March 3rd, 2013 at 11:26 pm (Vocabulary)
Today I got to once again match my orthographic wits against 30 other people in the Adult Spelling Bee in Long Beach, CA. Here are the first seven words I was given to spell:
At this point, we were almost 1.5 hours in. The organizers did a headcount, found that we had 16 people left, and decided that they needed to take it up a notch to whittle more down. So we jumped into a much harder word list, and people started dropping like flies.
The spellers before me were given “quiescence,” “absinthe,” “chicanery,” “babushka,” and “colcannon.” I would have been okay with any of those (I think).
I was given “locofoco.” My reaction: ?!?!?!! The audience: ?!?!?!
I asked for a definition and got: “a member of a radical group of New York Democrats organized in 1835 in opposition to the regular party organization.” You recognized that, right?
I asked for the language of origin and got “probably Latin.”
So I went ahead and guessed. And got it right (!).
The next round, I was giving “atrabilious.” The definition was something about being inclined to anger (as I recall), although now when I look it up, I get “given to or marked by melancholy.” At any rate, I spelled it as “atribilious” and with that, my 2013 bee ended. Done in by a schwa!
In the end, I tied for 6th place. My track record at this bee has been: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place, so linear regression predicted 5th. I guess I slightly underperformed. :)
I enjoyed sitting through the rest of the competition, which got very fierce and crazy indeed near the end. Final words included (starred words are ones I would have missed):
- *crwth ?!?!
And finally, Jim Sherry from Alabama spelled the winning word, “quincunx.” It was a great victory! And especially since he’d come from so far away, and had been saying before the Bee that Delta lost his luggage, so it had been a rough trip so far. Now he’s the champ! :)