Secret "X"

Secret "X"

Secret "X" is a pricing game on the American television game show "The Price Is Right". Debuting on September 14, 1977, this tic-tac-toe based game is played for a four-digit prize worth more than $3,000, and uses small prizes.


The centerpiece of Secret "X" is a large tic-tac-toe board. The middle column of the board contains a secret X hidden in one of its three boxes. To win the prize, the contestant must get three Xs in a row horizontally or diagonally.

The contestant is given a free X to place anywhere they want in the left or right columns of the board. The contestant is then shown two small prizes one at a time, each with two prices displayed. If the contestant picks the correct price, they win the small prize and earn an additional X, which they then place on the board. Once both prizes have been played, the middle column of the board flips over, revealing the location of the secret X. If the secret X completes a string of three Xs in a row, the contestant wins. A winning row of three must include the secret X, and contestants are not allowed to place all three of their Xs on the same side of the board to create a vertical row (although this is no longer explicitly stated).

If the contestant earns no additional Xs, the game is automatically over. However, even if they earn both additional Xs, the contestant can still only form a row with two of the three secret squares and is not assured victory.


Contestants are often discouraged if they attempt to place an X in the middle row, because such a placement can only win with one possible secret X position - the center. The same can be accomplished by placing Xs in vertically-opposite corners; this also allows a third X (if won) to also complete the top or bottom horizontal row, which is not possible with the middle-row placement.


Secret "X" was created by current producer Kathy Greco, then a production assistant on the show. It premiered on the same day as the now-famous incident involving contestant Yolanda Bowersley's tube top falling when she was called down.

When the game made its debut in 1977, there were no question marks in the center column; they were added shortly after the game's inception. The white parts of the setup became yellow in the early 1980s, and the setup was revised completely in the late 1980s.

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