth call. She wasn't holding her breath waiting to see if her telephone would be among the 3,741 that could possibly ring.
"I was a bit freaked out when they called," she said. "I had gone to bed thinking I didn't want to be waiting by the phone and be disappointed when they didn't call."
The questions she answered to get on the show included ones on fashion trends and arranging works of art in order of their creation.
Alan Vickers of Chateauguay, Que., also qualified. The 55-year-old translator bought a telephone especially for the contest.
"We had to go buy a speaker phone that has a separate keypad. There wasn't enough time taking the phone away from your ear."
Mr. Vickers confessed questions on pop music post-1970 will most likely trip him up.
A fraction of the 759,937 callers who tried out for the program made it to the telephone qualifying round, among them Donald Miller, a 41-year-old lawyer from Regina.
"I can see a new car in the immediate future, some repairs around the house," he said. "And my mother deserves a holiday."
The other finalists are Stewart Coward of Regina, Shannon Sullivan of St. John's, Angela Lemire of Windsor, Ont., and Andrew Heaman of Victoria.
The Canadian edition of the immensely popular U.S. game show will have Pamela Wallin as host and will be broadcast Sept. 13 and 14 on CTV. The network expects a viewing audience of at least 3.5 million.