The 35th Annual Atlanta Open Orthographic Meet (“The Bee”) has passed into the annals of history, and another winner has taken home a stein engraved with a word that 99.998% of us have never heard of. Unfortunately, although the babygotbooks bloggers apparently represent the cultural and intellectual elite, none of us walked away from the meet clutching that coveted tankard.
Before I recount the details of this year’s competition, a bit of history. First held in 1971, the Bee began as a small, informal gathering of self-proclaimed spelling nerds at the legendary Stein Club. The Bee caught on, and spellers young and old enjoyed 30 consecutive years at the Stein Club. In 2001, after the bulldozers of Atlanta’s urban renewal razed the Stein Club (R.I.P.), The Bee moved to another historic pub, Manuel’s Tavern. [An interesting bit of bar trivia: Back in 1956, Manuel Maloof – a three-term CEO of DeKalb County and the “Godfather of Georgia Democratic Politics” – opened Manuel’s Tavern. At that time DeKalb County was still dry, so Maloof chose a location just over the border in Fulton County, as close as he could get to his beloved DeKalb and still serve beer.] The 2005 Bee was the fifth at Manuel’s, and drew a sizeable crowd of eager spellers.
Three of our bloggers competed in The Bee this year: Dr. J, DJ Cayenne, and Weezie. Although “penuts” was not among the words challenging the competitors, several food-related words were included – blanch, macedoine, vichysoisse, and paillard. Animals were another popular theme, with such words as rhinoceros, oryx, hellgrammite, beviss, and baudrons. (Running for your dictionary yet?) Not to be outdone by the fauna, the flora were well represented by nectar, detritus, rye, pipsissewa, marram, and chytrid.
Our bloggers should be proud. Dr. J displayed some impressive spelling prowess, scoring a perfect 20 in the first round, and advancing to the third round. Weezie gave a solid performance, spelling 19 of 20 correct in the first round. Weezie stumbled in round two, however, and failed to move on. DJ Cayenne make a respectable showing, with a score of 16 in round one – not high enough to advance, but definitely qualifying him for “spelling nerd” status. As nerdy as we may be, however, we must give spelling props to the winner of The Bee, Nancy Nethery, who correctly spelled 37 of 53 words.
Just to make things interesting, instead of simply listing all the words in this year’s Bee, I thought I would set up our own blogger challenge – match the word to the definition. Sometime next week I’ll post the correct results, and you can see how well you scored. Take the Quiz here.