National Spelling Bee

After three consecutive ties, the National Spelling Bee was determined to have a solo winner, so it added a new tiebreaker procedure for Thursday night's finals in Oxon Hill, Md.

They nearly needed it, as finalists Ananya Vinay and Rohan Rajeev burned through round after round of words.

But Rohan tripped on the word "marram" (the Norse-derived word for a type of grass found on beaches), and Ananya was able to capitalize, correctly spelling "marocain" (a heavy crepe fabric, its name derived from the French word for Moroccan) to win.

Spelling Finals Promise To Bee Exciting

Jun 1, 2017

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Got a question for you, Rachel.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

OK.

INSKEEP: How do you spell tapas?

MARTIN: Tapas, like small plates of overpriced food?

INSKEEP: Tapas, yes, exactly.

MARTIN: T-A-P-A-S.

INSKEEP: That's exactly right.

Edith Fuller, 5, has booked a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, after she out-spelled dozens of older competitors to win a regional bee in Tulsa, Okla. The home-schooled student will be the youngest competitor ever in the national spelling bee, which will hold its 90th contest in May.

I started off wondering whether I might be able to spell a few of the words right. I ended up realizing that most of them I had never even heard of before.

Iridocyclitis. Cibarial. Pyrrhuloxia. And so on.

It was one of the many surprises of an evening spent watching the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night near Washington.

Another big surprise was how much I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I had expected to see a bunch of highly trained kids who've spent months and years memorizing the dictionary, essentially regurgitating that information.