ALLISON BLACK OF BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, COME ON DOWN! Any moment now, the first speller will step the microphone in the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt of Washington, D.C. to begin the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The competitors are guaranteed two turns before the microphone today, and if it's like last year expect the morning to be hi mom and dad! I totally spelled this word! and the afternoon (which will be broadcast online at ESPN3 starting at 1:15p eastern) will do more to sort out the less-than-50 semifinalists from the pack.
The Bee's website and Twitter feed promises results as they happen, with AP writer Joseph White and the WaPo's Dan Steinberg expected to be tweeting from the room. We'll be updating this post as the morning progresses.
update, 8:34am: It's on! Ms. Black must feel some sense of seh-run-DIHP-uh-tee to have found such a fitting word, and the kids are 40/44 thus far. (Adam)
update 8:45 a.m.: With my own paper’s kid out in the preliminaries, I’m rooting for Esther Park of Little Rock. And amused she got “POS-um.” I wonder if the political crowd in Arkansas still gets together for their annual POS-um supper? (No, really, it’s a big event). (TPE)
update, 10 a.m.: 152 spellers so far, 137 spelling correctly. Vanya Shivashankar claims a +3, suggesting that no one is forcing yooth-uhn-AY-zhuh on her hopes just yet. (Adam)
Update 10:10 a.m.: It’s so rare that there is a word I’d actually nail, I was sorry to see J.R. Gomoll miss tra-tuh-REE-ah. Is tra-tuh-REE-ah number ten still there in Chicago? (TPE)
Update, 10:30 a.m.: Balderdash time: manciple ("a principle of conduct adhered to by dudes"), parvitude ("a state of being an exceptional manipulator and endurance challenge warrior on a reality tv competition"); gymkhana ("a new form of fighting involving 1984 Olympian Kurt Thomas and ... something Hindu something"); and huckaback ("supporter of an amiable fringe candidate"). (Adam)
Update, 10:43 a.m.: More Balderdash: metagnomy ("a state in which the short stature and brutish irritability of a character is a reference to or metaphor for the short stature and brutish irritability of the author"). (Isaac)
Update, 10:46 a.m.: Liner notes: hooray for the Decemberists ("picaresque") and Jack White ("raconteur"); boo for Simon & Garfunkel ("philippic"). (Isaac)
Update 11:16 a.m. More Balderdash (from the blog stylebook): premorse (“the emotion of grief one has when one learns that someone, whom you had assumed died years ago, has just now died.” e.g., TPE felt premorse when he heard of the well-beyond timely passing of Art Linkletter, whom he could not fathom was still alive.) (TPE)
Update, 11:33 a.m.Round 2 is complete; the spellers will be back at 1:15 p.m., and live on ESPN3 (online). We'll see what we can make of this round, and find out if Tim Ruiter enjoyed a cah-nuh-PAY at lunch. (Adam)