‘No joke’: Initial rounds of National Spelling Bee get tough

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OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — The Scripps National Spelling Bee’s preliminary rounds are much tougher and packed with drama this year.

The bee is back in person for the first time since 2019, but without the written test that was used for years to determine the best 50 or so spellers. Instead, spellers are asked to spell a word, define a word and spell another during one trip to the microphone. Well over half the spellers who had competed by midafternoon Tuesday failed to get through.

Dhroov Bharatia finished fourth last year. He says this year’s preliminary rounds are “no joke.”


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