2007 National Senior Spelling Bee III
Bill Long 7/1/07
Some Words from the Oral Rounds
The web site of the National Senior Spelling Bee only provides the final word on which the 14 "non-winning" spellers bowed out during the June 16 competition, as well as Susan Hartner's winning word (bharal). What I propose to do in this essay is to give you about 50 or so words used during the oral competition. I give a fairly complete list of the words used after I graciously bowed out by missing my third word (troupial--large brightly colored oriole), along with a few interesting/difficult words used earlier.
The Oral Rounds
Here are a few of the early words:
oidium-- this was Susan Hartner's first miss. I knew the word because I had learned oidioid from the Unabridged. I learned oidioid (resembling fungi of the genus Oidium) because I thought it was a cool-sounding word.
congou-- Randy Hilfman got this right. It is a kind of Chinese black tea. I probably would have gotten it wrong.
oeillade-- a glance or ogle.
bulbul-- this can be confused with bilbo. A bulbul, Pycnonotus jacosus, also known as the "Red-whiskered" bulbul is a bird native to India, Nepal and some parts of Southeast Asia. Picture is here. A bilbo, by the way, is a long bar of iron with sliding shackles used to confine the feet of prisoners on ships. It can also be a kind of sword (S uses the word in this way in Merry Wives 3.5.112).
this was the first word I missed, and it is defined as "a horse-drawn cab used esp. in India and Eqypt." The word originated in 1810--so it surely is a word emerging out of British colonialism. It is further defined by one author as "a box-like vehicle with small wheels. It rather resembles a bathing-machine."
tusche-- a black liquid used in lithography. It can also be used in serigraphy, or silk screening.
carburetion-- a real tricky one. The speller rendered it as most would, with an "ation" at the end.
chukar-- gray-brown Eurasian partridge. The birds got us...
troupial-- I have already mentioned this one. You can find tons of pictures online. People travel the world just to watch birds--and take pictures of them. Where has human productivity gone! The next thing you know is that people will be writing essays on people who take pictures! Decline of the West is next in order, I am sure. In this picture the troupial is pictured next to a bananaquit--not in the Collegiate but it really exists. The Coereba flaveola, known as the bananaquit is attested 45,000 times in Google.
Orally Spelled Words After I Was Eliminated
I will give this list, mostly without comment. This is the order in which the words were given. One thing should be mentioned, however. The words jerrican/jerry can and Nesselrode were both given. Under the rules of the Bee, they should not have been permitted (Hal Prince pointed this out to me). I think they were both spelled correctly.
parenteral-- this was Randy Hilfman's second miss, as I recall.
yakitori-- which appears in almost every spelling bee I know...
ruritarian-- David Lerner caught himself on this one, because it appears as Ruritarian in the Collegiate. The word wasn't allowed.
vizsla--Randy missed this for his final miss. Since Susan had only missed two, she was the winner. Randy, here is the web site of the Vizsla Club of America. Maybe if you write to them they will give you a free membership--you can tell them that you will never misspell the name of the dog again...
Though I was eliminated early, I still was happy to learn some new words and have other words reinforced for me. I was delighted to realize that many of these words weren't difficult for me. As Jeff Kirsch says, 'it is just the luck of the draw.' Happy spelling...