Speller's Diary III
Page 313 (I)
Page 313 (II)
2007 Senior Bee
2007 Bee II
2007 Bee III
Words Ci-Cl (I)
Words Ci-Cl (II)
Words D (I)
Words D (II)
Words D (III)
Words O, R
Your "Q's" I
Your "Q's" II
Your "R's" I
Your "R's" II
Your "R's" III
Fun with "R"
Words T-Z (I)
Words T-Z (II)
Words T-Z (III)
Words U (I)
Words U (II)
End of Alphabet
Superior Words I
Superior Words II
Superior Words III
Superior Words IV
Superior Words V
Superior Words VI
Mizpah, Mizo, etc.
Night Before Bee
Scott's Words I
Page 11 (I)
Page 11 (II)
WI Bee (2010)
Chinese Words II
2007 National Senior Spelling Bee
Bill Long 6/25/07
The Written Test
The 2007 National Senior Spelling Bee was held at the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, WY on Saturday, June 16. As usual, it consisted of two tests: (1) a written test of 100 words taken by dictation by all participants; and (2) an oral bee consisting of the top 15 finishers from the written test. Thus, the written test is a qualifying test only; none of the scores "carry over." The written test is arguably the best indicator of quality of spelling, since everyone has to spell the same words. At least two people whom I respect highly have made that argument to me, and so I repeat it here. Yet, the oral rounds test a person's "on your feet" knowledge; its chanciness reflects the "luck of the draw" of many activities in human life. By giving us three "misses" before we are eliminated, the oral rounds try to minimize the "chance" factor. This essay will review the written test. Another essay will give some of the oral round words, as well as some of the preparation words on Friday night, June 15.
Susan Hartner (Oregon) and Randy Hilfman (Washington) finished 1-2 in the oral part of the bee (hence the winners); they finished 2-3 in the written test. I think this is the first posting of the written test words. They are much more difficult than the words from 2006, where all 15 finalists scored above 90 on the test. In the 2007 test only one person (me) scored above 90. The "cut off" for the final round was 58/100 right. Here are the words. I have one caveat. There is one word I got wrong that I can't now find in the dictionary--it is word # 56. If you, from my attempt to 'sound it out,' know the word, please let me know.
14. kakemono...this, it seems to me, has been used in the National Bee in past years.
17. salchow...this was in the 2007 Oregon Bee, in the oral competition.
After a very short break, with participants asking for pronunciations, definitions, etc., we proceeded to the next 25. People seemed to ask a lot of questions on 17, 2, 14, 12 and 10, as I recall.
43. veery....this was the first word I missed. I didn't know the bird. You can rest assured that I have looked at tons of pictures of it since then...
46. williwaw..I got this right because it was in the written test of the 2006 Oregon Senior Bee--where I got it wrong...sometimes, you learn.
50. crossopterygian..this word was in the 2006 National Senior Bee. I think it eliminated one of the final four contestants last year.
We took a break at about 10:00. There were lots of questions on this round of words. People wanted clarifications of 40, 38, 34, 27, 31, 35, 48, 30 and 47. I think 47 drove people crazy because it sounded so easy to spell (it is pronounced like "wind"ing a watch). The "buzz" after 50 words was that this was a very difficult test; I, for once, felt very strong. I knew that I missed veery, spelling it "viri," but I was pretty confident I had the other 49.
If the first two rounds took us about 50 minutes, the last two rounds took about 90 minutes. Spellers were wearing down or getting frustrated, and David Lerner, the pronouncer, had to repeat himself almost endlessly. It was loads of fun.
54. peloton. I got this wrong, spelling it with two "l's"--pelloton. Of course, I should have known it. In my research I learned that it was the 7th most popular word in 2004 on the Merriam-Webster web site lookup. The reason? Lance Armstrong, leading the pack, or the peloton. Everyone wanted to know it.
56. The word sounded like "caulms"--which is how I spelled it, and I got it wrong. I don't know what the right word is. Any suggestions? Some have written me that the word was culms. I think that is correct.
60. presbyopia....as a Presbyterian minister, don't you think I have been accused of this??
75. phreaker...I hadn't heard this word previously. There is a whole Wikipedia article on it. Apparently the word is derived from "phone" and "freak", and it denotes people who experiment with telephones and telephone companies.
This group of 25 words took so long because of difficulties of hearing precise pronunciations, such as with 70 and 72. I noted that word 66 was used in the final rounds of the Kids Spelling Bee this year--spelled correctly by the Canadian youngster, as I recall. We are starting to get some pretty obscure words here, don't you agree? I haven't ever seen an "urd" or "dudeen."
76. hookah. I spelled it "hooka," which is one of the two accepted spellings for the term in the Unabridged, but it is only spelled hookah in the Collegiate. Thus, we have the irony of a word that we seniors were tested on but the kids couldn't have been tested on.
79. flagitious...a word used in a local Oregon bee a few weeks before the National Senior Bee. My friend and former law colleague, Gil Carrasco, got the word and misspelled it. I then spelled it correctly. Gil then sent me a series of emails in the next
few days commenting on many things that were "flagitious" all around us.
89. ouguiya. I usually don't know my
Mauretanian currency, but I happened to have studied this word just a few days before the bee, and I got it correct.
100. cnidarian (silent "c").
Comments? How would you have done?