2011 'Austin Chronicle' Adult Spelling Bee
Geoff Thevenot wins again!
Midafternoon drizzles threatened to dampen spirits at the 2011 Adult Spelling Bee, but by 6:30pm the skies had cleared, a girl in a bee costume had materialized, and more than 200 registered hopefuls sweat it out over the first preliminary test at Threadgill's World Headquarters. After throwing out two contentious words, the second prelim whittled the onstage pool of competitors down to 27.
Frequent winner Geoff Thevenot was among the worthies; a bit of foofaraw over the word "catachreses," which presenter Erika Allbright pronounced as a singular rather than plural noun, caused Thevenot to spell out "catachresis" instead. The crowd gasped – really – when the judging panel dinged him out, but Thevenot's appeal held. Soon only Thevenot and Jennifer Berend were left to duke it out.
"Sybarite" tripped up Berend, leaving Thevenot the task of spelling "embouchure." He did so ably, leaving open many potential jokes about tooting one's own horn.
Thevenot has won the bee every other year since 2003. Of course, the Austin Public Library won, too: Bee participants raised $578 for the purchase of downloadable books.