Thursday, May 31, 2012

LAGNIAPPE:  A few tidbits to tide you over:
Primetime starts at 8pm eastern.  The nine championship finalists are profiled here.

added: Samir talks to Texas Monthly, plugs us, and predicts:
All the spellers remaining have proven to be very competent. They all have different things going for them. For example, Nicholas Rushlow, he’s a five-time repeater, right? So he has lots of experience. Arvind Mahankali, number 162, I believe he came in third last year. You can expect him to put in a good showing as well. Then there’s Frank Cahill, number 30. He is a first timer but has a coach who has won nationals and he looks impressive. For someone who is there his first time, he’s asking all the right questions. So, you know, I think there are a lot of impressive spellers. We’ll just see what happens tonight.


  1. Saray3:15 PM

    Looking forward to reviewing tonight's coverage after I get home from Radiohead (!!!) tonight.  Sorry to miss it!

  2. Adam C.3:15 PM

    Posted this spreadsheet on the previous thread for your pool-following pleasure.

  3. Lori Miller3:47 PM

    Arvind is the only finalist who isn't an eighth grader and who will thus have one more chance, should things not go his way tonight.

  4. Yep; the rest are all 14 as well.  So much for this being a year to see youth (Lori Ann, Vanya) triumph.

  5. BeeFan5:36 PM


    No pool-watching for me tonight.  Remmer/Shivashankar was my pick.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Heck, it probably was a good idea at the time.

  6. I have learned that for the past two years, Lena's runner-up in the Philadelphia Bee was a young woman from my middle school, CCA Baldi (represent!)  This changes things.

  7. Uncle Spike5:50 PM

    Wow...Samir, thanks for the shout-out! I just told Frank's dad, and he's thrilled.

  8. Samir Patel6:05 PM

    Wow, you guys are fast.  I was actually planning to mention it, but it seems like you beat me to it.  =)

    Katy called me up while the semifinals were still going on, then checked back with me for the "interview" after they were over.  It looks like she published my stream of consciousness essentially verbatim.

  9. BeeFan6:06 PM

    Thoughts about tonight's finals:

    Lena Greenberg - Am I getting a Rebecca Sealfon vibe?  Full of nerves, but she gets them right.

    Gifton Wright - I said last year (after the Hanif Brown fiasco) that Rev. Archer need to put a clock on his spellers, and it looks like he did.  Gifton doesn't tempt fate by spending 20 seconds staring at the ground and then asking for a repeat pronunciation.  He just gets on with it.

    Emma Ciereszynski - Does she really know every obscure word there is? 

    Snighda Nandipati - If we could re-pick for the pool, I think I'd pick her over Nicholas Rushlow as the favorite now.

    Frank Cahill - I suppose it's superfluous to say he doesn't look like a first-timer.  When they get this far, they never do.

    Arvind Mahankali - Can he break the string?  The last non-eighth-grader to win was George Thampy in 2000.  Before that it was Wendy Guey in 1996 - before any current participant was even born.

    Jordan Hoffman - She hasn't gotten the toughest words, has she?

    Vanya didn't make it, but she's at least as good as Kavya at the same age.  I think 25/25 was no fluke.  If they could re-start the bee with a new but equivalent word list, I think I'd still pick her for the pool.

    I wonder if they'll start with some relatively easy words.  With only nine spellers, tough words could lead to things being wrapped up before 9:00. 

    I still don't like Dr. Bailly's "funny" sentences.  Especially since they take time off the clock.  It seems the "alternate" sentences are all serious ones.  Can the spellers ask for the alternate sentence specifically?

    Not a vintage year for Canadians, eh?  Laura Newcombe's a tough act to follow, to put it mildly.  If Veronica Penny had made it back, I'd have picked her for the pool in a heartbeat.

  10. Samir Patel6:10 PM

    Haha, no problem.  She was asking me about the remaining spellers, so I was just answering with what I'd observed during the previous rounds.

  11. Samir Patel6:10 PM

    I took Mark De Los Santos and Vanya.  I'm out as well.

  12. BeeFan6:11 PM

    I forgot to mention Stuti Mishra.  Which means she'll probably win.

  13. BeeFan6:20 PM

    You said you picked De Los Santos because he won your old regional.  But I think you must have scouted him - he did look like a serious contender this afternoon.

  14. The Pathetic Earthling6:52 PM

    Is this on ABC tonight?  Or can I watch live on CSPAN?

  15. @ScrippsBee tweeted it, and as someone who's a Texas expatriate and Texas Monthly subscriber, I'm a longtime admirer of Katy Vine's work.

  16. Adam C.6:59 PM

    ESPN, TPE.

  17. Bobby7:37 PM

    Nah, I'd say you're looking at a Mahankali or Rushlow win here, I'd be surprised if anyone else took it down tonight because the semifinals took out a bunch of other "contenders". I'd say #3 and #4 are Nandipati (San Diego, 3 year returner) and Frank Cahill just cuz he has a spelling coach and all, but they're marginal darkhorses at best. 

  18. Cliff7:37 PM

    That was an intense semifinal. Mascalage was impressive. Kahikatea seemed too brutal to be a semifinal word. Also, is "polos" [Gk] in MW3?

  19. Samir Patel7:41 PM

    Yeah, it's in MW3.  Just checked.

  20. Nupur7:48 PM

    Looking at the bee's twitter feed, I was terribly disappointed to see that Scripps found this fitting to re-tweet:
    @jdubs88 <span>Ladies & gents, todays dose of irony: </span>@ScrippsBee<span>: Rahul Malayappan spells quinquennalia wrong in Rd Five. He's out - this was his 5th bee.</span>

    The snarkiness of outsiders can, as we learned all too well last year, hurt spellers deeply. That Scripps would find it funny or cute to re-tweet a jab like this about a speller blows my mind. Rahul did a great job and should feel nothing but pride in his accomplishments. He's still young though and feeling perhaps a bit shell-shocked at the very least. To joke about a speller's elimination given his last name just seems like the height of meanness and incredibly insensitive on both a cultural and personal level to me. 

  21. Nupur7:58 PM

    With my rant over, can I just say how poignant, insightful and honest these reminiscences about the spelling bee are? I may have issues with Scripps but I can't adequately express how proud I am to have shared an experience with individuals of this caliber.

  22. Cliff8:00 PM

    Sometimes I feel like the panalists pick the words on purpose (5-5-5 seems too neat). It's really tragic to see returning 8th graders age out and miss out so close to primetime (e.g. Rahul, Solomito, and some others). Bisbigliando is comparable to passacaglia, which Tim Ruiter nailed back in 2009 during primetime. Unfortunately, this year's speller mixed up the Italian /y/ with the Spanish one. The bar seems to rise every year.

  23. Marsha9:48 PM

    THat's some excellent predicting there, BeeFan - done well before 9, and a win by Snigdha...

  24. Nupur1:06 AM

    <span>"Schwannoma" was hands-down one of the saddest spelling bee moments that I can remember. It seemed Dr. Bailly knew that the information for the word could have led Arvind down dark roads and you could see how badly he felt about that. I only knew that word because I had to grow schwannomas in cell culture during a lab rotation. Arvind, I too say "No mas" to schwannomas.</span>