An evening at the Seattle Spelling Bee


In 1979, I won the Seattle city spelling championship. I went on to the regional competition (a huge one — I think there were about 180 spellers in that event that year) and did reasonably well but did not win. So no trip to Nationals for me. And that was my last spelling bee.

Until Monday night. I went to the Seattle Spelling Bee at Jillian’s. It starts out with a written round of forty words. I tied for first place in the written round. The last time I competed in a written spelling bee round was 1979, in the first round of the Seattle championships. I won that one, so, hey! I have a win streak going! At least, in written competition.

The top 12 spellers in the written test move on to the main bee. The first round words were not too bad, words like bathysphere, insuppressible, repercussion. I got the word “apocalypse.” I know the spelling, so it was just a matter of spelling it carefully and not getting lost mid-word.

Round 2, unfortunately, is when I went out. I spelled “louvar” as “luvar” and that was that. (They said it was Italian. “Luvar” seemed more Italian to me. I’ve never seen or heard this word before so all I could do was guess.) The other Round 2 words included idunit, subclavian, pupillometer, glengarry, etc. I could spell most of the other words in the round, darn it.

Round 3 had tougher words: caimatillo, saurophagous, and… hoedown? Wow. One speller got a major gift with that one.

Round 4 was the final round: eisegesis, teetotum, stremmatograph. The guy who spelled eisegesis won.

I finished 6th. Grr. Next time I will do better. And I do think there will be a next time. It was fun! I won a $5 gift certificate to Blue Highway Games by winning one of the mini-games.

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