Clevis the slack-jawed yokel

Samir Patel, according to many people (Ed: According to whom? The Bellagio sportsbook?), was the favorite to win this year's National Spelling Bee. Sadly, he got bounced today after he misspelled "clevis" as c-l-e-v-i-c-e, probably thinking that it was similar to "crevice". His mother unsuccessfully filed an appeal, claiming that the second syllable of "clevis" has an alternate pronunciation which he should have been given.

I don't really know the rules of the spelling bee, so I don't know what the proper procedures are here. To Samir's credit, he took full responsibility for the loss.

Suddenly I feel a lot better about losing in the finals of a high school quiz bowl tournament on the final question because one of our players claimed that Spock was the first officer of the Enterprise. The official's script claimed that the correct answer was "science officer". We filed a protest, and the official ended up calling a local librarian and confirming that the correct answer was "science officer". (However, according to Wikipedia, Spock holds both titles. ZOMG Quiz bowl is rigged!!!!!!!eleven)

Finally, spelling bees are completely trivial and dumb. Quiz bowl is slightly less trivial. The geography bee is probably the most meaningful of the K-12 trivia contests.

UPDATE: Evan O'Dorney of Danville, CA is the winner of the spelling bee:

The winner of the spelling bee sounded as if he'd rather be at a math Olympiad.

Thirteen-year-old Evan O'Dorney of Danville, Calif., breezed through the Scripps National Spelling Bee with barely a hitch Thursday night, taking the title, the trophy and the prizes in a competition that he confessed really wasn't his favorite.

Evan O'Dorney, 13, is the big winner of the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee after spelling the word "serrefine"on Thursday.

The home-schooled eighth-grader easily aced "serrefine" -- a noun describing small forceps -- to become the last youngster standing at the 80th annual bee. He triumphed after a tense duel with Nate Gartke of Spruce Grove, Alberta, who was trying to become the first Canadian to win.

Afterward, Evan spoke more enthusiastically about attending a math camp in Nebraska this summer than about becoming the English language's top speller.

"My favorite things to do were math and music, and with the math I really like the way the numbers fit together," he said. "And with the music I like to let out ideas by composing notes -- and the spelling is just a bunch of memorization."

The author of this piece just called the USA's training camp for the International Mathematics Olympiad "some math camp in Nebraska".


Mark said...

The real story behind the clevis/crevice controversy is the bee's obvious slant against Asian-Americans.

Andrew said...

At least the winner has good taste in academic subjects!

Mark said...

some math camp in Nebraska

He said "a math camp," Speed. "a."

Scott showed me this link to Evan's post-bee interview. Warning: extremely awkward and painful.