Speller No. 209 nailed X-a-n-a-d-u and a-n-a-c-h-r-o-n-i-s-m, but stumbled in the seventh round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee today on boudin, which she misspelled b-o-u-d-a-i-n.
Boudin, pronounced 'boo-dan,' is a highly-seasoned sausage of pork, pork liver, and rice that is a typical element of Louisiana Creole cuisine.
But for that extra A, Anahita Iyer, 13, an eighth grader from Tohickon Middle School who lives in Doylestown, might have vaulted to the top of the spelling firmament.
The folks back home in the middle school library sure thought she had the right stuff to win, and were watching the televised competition early in the afternoon.
"She's on right now," said librarian Catherine Levesque, then hung up and called a reporter back a few minutes later to say Iyer had been e-l-i-m-i-n-a-t-e-d.
Forty-one spellers from the U.S. and Canada advanced to the semifinals of the 84th bee after two days of competition that whittled the field down from 275. The winner, who receives more than $40,000 in cash and prizes, is to be crowned tonight.
According to a biography posted on the spelling bee's website, Iyer plays violin in the select strings orchestra at her school. She is an honor-roll student and a member of a gifted education program.
Iyer participated in the Reading Olympics, and she and her science partner received a third place medal for ecology in the seventh grade Science Olympiad.
After school, Iyer enjoys track and field, playing Ping-Pong, solving puzzles and playing games on her computer, Wii and PlayStation2.
Her best school subject is math, and she would like to pursue a career in medicine, according to the material on the website.
The spelling bee is being held in Oxon Hill, Md.
On Thursday, the semifinalists began jockeying for the top round, while also enjoying a special treat: semifinalists get to see ESPN's feature profiles of themselves on a big screen as they're airing on television.
Grace Remmer of St. Augustine, Fla., giggled as she watched herself enjoying Disneyworld - then calmed down and approached the microphone to correctly spell "a-n-a-p-h-y-l-a-x-i-s."
Follow the Inquirer at
» READ MORE: www.Twitter.com/PhillyInquirer
» READ MORE: www.Facebook.com/PhillyInquirer