Spell it for me?

Ankita Vadiala, speller 261, greeted Dr. Bailly with a "Howdy."

"Any chance you could just give me the spelling and make my life easier?" she asked.

"I wish," he said. "You can do it."

Ankita, who last year tied for 13th, did -- she spelled "geta" correctly, and is still in the bee.


Kasey Torres, speller 244, is back for his second bee. He yanked the microphone down to his level, wrote on the back of his placard and correctly spelled "antipasto" to stay in the bee. He walked away pumping his fists.

Spelling families

Kalika Bridwell, speller 221, is at her third bee. She's the third of her siblings to compete -- sister Keiko and brother Zane also came to Washington to spell on stage.

Kalika tied for 47th place last year and 43rd in 2013. She spelled "epiphany" correctly and is still in the competition.

There are a number of spelling families that come to the bee year after year. Full speller profiles can be found at spellingbee.com

Why the crossbow?

Emily Ladines, speller 217, grinned at her sentence for "bellicose." So did the audience:

Henry hates when people call him bellicose and, if they had a second, he would gladly explain why he carries a crossbow and wears war paint whenever he leaves the house.