KEVIN LAZENBY OF OPELIKA, ALABAMA, COME ON DOWN! For the second straight year, this remarkably talented young man leads off Round Two of the Scripps National Spelling Bee any moment now.
There are two preliminary rounds today in which all 278 spellers will face the microphone, Dr. Jacques Bailly, and the cameras of ESPN3 online (in both "play along" and more aggressively chyroned versions). Spellers receive 3 points for each word spelled correctly today; add that number to yesterday's written round score, and the top up-to-50 spellers advance to the semifinals tomorrow.
You can follow along in a few places (in addition to here): the Bee website, and a few places on Twitter worth noting: @ScrippsBee, @APBenNuckols and hashtag #SpellingBee.
9:30 am: Sorry it's taken me awhile to get started (work!), but Round Two is up and running, with 120/125 of the spellers doing just fine on their first words.
9:55 am: Halftime! 130/138 get their +3s so far, and I fear this isn't the first time someone spelled "SAIG-way" like the vehicle and not the transition. For those keeping track of words of Hebrew/Yiddish origin, just one so far: DRAY-duhl, and only a few foodie words: ay-OH-lee, ESS-CAHR-go, joo-lee-ENN, mahtz-uh-RELL-uh, and zoo-KEE-nee among them.
10:37 am: 175/188 correct thus far, and America gets a new Words With Friends word: quonk.
10:49 am: A flih-buhr-tee-JIHB-uht! 191/207 correct so far, with lee-AZE and blah-ZAY being the last two errors.
11:05 am: muh-RAWD. Why not use the Tribe Called Quest definition? "Seven times out of ten, we listen to our music at night. The word 'maraud' means to loot. In this case, we maraud for ears."
11:12 am: Dude. reh-puh-RAY-shuns did not require that many lifelines from Dr. Jacques. And now it's back to foodie words: hahl-uhn-DAYZ, followed by yah-kih-TORE-ee.
11:46 am: Round two is complete, with 253/278 spelling correctly. Round 3 starts at 1:15 pm EDT.