“Anyone who can only think of one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination”*…
Last Wednesday,285 participants 15 years old and younger took the stage in National Harbor, Maryland to recite words they’ve probably never used in conversation; the finals were held the following evening. For the third year in a row, the result was a tie; the title was shared by Nihar Janga, 11, of Austin, Texas, and Jairam Hathwar, 13, of Painted Post, N.Y., who were declared co-champions after fighting to a draw during 39 rounds of competition. Jairam’s final word in the competition was “Feldenkrais” (a trademark that refers to a system of aided body movements); Nihar’s, “gesellschaft,” (a type of social relationship).
“A lot of it is luck, to be totally honest,” says 2006 winner Kerry Close, now a 23-year-old reporter at Money Magazine. “There’s maybe a dozen, maybe more, kids who have a realistic shot of winning,” says Close. “Who actually wins comes down to pretty much who’s asked the right word.”
Ten of the final words from previous Scripps bees, and the reason why spelling them is such a feat: “Why these winning words from US National Spelling bees are so hard to spell.”
* Mark Twain
As we ask that it be used in a sentence, we might recall that it was on this date in 1593 that poet and playwright (Shakespeare’s nearest rival) Christopher Marlowe was killed in a tavern brawl. Marlowe reputedly supplemented his income as a spy; in any case, he ran afoul of Queen Elizabeth’s government when, earlier in the month, his roommate, fellow playwright Thomas Kyd, was grilled by authorities. Kyd insisted that the “heretical” papers found in his room belonged to Marlowe, who was subsequently arrested, but was able to use his connections to arrange bail. While out Marlowe became involved in a fight– ostensibly over a tavern bill, but believed by many to have been a set-up– and was stabbed to death.