The winning word in the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night was, as it turned out, “knaidel,” a Jewish version of a dumpling.The boy who got it right — on his fourth successive appearance in the national event — was Arvind Mahankali, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Bayside Hills, N.Y.
Congratulations for perseverance go to Arvind, of course, who wins $30,000 for his achievement. But look at some of the words that other finalists had to spell — and failed to properly do so, resulting in elimination from the competition.
Pranav Sivakumar, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Tower Lakes, Ill., messed up on “cyanophycean”, a blue-green algae. (Who wouldn’t?)
Syamantak Payra, a 12-year-old seventh-grader from Friendswood, Tex., managed to correctly spell the words “panjandrum” and “sansculottic” and “catawba” before falling down on “cipollino.” (He only said one “l.”)
And then look at some of the words that winners in years past earlier bees had to spell to claim the top prize.
2011 — cymotrichous
2005 — appoggiatura
2004 — autochthonous
Is “knaidel” really that hard?
On the other hand, some other past winners had it pretty easy too:
1975 — incisor
1940 — therapy
1930 — fracas
I guess it’s just the luck of the word draw.