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How'd that happen? Spelling bee runs out of words

Dogwood Elementary School's Elliott Frankel struggles during the 10th round of the 2014 Memphis-Shelby County Spelling Bee in Memphis, Tenn. – AP photos
Dogwood Elementary School's Elliott Frankel struggles during the 10th round of the 2014 Memphis-Shelby County Spelling Bee in Memphis, Tenn. – AP photos
How'd that happen? Spelling bee runs out of words
The Kansas City Star
The Kansas City Star
Talk about being “at a loss for words!”

Two Missouri students went toe-to-toe for 66 rounds in the annual Jackson County spelling bee. But they couldn't finish because event organizers ran out of words for the contest.

The Kansas City Star reports 25 students started the championship round Saturday. Only two remained after 19 rounds.

From there, fifth-grader Sophia Hoffman of Lee's Summit and Kush Sharma, a seventh-grader from Kansas City, buzzed through the list of words provided by the national bee. Then they went through 20 others plucked from the dictionary.

Five hours after the contest started, bee officials decided not to pull more words from the dictionary. They decided instead to continue the competition March 8 at an undetermined library location.

Critical thinking challenge: How could anyone run out of words?


- Posted on February 23, 2014
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Having been in a spelling bee before, I can tell you that it is easy to run out of words. You see, they pre-design a list of words that they will use, from runner to Saint Bernard. These words are put on a list for studying, and later used in a competition. If something like this were to happen, it's no surprise that a word list would run out. Sometimes, the planners don't expect for students to go head to head for that long.

I think that is incredible! I never could do that I am a terrible speller, I think that is I could hire those two that I would everyday. Maybe not though because I'm not very rich. Great job to the finalists.

That's really impressive if those two students could go through 26 rounds without even missing one! I'm not surprised the bee ran out of words. They weren't prepared for two great spellers. I wonder where they will look next for unused words. I also wonder, who will win?

I think that it is pretty cool that they ran out of words, because that will like never happen, so that means that they are actually really good on how to spell so they are smart in other words

This is crazy! To be tied for 19 rounds is just unbelievable. These kids must read all the time to be able to spell so well. I know some kids who compete in spelling bees sometimes just read the dictionary. Maybe that's what got them so far in the competition.

What spelling bee runs out of words? I think this is weird. I mean really they usually would have a lot of spelling words.

I think that is crazy that they can spell that many words. If I was in a spelling bee I'd be out in the second round.

Wow! It would stress me out very much to go through that many words. I do not even know how it is possible to run out of words when there are so many words.

Wow! There would be so much stress in trying to get those bigger, better words to beat the other person. I would be flipping if I was one or them. Plus, it's a SPELLING bee. How in the world do you run out of words?! I hope they have fun on March 8th though!!

-Becca L.