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Fri May 30, 2014
News

Spelling Co-Champs Beat The Bee, Leaving Judges Without Words

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 5:07 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Melissa, can I have a word for a moment?

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Absolutely. How about, thymelici?

SIEGEL: Oh, the dancing chorus in ancient Greek plays?

BLOCK: Yeah.

SIEGEL: No, I was thinking more of, encaenia.

BLOCK: Encaenia. The academic ceremony for conferring honorary degrees?

SIEGEL: Well, of course. Those two everyday words figured in the Scripps National Spelling Bee that ended in a rare tie yesterday.

BLOCK: My colleague and corpsbruder on this daily audio feuilleton and I want to congratulate the winners -

SIEGEL: Who finished as close as a pair of tight antigropelos.

BLOCK: Thirteen-year-old Ansun Sujoe and 14-year-old Sriram Hathwar.

SIEGEL: It looked, for a moment, like Hathwar, the favorite to win, wasn't going to make it to the end.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE)

SRIRAM HATHWAR: Corpsbruder. K-O-R-B-R-U-I-T-E-R. Corpsbruder.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

BLOCK: That's a close comrade, when spelled correctly. But then Sujoe missed a word, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE)

ANSUN SUJOE: Antigropelos. A-N-T-I-G-R-O-P-O-L-O-S? Antigropelos?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SIEGEL: Which are watertight leggings - they evidently leak when misspelled. So it went on, to the point where Scripps had only two words left. Hathwar had to spell that word, Melissa, that always comes up when we're just shooting the breeze about repetition and antithesis in ancient Greek verse drama.

BLOCK: Oh, yeah - stichomythia. Sujoe's final word was feuilleton.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING)

SUJOE: OK, feu - feu - whatever.

(LAUGHTER)

SUJOE: F-E-U-I-L-L-E-T-O-N?

JUDGE: Correct.

SIEGEL: The winners knocked out 279 other spellers to land the title.

BLOCK: Robert, I am doing a paixtle right now just thinking about it.

SIEGEL: Who isn't?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I PUT A SPELL ON YOU")

JOHN FOGERTY: (Singing) I put a spell on you because you're mine.

BLOCK: You're listening to all ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.