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Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 5:14 p.m.
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Letters and laughs at the National Spelling Bee

By The Associated Press

This article was published May 28, 2014 at 11:11 a.m.

OXON HILL, Md. — Words such as "protege" and "gesundheit" and jokes about the George Foreman grill and the game Minesweeper were among the early highlights as the onstage preliminary rounds began Wednesday morning at the 87th Scripps National Spelling Bee.

With most spellers having no trouble with their words, the focus shifted more to the laugh-out-loud sentences that have become a regular part of the Bee in recent years. When Lillian Allingham of Hockessin, Del., asked for a sentence for "odyssey," pronouncer Jacques Bailly made the audience chuckle by speaking of someone who "got lost in Costco for 35 minutes."

"You should give sentences more often," Isabel Cholbi of San Bernardino, California, told Bailly.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for a full story that spells out the fate of Arkansas' contestants.

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