Third time's the charm

This is the third time Anuk Dayaprema (Speller 36) has been to the Bee. It's the first time he's made the Semifinals.

Anuk is excited about moving forward in the Bee, but the eighth grader -- who is here from Italy, representing Europe -- said over the years, he's learned that it's about more than spelling.

"When I first came here, I felt really reserved," he said. "Instead of worrying, studying and fretting, you should really take this in."

The end of Round 3

In Round 3, 27 spellers were eliminated. That leaves 239 spellers who remain.

When the on-stage scores are combined with the computer test from yesterday, 41 of those spellers will qualify for the semifinals. We'll learn their names shortly.

Three rabbits

Kirtan Patel (Speller 262) may really like rabbits.

Or the Virginia eighth grader might want to be particularly sure that the judges know what he's saying.

In Round 2, he correctly spelled "mercerize" -- twice saying "R-as-in-rabbit" and emphasizing the Zzzzzzzz.

In the third round, Kirtan spelled "coffret" with a third "R-as-in-rabbit."

Rabbits do tend to multiply quickly.

Kirtan Patel, speller 262


I don't want to give you the spelling

Sure, you can ask Dr. Bailly to spell the word for you.

Shreyas Parab (Speller 207) did. The Pennsylvania seventh grader didn't have high expectations, though.

"I guess you're not going to give the spelling," he said to the pronouncer, after being asked to spell "acquittal."

Dr. Bailly said he would, but he'd rather not.

"I really don't like doing that because it means you missed the word," he said.

Luckily, Shreyas could spell this one himself. He got it right.

Make the pronouncer like you

Ryan Steed (Speller 170), a North Carolina eighth grader, knows just how to get on the good side of Bee pronouncer Dr. Jacques Bailly.

"I don't think you're a grobian, Dr. Bailly," he said after getting his word.

What's a grobian, you ask? It's a a slovenly, crude, often buffoonish individual; a boor or a lout.

Here's the sentence Dr. Bailly read to Ryan: Vicki dreaded her dinner date with the grobian, but at least he would give her something to blog about.

Us, too.

Sing it, sister

North Carolina seventh grader Katie Danis (Speller 175) has a unique way of spelling on stage.

After she received the word "stabilimeter," she asked if she had to speak her letters.

"Would you mind if I sang the letters? That would help me if I did that," she said.

The judges didn't mind.

"As long as they're clear," Head Judge Mary Brooks said.

Katie sang. She got the word right.

Katie Danis, speller 175

What if you illustrate it?

Twice now, Abirami Ratnakumar (Speller 157) has made an unusual request.

"Can you draw me a picture of the word?" she asked.

She didn't get a response from Dr. Jacques Bailly, the pronouncer.

"I guess that's a no," she quipped.

"Not that I couldn't try," Dr. Bailly said.

The word was "entourage." She got it right.

In Round 3, the New York seventh grader tried again.

"Am I correct in assuming you can't draw me a picture of this one either?" she asked, after receiving "cyathiform."

This time, she almost got there.

Beating your siblings

There are a few spellers who had to beat tough competition to make it to the national bee -- their siblings.

Jessie Ditton (Speller 261), a Virginia sixth grader, had to beat her brother in the district bee and her twin sister in the regional bee to advance this far. In Round 2, she spelled "Bolshevik" correctly to advance to Round 3.

Maggy Lambo (Speller 158), a New York sixth grader, beat her older sister Molly to get to D.C.

"We battled back and forth," said Molly, an eighth grader.

She followed the words on stage from her seat in the audience.