‘Austin Chronicle’/Fadó Adult Spelling Bee

Thursday’s bee was entertaining and slightly tinged with alcoholic determination and briefly marred by a gaffe or two.

The word was “nescience.” “N-e-s … um could I have a definition, please?” Spurred on by the delayed request, shouts emerged from the crowd. It was a tense moment and the first one in which a contestant paused in the middle of spelling a word to request relevant information regarding it: language of origin, repetition of the pronunciation, and the definition. But it was also the last word of the sixth annual Austin Chronicle/Fadó Adult Spelling Bee, Thursday, Oct. 25, and wordsmith Geoff Thevenot was unwilling to extirpate his chances at a third win (and consequently, another pint-a-day-for-a-year prize generously offered by Fadó). The delivered definition, “lack of knowledge or awareness” was appropriately followed by an “oh, how ironic” from one of Thevenot’s friends. “N-e-s-c-i-e-n-c-e,” he finished, correctly.

Thursday’s bee was, as always, entertaining and slightly tinged with alcoholic determination and briefly marred by a gaffe or two. Several second-round entrance spelling tests were unintentionally distributed among the first-round tests. There were also predictable sound problems: Contestants sitting inside Fadó could not hear the deejay outside, and contestants sitting outside could not hear relevant information spoken inside. But once the proverbial ball began to roll, 43 people performed well enough on the sexually-transmitted-disease-laden first test to take the more challenging test, and 16 advanced to the proper bee. And there, in the belly of the bee, they began to drop like flies. The Chronicle’s own proofreaders judged, while former ACFASB champions Erika Allbright and Laurel Martinez mellifluously pronounced the words, among them: “saurischian,” “ranunculus,” “stromatolite,” “fremitus” – audience members swooned upon hearing the definition, “a sensation felt by a hand placed on a part of the body (as the chest) that vibrates during speech” – “guimpe,” and, finally, “nescience.”

It was a short affair, ending before 10pm; however, it was enough time for the Austin Public Library to collect the contest’s proceeds to put toward augmenting their young-adult books section and plenty of time for erudite Austinites to knock back a few and smile satiated smiles at the utter nescience of their fellow boobs.

For more photos from the Chrontourage's Alyssa Kirsten click here.

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Erika Allbright, Geoff Thevenot, Laurel Martinez

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