A long pause

JoJo Widi, speller 279, stood on stage for a while as judges conferred. He spelled "gamboge" with a second "A" before stopping to correct, but the "A" had already been uttered. He was eliminated.

Food can be challenging

There are typically a lot of food words at the bee. Three of them have tripped up recent spellers.

Kyoko Leaman, speller 265, was eliminated on "etouffee," a Cajun stew of shellfish or chicken served over rice. Carson Brown, speller 267, was knocked out on "bialy," a flat roll that has a depressed center and is usually covered with onion flakes. And Julia McCoy, speller 269, went out on "damson," the fruit of a rather small compact plum that has small dark purple fruits and is native to Asia Minor but now cultivated throughout much of the world.

Where is that?

Ethan Stinson, speller 266, got the language of origin, but it wasn't much help.

"Are you allowed to give me what continent Twi is on?" he asked when Dr. Bailly told him.

The answer was Africa -- West Africa, to be specific. But it didn't help Ethan spell "kente" and he was eliminated.

Who doesn't?

"Whenever Lydia finds herself in a barathrum, she opens her laptop and watches Youtube videos of bulldogs sitting on couches like people," Dr. Bailly said.

Trisha Balakrishnan, speller 263, spelled "barathrum" correctly. It means a bottomless pit or abyss : a place or state of misery, torment or wickedness.

Tejas Muthusamy, speller 264, spelled "Castalia" correctly. He tied for 8th place last year.


Caleb Adams, speller 256, bounces during each letter while he spells. He got "gongorism" correct and is still on stage.

The mic attacks

Kasey Torres, speller 244, spelled "octonocular" correctly to stay on stage. But before he did, he bumped his nose on the microphone after he pulled it down so it was at his level.

Then Kasey giggled, grinned and spelled.

A stylish kid

"Yet another upscale haberdasher has opened a shop on Brighton Street, but Kumar still can't find ONE of those hats Pharrell wears," Dr. Bailly said.

"That describes my life," Evan Haley, speller 243 said. He spelled "haberdasher" correctly to stay on stage.