2020_wmot_website_header.png
WMOT 89.5 | LISTENER-POWERED RADIO INDEPENDENT AMERICAN ROOTS
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Spelling Co-Champs Beat The Bee, Leaving Judges Without Words

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Melissa, can I have a word for a moment?

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Absolutely. How about, thymelici?

SIEGEL: Oh, the dancing chorus in ancient Greek plays?

BLOCK: Yeah.

SIEGEL: No, I was thinking more of, encaenia.

BLOCK: Encaenia. The academic ceremony for conferring honorary degrees?

SIEGEL: Well, of course. Those two everyday words figured in the Scripps National Spelling Bee that ended in a rare tie yesterday.

BLOCK: My colleague and corpsbruder on this daily audio feuilleton and I want to congratulate the winners -

SIEGEL: Who finished as close as a pair of tight antigropelos.

BLOCK: Thirteen-year-old Ansun Sujoe and 14-year-old Sriram Hathwar.

SIEGEL: It looked, for a moment, like Hathwar, the favorite to win, wasn't going to make it to the end.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE)

SRIRAM HATHWAR: Corpsbruder. K-O-R-B-R-U-I-T-E-R. Corpsbruder.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

BLOCK: That's a close comrade, when spelled correctly. But then Sujoe missed a word, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE)

ANSUN SUJOE: Antigropelos. A-N-T-I-G-R-O-P-O-L-O-S? Antigropelos?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SIEGEL: Which are watertight leggings - they evidently leak when misspelled. So it went on, to the point where Scripps had only two words left. Hathwar had to spell that word, Melissa, that always comes up when we're just shooting the breeze about repetition and antithesis in ancient Greek verse drama.

BLOCK: Oh, yeah - stichomythia. Sujoe's final word was feuilleton.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING)

SUJOE: OK, feu - feu - whatever.

(LAUGHTER)

SUJOE: F-E-U-I-L-L-E-T-O-N?

JUDGE: Correct.

SIEGEL: The winners knocked out 279 other spellers to land the title.

BLOCK: Robert, I am doing a paixtle right now just thinking about it.

SIEGEL: Who isn't?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I PUT A SPELL ON YOU")

JOHN FOGERTY: (Singing) I put a spell on you because you're mine.

BLOCK: You're listening to all ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
Robert Siegel
Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.