The 21 consonants of the alphabet have names that can be spelled: bee, cee, dee, ef, gee, aitch, jay, kay (also ka), el, em, en, pee, cue, ar, ess (or es), tee, vee, double-u (or double-you), ex, wye (or wy) and zee.
Arvind Mahankali (Speller 163) has finished third in each of the last two Bees. He's gotten out each time on a German word.
So far, at least, he's beaten it. Arvind, a New York eighth grader, spelled "dehnstufe" properly.
He acknowledged the German though, shrugging and throwing up his hands when it was read.
"Of course," he said.
Despite his past success, Arvind said before the finals that he wasn't sure he could make it.
"Right now, it's just fun," he said.