So far, notes Josh Dawsey of the MG Bee Blog, it's a touch harder round than last year's first oral round, with a decent number more wrong answers. Then again, I don't know how fair it is to have someone fly here all the way from Ghana and ask her to spell the name of the Passover ritual meal as her first challenge.
Other words wrong so far:
- skuh-DAD-uhl -- as in, "scram!"
- mehr-uh-TOK-ruh-see -- which the Bee pretty much is.
- ahn-tuh-LAHJ-uh-kuhl -- of or relating to the science or study of being.
- ehv-uh-DEN-chee-ehr-ee, one of two law-related words to confound folks so far. (Lieu being the other.)
updates: 1. Remember Indiana's Austin Hoke, the four-timer who said "I am just kind of laying off it. It's really hard to (prepare), so I just figure I won't try"? He just got Soo, as in the Plains tribe. And spelled it S-O-O. Fellow four-timer Sameer Mishra, also of Indiana, whiffed on soo-DAY-shuhn, i.e., "sweat".
Meanwhile, Our Spellers to the North went 19/22 this round.
2. Suppose you're Charles Smith, representing Hagerstown, MD. The four spellers before you receive "quandary," "ethanol," "brigadier" and "chary". Then you're asked to spell ahn-uh-MASS-tuh-kon, "a collection or listing of words especially in a specialized field." Yeah, life's not fair sometimes.
3. Among the favorites who nailed their first words are five-timers Tia Thomas and Matthew Evans, four-timer Anqi Dong of Saskatchewan, third-timer Kayva Shivashankar, youngest-ever Sriram Hathwar, and Catherine "Cat" Cojocaru of Rochester, MN, who gets props (a) for insisting on a nickname, (b) for representing a North Dakota paper while living in Minnesota, and (c) for her mythical, and for all we know actual relationship to Uncle Steven. We'll see if they make the cut in about an hour.
4. We've been telling 'meniscus' stories here today, and here's another: Thomas North flew here all the way from New Zealand and spelled it wrong. I guess this is a good time to let him know that the Air & Space Museum's IMAX Theater has two showings of "To Fly!" remaining today.
5. Another bugaboo for spellers today? Short words starting with 's' and ending with f-sounds: both suhrf (as in lackey or minion, not as in -board) and sihlf (an imaginary or elemental being inhabiting the air and being mortal but soulless, or "a slender woman or girl of light and graceful carriage") have confused competitors today.
6. It could have been pointed out to me in advance that Philadelphia's representative, Hannah Schill, is a University City hipster-in-training with blue-streaked hair. She correctly spelled vuh-LOOT (alt: vuhl-YOOT), a spiral- or scroll-shaped form.
This round is now over, and congratulations to Bill James, because say-buhr-MEH-trix now counts as a Bee word (though the etymology gives its spelling away), and WV's Karen Laska spelled it correctly. Also, via Amy Dominello, we had our first “Can you use it in a song?” request of Dr. Jacque Bailly in this round. It was denied, and the word (uh-SPOWZ-uhl) was incorrectly spelled. We'll see who made the ~100 cut in an hour or so.