Home-schooler Meghan Reynolds of Landenberg, Chester County, is one of 45 semifinalists in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, out of 288 contestants who started this morning.
The semifinals will be televised on ESPN, starting at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow; the finals will be at 8 p.m. on ABC-TV.
Reynolds correctly spelled nuptiality during this morning's onstage round, shiatsu in the third round, and duende in the fourth round. Duende is a noun, derived from Spanish, meaning "the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm."
Reynolds, an eighth-grader, is quite familiar with spelling-bee battles. Last year, the Avon Grove School District initially ruled her ineligible for a county bee because she was home-schooled.
That decision was reversed after her parents, some neighbors and two state senators protested.
She also won an elementary-school bee the year before.
Before the onstage second round, the contestants first had to do well on a computerized test that had 50 words but only 25 that were scored: galimatias, altogether, epilepsy, miscible, loquacity, tremolo, Caribbean, mustard, Pinyin, sinecure, nonpareil, syringe, Pyrrhic, illegible, Appaloosa, beignet, midriff, intermittence, harassment, eidetic, cacoëthes, avarice, cygnet, homage and guernsey.
Contestants got one point for each of those spelled right, and added three points for today's showdown word in the second round. The 90 quarterfinalists all had at least 20 points, total.
For more information, including the names of competitors and the results, go to www.spellingbee.com.