Tie scores aren’t easily embraced in competitions – there has to be a winner dammit!
Even the Scripps National Spelling Bee, when there were co-winners three years in a row, wrote a test to ensure only one person would win.
Of course, as soon as they devised the test there were individual winners the next two years — Ananya Vinay in 2017 with “marocain” and last year Karthik Nemmani spelled “koinonia” correctly to take the prize.
This year, organizers, citing stress and scheduling issues involving the spellers, are ditching test and possibility of co-champions in the Scripps National Spelling is back.
So, beginning next week 565 spellers, age 7 to 15, will compete. Of those competing, 271 advanced to the bee through regional spelling bees and 294 will participate through the RSVBee program, which allows students who’ve earned championship status to apply to be in the bee. Though the application is free, there is a cost of $750 if chosen to compete.
Number of Letters in The Winning Word
Under 9½ Letters -140
Over 9½ Letters +100
Our Pick: Under
Will The Winner Have Braces
Our Pick: No
Will The Winner Wear Glasses
Our Pick: We like “yes’
Will There be Co-Champions
Our Pick: No
Will The Winner be Male or Female
Our Pick: We’re going with girl power this year – but we’re happy either way.
- Winner comes from sponsored region -140
- Winner comes through RSVBee program +100
- Winning speller number over 282½ -155
- Winning speller number under 282½ +155
Our Pick: Eenie, meenie, miney, moe
One of our favorite parts of the bee doesn’t have a designated bet – it’s the multiple assist questions the contestants are allowed to ask about the words they must spell. For many, they are definite hints, for others it might just be a stall tactic.
The origin of the word is the most helpful and a recent analysis by Merriam-Webster and Babble found that words with French and German origin are the ones who most likely will trip up the spellers.
Words such as bewusstseinslage (German– state of consciousness devoid of sensory components) and pissaladiere (French – an open-faced pastry with olives, onions and anchovies) – heck we can’t spell it and we certainly don’t want to eat it.
If spellers get through 25 championship round words, expect to see two people holding up the trophy and each taking home $37,500. If a single speller wins, they’ll receive a bumped-up prize of $50,000.
Don’t you wish you were a better speller now? Yeah, well it’s too late.
Like us, you’re going to have to rely on spellcheck and get a bit of a rush when you come close while watching the bee which airs early rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday on ESPN 3 and on the ESPN app (check local listings for times).
Part 1 of the finals begin at 10 a.m. May 30 on ESPN 2, the app and on ESPNU. The primetime bee finals will air later that day at 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on ESPN.
But if you really, really think you would have been a contender, have the wind taken out of your sails by trying this test offered on the Scripps bee site.