Vanya spells on stage

Vanya Shivashankar, speller 90, is the only 5-time competitor at the bee. She correctly spelled "pistachio" to stay in the compeition -- but only after ensuring she was spelling the right word.

Vanya often asks a series of questions, and this time was no exception. She asked whether the word was a noun, and for the language of origin, among other questions.

Hard loss

Zander Reed, speller 85, was expecting to stay in the bee longer.

"What?" he said, when he misspelled "alleviate" as "eleviate." He held his hands to his head.

Zander competed in the bee in both 2013 and 2014.

Seems like he knew it

Matthew Ross, speller 81, thought he knew his word when he heard it.

"From French? Like, a raised area of land?"

"A usually extensive land area having a relatively level surface raised sharply above adjacent land on at least one side," Dr. Bailly said.

"OK," Matthew said, and spelled "plateau" correctly to stay in.

Cracking up

There's something funny about it: Speller 69, Dylan Hembrough, started to giggle as soon as he heard his word, "llama." He spelled it correctly through laughter to stay in the bee.



A good string of spelling

Brennon Cavanagh, speller 61, grinned at Dr. Bailly, then correctly spelled "fidelity." Speller 62, Aniket Nuthalapati, tapped his forearm as he spelled "camouflage." And speller 63, Eric Errampalli, wrote "samaritan" on his hand. All are still in the competition.



Mareike Western, speller 57, heard a word that may have been reminiscent of her own.

"Really?" she said when she got the word "maraca." She spelled it correctly.

Still afloat

"F-L-O ...... T-I-L-L-A?" speller 51, Jaren Rose, spelled while using his finger to trace the letters on the back of his placard. He spelled it right and remains in the competition.

Like Y-M-C-A

Some spellers write on their hands, others type and some sign. Speller 46, Vishal Thakwani, wrote large letters in the air to correctly spell "periscope" and stay in the competition.

Birds as fashion

"Derrick complained about the albatross around his neck, but Karen insisted that it went perfectly with his pants," Dr. Bailly read.

Farzan Shiju, speller 42, spelled albatross correctly to stay in the competition.