Moments of levity

Erin Howard, speller 93, was thrilled to learn that her word did not have a feminine French ending.

"Please say no," she said, when she asked Dr. Bailly about the root. He said it was not.

"Thank you," Erin said. "Much obliged."


She spelled "godet" correctly. It's a triangular inset of cloth placed in a seam or slash to give fullness at the bottom edge of a skirt or sleeve.

Abhijay Kodali, speller 407, got the following sentence for the word "passacaglia," an instrumental musical composition consisting of variations usually on a ground bass in moderately slow triple time:

"Only one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s compositions is a true passacaglia, while none of the works by Sebastian Bach, the lead singer of Skid Row from 1987 to 1996, is believed to be one."

"I have no idea who that is," Abhijay said. 


Dr. Bailly assured the Texas sixth grader it was OK.

Abhijay tied for 3rd place last year. He got the word right.

And Christopher Serrao, speller 427, got the word "caramoussal." It's a high-pooped Turkish or Moorish merchant ship especially of the 17th century.

"Taking a ride on a caramoussal would be fun, but nowhere near as fun as hearing me say 'high-pooped,'" Dr. Bailly read.

The New Jersey seventh grader tied for 34the place last year and 41st in 2017.