The Post Bee doesn't last nearly as long as the real thing -- just a half-hour -- but to make it as official as possible, the long-time "word pronouncer" from the official Spelling Bee, Dr. Jacques Bailly, repeats his job here and moderates. The reactions of the good-natured contestants are much of the fun, and much as Ms. Shivashankar would seem the favorite going in, I'll just say that there are some surprises, and the results are not the runaway you might think. In fact, there are some impressive spellers here among the staff. Seriously. As good-fun as this is, the words get impressively hard as the rounds go on. And by "hard," I mean oh-my-God mind-numbing.
My favorite part is that, although five years from her championship and a student at Yale, Vanya Shivashankar still employs the tried-and-true technique of visualizing words by drawing them out in her hand.
For readers of the Post, you will recognize some of the names (a few of whom may be familiar as commentators on TV) -- Christine Emba, Fred Hiatt, Ruth Marcus, Dana Milbank, Alexandra Petri, Molly Roberts and Erik Wemple
As the Post notes, "We had a lot of fun — and we ended up with more respect than ever for the eighth-graders who work so hard every year to compete."