Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Congratulations to Season 8 Winner Robert Moy

Congratulations to Season Winner Robert Moy!

Read the Gothamist coverage here. Photo by Billy Parker of Gothamist.

Robert Moy, who teaches gifted kids at P.S. 334, will be receiving a 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary! (Courtesy of, of course, the Oxford English Dictionary). The graphic below is in celebration of the OED's 80th birthday -- or, as we like to say at the bee, octentennial.*

Moy also took home $150 cash from Pete's, as well as a trophy, free drinks, and some cupcakes. 2nd place Jonathan Lill and 3rd place Carolyn D'Aquila also took home beaucoup prizes, including Concise Oxford English Dictionaries, subscriptions to the Visual Thesaurus, and more.

Click here for Flickr gallery from the Finals.

* I made that up.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Online Spelling Bee Practice

Want to practice your spelling online? Try the Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee. The first word I got when playing was "host." But by the third word, I was asked to spell "unpropitiously."

After skating through "manumit" and "cinnabar," I got stumped on "reseau" (a grid of fine lines in lacemaking or celestial measurement), then nailed glaucous, jeroboam, and cislunar before striking out on "ecdysis" ( a shedding of the cuticle in arthropods) and "naumachia" (a naval spectacle or mock sea battle put on by the ancient Romans). So, um, it gets hard!

Here's a blog post explaining how Visual Thesaurus "uses the latest computational tools to shed new light on the inner workings of the English language." Complete with graphs!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Few Updates

Our bee is currently featured on Brooklyn Based!

There are two more bees left in the current season -- Nov 10 and Nov 24 -- before our December 8th Finals. After that, the bee will go on holiday hiatus and return in February 2009.

Last night's bee was intense! We had a full roster of 18 spellers, and a few groups sadly turned away. Next time, arrive early (and often!)

Here's me and bobby at the Manhattan bee we recently hosted at Housing Works:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

and afterwards, they can all go see a movie for 15% off...

Here is a CBS article on senior spelling bees.
Long is a finalist of the AARP National Senior Spelling Bee just about every year. But it seems every time he's about to claim the top prize, he's thrown one of those dreaded culinary terms....

After misspelling "cappelletti" in 2005, he ate the hat-shaped pasta for a week. When he missed "caiparina" - a Brazilian cocktail - it drove him to drink.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Season Schedule

Step up to the mic and rule at Pete’s Candy Store’s
Every Other MONDAY
No cover, open to all
Signup at 7pm, Bee at 7:30

Season 8:
July 21
August 4 & 18
Sept 15 & 29
Oct 13 & 27
Nov 10 & 24

Quick Hits

The new season of spelling began this Monday, July 21st. One speller sent me an email afterwards thanking us for the sprachgefühl, an exciting word* you might enjoy deploying in the future.

July 21st winner Jonathan Lill emailed to bring this shirt, which I thought you might also enjoy, to my attention:

And finally, you might enjoy this post on my regular blog: “Perpetrating” the Lyrics: A Critical Exegesis of the 1989 Young MC Hit “Bust a Move”.

*New! From the same people who brought you "schadenfreude" and "weltzschmertz," enjoy sprachgefühl!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Congratulations to Season Winner Tamara Glenny!

Tamara Glenny (center) came in victorious in our June 23rd finals, spelling "aesculapian" correctly (among many other words), and taking home a $200 grand prize, as well as a "Spelling Bee Winner" tote bag and gift certificate from sponsor Neighborhoodies, and other fun prizes.

Kudos also go out to 2nd place winner Jonathan Lill (top left) and 3rd place winner Jonathan Proctor (bottom left).

Thursday, June 05, 2008

deliciously ironic newspaper correction

From the Washington Post:

A May 31 Metro article about the Scripps National Spelling Bee misspelled last year's winning word. The correct spelling is serrefine.

Monday, June 02, 2008

spelling news

Did you know that the National Spelling Bee has protestors?

I was already well-aware of the "spelling reform" movement, but this article in the WSJ does add one hilarious fact about the movement of which I was unaware:
The movement reached its apogee on Aug. 20, 1906, when President Theodore Roosevelt, a terrible speller, officially changed the spelling of 300 English words.

What seemed like a good idea -- changing "through" to "thru," and so on -- turned into a humiliating disaster. Newspapers mocked him as "Rozevult." Congress voted 142-24 to overturn the order.
Also in spelling news, spelling bee "icon" Samir Patel is finished at 14 and moves on with his life as a teen genius. (Samir, you are welcome in Williamsburg when you turn 21!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bee News

The next spelling bee is Monday, April 28th!

Open to first 20 signups (arrive before 7:30 to sign up)
Pete's Candy Store
709 Lorimer in Williamsburg (L to Lorimer)

And if you're looking for something to do in the great isle of Manhattan, check out our new project ... The New York City Spelling Bee.

we're in a cool multimedia news article

Check out Nerdy Games Rock Bars on NYC24.com.

Friday, April 04, 2008

March 31st update

Congratulations to this week's winners:

1st - Suzun Tansil
2nd - Melissa Bourgeois
3rd - Paul Vernisi

Also, check out our TV spot on WNBC's "1st Look"! (This is from two bees ago, when I was on tour in LA, so bobbyblue and his friend Laverne were hosting).

Next bee: April 14th!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

February 18th bee recap

Last night's bee was one of our largest ever! We cut off registration around 7:15pm and had to start turning people away.

In a competition that went from boisterous and friendly to suspenseful and competitive at the end, contestant Tamara won first place, spelling 11 words correctly over the course of the bee and thereby winning a $25 bar tab and a Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, while Jonathan Lill and David Dickerson tied for second place, each winning a $15 bar tab. All three winners qualified for the season finals, to take place June 23rd, featuring a cash prize and a complete Oxford English Dictionary for the season winner.

Exciting words from this bee included "tyrannis," "kleptocracy," "acetylcholine," "vigentennial," "homonculus," and "eprouvette."

Next bee: March 3rd!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spelling Bee Theme Song Video

This video features the original Williamsburg Spelling Bee theme song, sung by bobby and me. Some years ago, I wrote the words and bobby wrote the music, although I think since then we've changed it around in various collaborative ways. Also, there was that one spelling bee in which we replaced the song with my parody of "SexyBack" ("We're bringing spelling back/The bee'll kill you for the words you lack"), but we clearly needed a lot more practice before pulling off a Timberlake/Timbaland.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

New season of spelling begins!

The Williamsburg Spelling Bee
Monday, January 7th
7:30pm (signup begins at 7pm)
Free, open to all (21+)
Pete's Candy Store

The new season begins January 7th with our first bee of '08! It's anyone's game! Winners get bar tab, everyone parties like a Mensan.*

*Way better, actually. For real.