Spelling Bee Runs Out of Words

Contestants evenly matched after 66 rounds
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2014 11:57 PM CST
Updated Feb 24, 2014 2:14 AM CST
Organizers say it wouldn't have been fair to just pluck more words from the dictionary.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Two spelling bee contestants in Missouri turned out to be so evenly matched that they exhausted the word list plus 20 extra words in a 66-round battle. Some 25 students started Jackson County Spelling Bee's championship round on Saturday, but after just 19 rounds, 11-year old Sophia Hoffman and Kush Sharma, 13, were the only two left standing for what an organizer says was a "legendary" showdown, the Kansas City Star reports.

They spelled words including "scherzo,” "fantoccini," and "intaglio" correctly before the words ran out and organizers decided to halt the contest instead of plucking random words from the dictionary, reports the AP. The showdown will resume on March 8, and it will be a tougher challenge for both contestants: They will have to spell words taken anywhere from the Merriam-Webster dictionary's 1,664 page instead of from the Scripps-approved list of 300 words. The winner will move on to the National Spelling Bee in May. (Read more Missouri stories.)

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