The Scripps National Spelling Bee, once a symbol of pride for our nation’s youth, has deteriorated in recent years into a feeble-minded joke, with so-called “champions” claiming their victories with simple words like “cymotrichous” an “knaidel.” Thankfully, that’s all about to change.
Before the last two bees, there hadn’t been a tie among the alarmingly intense child spellers in over 50 years. One speller alleged to the AP that the championship words “tend to be a little easier” but she doesn’t “really know why.” Which is both not particularly helpful and also a brag.
But now, instead of having a set list of 25 pre-selected championship words, organizers can include as many as 75 words in the final rounds. And if our little spellers aren’t having trouble knocking those out, the judges can pick even harder words at their whim.
As spelling bee executive director Paige Kimble told the Associated Press, “As difficult as those words offered those co-champions were, we had a more difficult section in our word list, but we couldn’t go to them because our rules bound us to stick to that 25-word championship word section.”
My personal recommendation: use the word “omelet,” which is to blame for my own devastating loss in third grade.