Thursday, May 28, 2015

ROUND SIX:  Here we go.

12:01 PM--Ouch--more-PHIL-axis takes down a competitor on a tough double consonant.

12:06 PM.  Pretty sure Jenna-May could have gotten that one if she weren't up against the clock.

12:07 PM.  Is there a worse origin for a speller than "From a ____ name?"

12:10 PM.  Difficulty here seems all over the place.  RAY-all-pahl-e-teek seems a little easy for this round, right?

12:21 PM.  Vanya is just an absolute pro.  Never loses her cool.

12:43 PM.  Does Dr. Bailly's use of "selfie" legitimate the word?

12:50 PM.  Who had "reference to Sbarro" in the pool?  They just made out like a bandit.

1 PM.  "From a native name in Australia" might be even nastier than a normal "from a ____ name" origin.

1:17 PM.  Ankita's excitement is infectious, isn't it?


  1. BeeFan12:04 PM

    I remember Rebecca Sealfon getting "vernissage" and going on a full-minute reminiscence about attending one. No speller-clock in those days, of course.

  2. The languages of the morning sessions seem to be Hawaiian and German.

  3. BeeFan12:10 PM

    "Is there a worse origin for a speller than "From a ____ name?""

    How about "origin unknown"?

  4. And the official Bee site is STILL out of date, not even showing the rest of round 5 results, much less round 6. Anywhere else online (but not video) to follow results?

  5. Marsha12:26 PM

    The official @scrippsbee feed gives you each speller, the word, and whether it is correct.

  6. The Bee twitter account is actually running slightly ahead of ESPN2.

  7. Marsha12:30 PM

    Siyona Mishra, Vanya, and Paul Keaton are all going to be finalists.

    I absolutely hate that everyone knows this already, and that all the other kids who have spelled both words correctly so far except Sylvie and Vaishnavi already know that they won't be. I also hate that Sylvie and Vaishnavi are put in the position of hoping that *specific kids* spell incorrectly.

  8. BeeFan12:31 PM

    ESPN is on a 7-second delay for "live" broadcasts. I found that out at the Little League World Series one year, watching TV in a food pavilion next to a stadium and hearing the crowd roar for a double up the gap before seeing it on TV.

  9. Marsha12:39 PM

    Add Dev and Gokul. 5 slots gone.

  10. Charles12:44 PM

    I'm hating this new system more and more now that I'm watching it in action. And you're spot on about spellers having to fixate on specific kids above them. One of the great things about the Bee--something I observed as a contestant, staff member, and TV watcher--is that the spellers show great sportsmanship. It's always been more of a feeling of us-against-the-word-list instead of me-against-you.

    I suppose the Bee was never purely an equal playing field--but it seems like it has become less likely that an unknown, non-repeating speller, or someone who didn't do intensive study or have a coach, can triumph. We have fewer opportunities for surprises, which make watching the Bee so much fun.

  11. Adam C.12:45 PM

    And with Jairam's miss, Snehaa and Silvie are in.

  12. Marsha12:47 PM

    Sylvie and Snehaa are now in, because Jairam is out. Next group is four people, so we would have to lose at least three more of the top group in order for any of them to get in, if I'm reading this correctly.

  13. Marsha12:54 PM

    Lipika is out. Cut line is now 11 - the next group is still not in.

  14. Marsha1:06 PM

    At this point (Yakubek spelling out) there are a max of 25 kids who would be eligible for round 7. They should have been be able to make these words a bit harder (and/or do one more round) and naturally get down to a manageable group for prime time. This arbitrary cutoff is unfair.

  15. Marsha1:09 PM

    And now Shobha is out too, and Siddarth is in. The fate of the next four is now complicated depending on how the last two in that group do and how Tejas does. If they all spell correctly, the whole next group is out. If any spell incorrectly, more kids may make the cut off.

  16. Adam B.1:21 PM

    Tejas is in, and while there are spellers left, the round is now over, right?

  17. Adam C.1:22 PM

    With Arjun spelling out, the fact that Sam Pereles spelled his last word correctly means that he and Sai and Srinath, all tied for 11th, miss the cut.

  18. Genevieve1:24 PM

    Boo boo boo to that! No harm in having 3 more kids in the finals. Fix this next year, Bee officials. (But that doesn't help those in 8th grade now.)

  19. meco19991:25 PM

    "She knows she can't make the finals, but she wants to go out on a high note."

    That sounds so depressing and wrong.

  20. Adam C.1:26 PM

    Right - all three absolutely deserved to be on that stage tonight.

  21. Adam B.1:27 PM

    If Vanya were in that group, I all-but-guarantee they'd move them into primetime.

  22. Genevieve1:29 PM

    Their twitter account is stuck now too.

  23. Marsha1:30 PM

    I had to go to a meeting and can't seem to edit on Google Drive from my iPad. If anyone wants to update the spreadsheet, please go ahead! (I suppose this is my version of "experiencing technical difficulties.")

  24. Adam C.1:30 PM

    So a quick review suggests there are eight pool entries with two finalists (but please check my work):

    Marsha (Gokul, Dev)
    me (Gokul, Cole)
    Charlotte (Vanya, Dev)
    Barbara (Vanya, Tejas)
    Scott R (Gokul, Paul)
    jam (Vanya, Siyona)
    Jacob Devine (Gokul, Tejas)
    victoria (Vanya, Paul)

  25. BeeFan1:33 PM

    So by my count, 176 of 283 spellers were eliminated without missing a word at the microphone.

    Call it the Scripps National Spelling and Vocabulary Test.

  26. Adam B.1:35 PM

    Who's left with one speller left (with a speller who's not in the pairs above)?

  27. Adam C.1:35 PM

    I don't mind vocab being a part of it, but I do mind the use of arbitrary cutoffs and the slavish devotion to the prime-time timeslot.

  28. Marsha1:36 PM

    I suppose we can take small comfort in knowing that the only thing that matters once the finals start is what they do at the microphone.

  29. Adam C.1:37 PM

    Ah, good point. Dunno - will try to look at this later.

  30. Charles1:38 PM

    Those kids even get robbed of the perverse pleasure of having a losing word. When people hear you've been in the Bee--and that you didn't win--they always want to know what your losing word is!

  31. So Sam was in a position where he knows that if he spells correctly, he and 2 others are eliminated, but if he misses only he is out?

    What a horrible position to put an 8th grader in. Or any human, for that matter.

    But I guess the only difference between this year and past years is that now he knows, where before he would be in the same situation but not know, which is better, I guess?

  32. Adam B.1:43 PM

    Well, if Tejas subsequently erred, Sam could've gotten in?

  33. Adam C.1:46 PM

    Just did a quick run-through - feel free to check me again, but I didn't see anyone with only one finalist who was not represented in the above pairs. Lots with one of Gokul, Vanya, and Dev; two with Cole and a non-finalist; one with Paul and a non-finalist.

  34. Adam C.1:48 PM

    Right - Tejas had not spelled yet, so there was a chance for all three tied at 11 (Sam, Sai & Srinath) if Tejas later missed.

  35. Adam C.1:49 PM

    I didn't notice anyone who chose Siddharth, Snehaa, or Sylvie.

  36. Adam C.1:53 PM

    So this was purely a function of the dumb cutoff at 12 creating a bizarre outcome.

  37. I would think Scripps legal would put the kibosh on that. They can set whatever rules they want, but changing the rules DURING the contest gets nasty (both from a legal and a PR standpoint) because it could be perceived as rigging the contest to help a preferred candidate.

  38. Adam C.1:55 PM

    I guess what I'd have expected in that situation is a LOT of heated discussion behind the scenes and with Scripps Legal. And yes, they probably would have wound up squelching it, but I'd bet a lot that it would have been seriously considered.

  39. Adam B.2:01 PM

    does the existence of Rules create an enforceable contract with the spellers, or just the PR problem?

  40. victoria2:12 PM


  41. It's a really complicated question, made even more so by the fact that the competitors are minors, who can't enter into enforceable contracts on their own. The other complicating issue would be that the Bee is at least arguably subject to the federal laws concerning televised games and contests (which date back to the quiz show scandals of the 50s), which have very strict requirements of their own. Before they changed rules in midstream, both Scripps and ESPN/Disney legal would have to sign off, and I expect they'd be VERY reluctant to do so. (Though Disney/ESPN may have an indemnity from Scripps.)

  42. Marsha2:38 PM

    Precisely. And, of course, they ended the round with only 21 spellers left. If you cut all the stupid stuff from prime time, you can do prime time with 21. Or do one more round today and we'd end up cutting this down to the right number.

  43. Marsha2:39 PM

    It's updated now.

  44. Barbara Williams2:50 PM

    That just sucks beyond belief. I feel so bad for those kids. :(

  45. See this article for some of the issues that might come up: It was a little different there, since preferred contestants were apparently being fed "hints," but the logic would apply to any rules that would seem to deliberately favor one contestant over another.

  46. Uncle Spike4:03 PM

    Oh, believe me. As Sylvie's coach, I was obviously cheering her on, but I also felt terrible about being put in a position of potentially cheering *against* a speller, hoping they'd be eliminated so Sylvie could make the finals. (These feelings were made a bit more acute by the fact that the Denver Post does not allow their winners to compete again, so I wanted Sylvie to make the finals pretty badly.) And my sentiments were echoed by more than one person in the ballroom...especially parents. And what about those parents whose kids are in that crossfire? Who wants to cheer against a kid? Who wants to be that kid? Or that kid's parents? This is not behavior to emulate or encourage.

  47. Marsha4:07 PM

    Can you say more about "does not allow their winners to compete again" - I've never heard of this...

  48. Adam B.4:13 PM

    Oh, this came up in 2008 -- here's a news story about Jake Smith. Rocky Mountain News doesn't allow for repeat winners, so one sibling moved to another part of the state (with dad) so both he and his brother could qualify.

  49. Marsha4:17 PM

    That's kind of nuts. I mean, I see their point (the National Bee doesn't allow repeat winners either) but then that should be the same all over - some kids shouldn't be allowed to be 5-timers and others can't just because of where they live.

  50. Uncle Spike4:23 PM

    I'm not a fan of this rule, either. (Before this rule came into being, I went to DC three times, and only won on my third attempt.) But I know the bee director, and believe me, she will not be swayed. She will complain about everyone around her who tries to persuade her to allow Denver Post winners to compete again if they've won before, but she will not budge. She knows my position on this matter, too, and I think she's even tried to convince me to change my views. But nope. Long as she runs the bee, we will only have newbies competing - and Colorado's chances of having a national winner (aside from Boulder) is virtually nil.

  51. meco19995:50 PM

    Jamaica also has always had a rule about their winner only being allowed to go to Scripps once. Thus, Jody-Anne Maxwell in '98 was one of the very few first-time spellers to win Scripps.

  52. Well, sure. And another arbitrary thing is that some states send multiple reps and some - like Kentucky and Mississippi - only send one. (I guess Manu lives in the Northern KY burbs and so qualified out of Cincinnati) It's such a patchwork of different sorts of sponsor arrangements.

  53. meco19995:57 PM

    Scott, do you know what year the Rocky Mountain News (or Denver Post) started their no-repeat-winner rule?

  54. BeeFan5:59 PM

    Makes me almost glad the Rocky Mountain News went under in 2009, a victim of the Great Recession.

    Except that Katie Maccrimmon was among those rendered unemployed. She deserved better, at least.

  55. Uncle Spike12:05 AM

    Yeah, agreed about Katie. (Bee trivia: nee Katie Kerwin, 1979 NSB Champ, and one of the very few people on the face of the planet who can legitimately claim that she beat Jacques Bailly in a spelling the 1979 Rocky Mountain News bee.)

  56. Uncle Spike12:08 AM

    I don't know the exact year. The late 1990s, perhaps? There was a two-time champion in 1996 and 1997, so I'm pretty sure it happened soon after that.