Friday, February 29, 2008

Team Spotlight: Non-Fiction Book Club

This trio--Chip Spalding, Barbara Roth-Schecter, and Gerry Wise--are back for their third year in a row. Expect a good performance from these erudite, well-read Library supporters!

Team Spotlight: "The Home Team"

This is a new team, featuring new Chickering Principal Kirk Downing, Curriculum Coordinator (and former Science Diva) Deb Reinemann and Literacy Specialist Louise Snyder. We're happy to have a new Chickering team on board, and wish them luck. You can wish them luck as well by clicking at the end of this entry, or by purchasing an inexpensive "good luck" message in the Bee program.

Team Spotlight: the Town House Honey Bees

The Honey Bees are a new team, formed around Sue Sheridan of the 2007 A Bee Cs team. With a seasoned participant on board, and--as I understand it--some coaching from the CoA, this is a team to keep your eye on.

Team Spotlight: Precious Bee-ginnings

This pre-school, located in the lower level of St. Dunstan's Church in Dover, has been supporting the Bee since its inception, and they're always the first team to sign up. The spellers change as the children grow, but the team's good sportsmanship never wavers. And they're good spellers, too! Look for their signature shirts, designed by Dover artist Jane Bleakley, and remember to Bee Smart, Bee Strong and Bee Precious.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spotlight on Teams

We will begin to focus on teams who are signing up for the 08 Bee. You are free to leave your favorites a good-luck message here (click on the comments link at the end of the appropriate blog entries), and you may also buy your friends a good-luck message in the Bee program by submitting a form and paying a small fee. Check links to the Bee for details, or stop in and ask.

Remember: ANYONE who participates in the Bee is a winner by definition. This is our major spring fundraising event and that is why people are entering. (Surely it's not for the bobble-head Bee prizes we gave out in '06...) It's YOUR Library. Be proud to support it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Words are available

The word lists are now at the Library for registered participants. Stop in today, and check out the Staff's Bee decorations!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The words are at the printer's...

This year we are distributing a list of approximately 850 words, loosely affiliated with the following five categories:
  • The Natural World: words about weather, plants, animals, geography and the physical world.
  • The Social World: words that describe the world as people have modified it.
  • Yes, there IS a word for that: you will not believe the specific words that exist for completely random things.
  • Spell-check's Darlings: is Spell-Check your friend, or your foe? These words will help you find out.
  • Personal Pet Peeves: some words never look right to me, no matter how often I see them. Hopefully you will have better luck with them than I do.

Words will be made available to registered contestants as soon as they are available.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Retiring word

aebleskive noun
kind of spherical pancake with apple filling
I loved this word---it's hard to figure out what it might be, unless you know some Scandinavian derivations. Lots of teams went "out" on this word in the '07 Bee. However, we are not going to use it this year, because Williams-Sonoma has started selling an aebleskive pan--sure to make it a household word, literally. But it's still a great word.

Friday, February 22, 2008

let's hope you don't have...

1) bad handwriting
2) bad spelling
Thanks again to the calendar of Forgotten English, by Jeffrey Kacirk. Some of these "forgotten" words are due for a comeback!

Great Scrabble word

vug noun
A small hole in a rock or vein that often contains a mineral lining that differs from that of the surrounding matrix.
With thanks to the Forgotten English calendar by Jeffrey Kacirk ("vug" is the word for 23 June).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dressing for Success

Some teams dress up for the Bee, and they add to the evening's festive atmosphere. In no particular order, here are some (but not all) of the best-dressed teams of yesteryear:

  • Chickering Chicks: School Committee team, wearing rhinestone-studded T-shirts and--you have got to see this in the photos--chicken hats. Priceless.
  • Desperate Housewives: a lovely trio, dressed to match their namesakes of Wisteria Lane fame. And although they resembled their characters superficially, this great group played fair and graciously.
  • Precious Bee-ginnings: a local preschool (Precious Beginnings) sported shirts designed by Dover artist Jane Bleakley, reminding us all to Bee Precious, Bee Strong, and Bee Smart.
  • Dover Foundation: fabulous costumes, fantastic hats. Always a magnificent performance.
  • Claybrook Roadies: this team dressed in black t-shirts, jeans and caps. They nearly stole the show, too--they're very good spellers!
  • Spellunkers: watch the DCTV reruns to see the blinking miner's cap. Hilarious.
  • Spell's Angels: the dark side of the otherwise sunny Children's Room staff. The name says it all.
  • Library Queens: this famous trinity (Staff, Friends and Trustees) played in ball gowns and tiaras. Just like they do every day.
  • Dover Mothers' Association: this team won the '06 Bee in shirts rightly proclaiming: "The Moms are da Bomb". Their '07 attire was somewhat subdued by contrast--tee-shirts sporting a tastefully-designed logo. They're still Da Bomb in my books.
  • The Chicatabot Garden Club came with gloves, aprons, hats and trowels in '06. I firmly believe that if you can spell "Chicatabot" you can win the Bee.

This year we will be awarding Best Costume and Best Name distinctions. Go rummage through your closets!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Last year's Bee finalists

Will they place again this year? Who knows. Watching the 2007 Bee reruns Wednesday evening on DCTV (channel 8), I was reminded of what incredibly good spellers all the finalists were. They went through all our "extra-hard" words!
Their skill should be remembered, and so here are the team names of last year's Championship Round participants: The Dover Foundation (excellent costumes); the Holey Spellers (yes, they can spell pharaoh); the Spellars; the Spellunkers (witty hats); and the champions, Spell Sesquipedalian. You can find Spell Sesquipedalian's name (along with names of the individual spellers) listed under the 2006 Champions, the Dover Mothers' Association, on the plaque next to the door in the Library's lower level.
Check out the replays on Channel 8, if you have time. In addition to some truly impressive spelling, you will see the camaraderie and good sportsmanship that makes our Bee a real Dover event.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Registered teams will receive spelling words the last week of February

In case we did not make this crystal clear before, if your team has signed up and paid, we GIVE you the Bee words in advance. We are currently compiling a list of several hundred words; during the night of the Bee we will probably need about 200 of them. We construct rounds of about 15--20 words per round (depending on the number of teams spelling), and we have a special word list for the Championship round.

The words will be available to teams who have registered in full on or before February 25th. There is a definite advantage to having your paperwork in before the 25th, because then all you'll need to do afterwards is stop by and pick up your list. We won't be able to release the words to members of incomplete teams, so right now is the time to get yourselves organized. Pick a team name, get everyone's contact information on the same sheet. Get a 4th person to be your team's alternate if you have concerns about your teammates' availability on April 3rd (advantage: your 4th teammate might save on the entry fee, and thus can buy you a Mulligan). You can download an entry form from the Library website:

Some teams study; some (including, as I understand it, last year's winners) do not. Having watched the Dover Bee evolve, I would venture to say that the real competition is not so much between the teams participating but rather between the teams and the word list. The teams who are not spelling in a particular round are seated together at long tables; there is a lot of good-natured conversation and camaraderie. Come check it out!

Saturday, February 9, 2008


KOM-plə-mənt noun
a polite expression of praise


ROY-stur verb
To revel noisily.
More thanks to the Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate


hi-JEM-uh-nee noun
1. dominance of leadership, especially by one nation over another
2. leadership, predominance
with thanks to the Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate, by Eugene Ehrlich


Kom uh-NAY-shun noun
a threat of vengeance, especially divine vengeance

Friday, February 8, 2008


TOO-sahn, alternately: too-SAHN noun
City in Arizona
Today's theme: words I have never been able to spell correctly.
For some reason I can spell Massachusetts, but anything east of Pennsylvania is a challenge.


sin-sin-AT-ee noun
City in Ohio.
Today's theme: words I have never been able to spell correctly.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Catch our reruns on Channel 8

If you have cable television, check out DCTV on Channel 8, who are very kindly showing last year's Bee. It was on Wednesday night at 7.30 this week; check their website for the complete schedule:
Dover Cable will be at Chickering Gym to film the Bee again this year. We are not sure we can run it live, due to wiring constraints at Chickering. We are hoping to have a live run out in the Bee Café during the event.


\ˈkäm-plə-mənt\ noun

1 a: something that fills up, completes, or makes perfect b: the quantity, number, or assortment required to make a thing complete; especially : the whole force or personnel of a ship c: one of two mutually completing parts : counterpart
2 a: the angle or arc that when added to a given angle or arc equals a right angle in measure b: the set of all elements that do not belong to a given set and are contained in a particular mathematical set containing the given set c: a number that when added to another number of the same sign yields zero if the significant digit farthest to the left is discarded —used especially in assembly language programming
With thanks to

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


\ə-ˈkä-mə-ˌdāt\ verb
1: to make fit, suitable, or congruous
2: to bring into agreement or concord : reconcile
3: to provide with something desired, needed, or suited (as a helpful service, a loan, or lodgings)
4 a: to make room for b: to hold without crowding or inconvenience
5: to give consideration to : allow for intransitive verb: to adapt oneself


zuc·chi·ni \zu-ˈ-nē\ noun
a smooth cylindrical usually dark green summer squash; also : a plant that bears zucchini
Yes, we all know what it is, but can you spell it?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


ˈmā-ə-ˌnāz noun
a thick sauce made from egg yolks and oil
Someone once told me that the word mayonnaise is derived from an Irish chef named McMahon. His French clients were much taken by a special sauce of his invention, which they called "sauce mahonaise". No idea if this is true, but it's a good story. My home dictionary connects the word to the French capture of the city of Mahón (in Minorca) in 1756. For a photo of Mahón, click on:, and then ask yourself why you spend your winters in New England.


al-gə-ri-thəm noun
a procedure for solving a problem


xiphias (ZIFF ee us) noun
This word has appeared before in spelling bees, and I like it because it's a word we can, with a little effort, work into everyday life--assuming you eat swordfish. And if you have children who don't like swordfish, the word xiphias gives you an opportunity to start with a clean slate and see if you can't trick them into trying it again. Good luck with that.

Monday, February 4, 2008


\ˌa-pə-ˌsī-ə-ˈpē-səs\ noun
Inflected Form(s):
plural ap·o·si·o·pe·ses \-ˌsēz\
the leaving of a thought incomplete usually by a sudden breaking off (as in “his behavior was—but I blush to mention that”)


SOL-ə-siz-əm noun
a mistake in the use of language
an offense against good manners or etiquette
(thanks to Diane Cullen for The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate)



\ˈman(t)-swi-ˌtüd, man-ˈsü-ə-, -ˌtyüd\ noun
the quality or state of being gentle : meekness tameness


kwing kwə jə NAY ree an noun
someone between the ages of 50 and 59


su`perch´er`y noun
Deceit; fraud; imposition.


def·la·grate \ˈdef-lə-ˌgrāt\ verb
transitive verb : to cause to deflagrate intransitive verb : to burn rapidly with intense heat and sparks being given off
thanks to


(ad-si-TISH-uhs) adjective

Derived from outside; external; additional.

[From Latin adscitus, past participle of adsciscere (to admit or adopt), from ad- (toward) + sciscere (to seek to know), from scire (to know).
Thanks again to


(i-SEE-sis) noun

The entry or establishment of a plant in a new habitat.

[From Greek okiesis (inhabitation), from oikein (to inhabit). Ultimately from Indo-European root weik- (clan) that is also the forbear of vicinity, village, villa, and villain (originally, a villain was a farm servant, one who lived in a villa or a country house).]
With thanks to


moliminous (mo-LIM-in-uhs) adjective

Massive; laborious.
[From Latin molimen (effort, weight, importance).]
The perfect word to use when describing the compilation of spelling words for the Bee list...


\i-ˈgrē-jəs\ adjective
Latin egregius, from e- + greg-, grex herd — more at gregarious
1archaic : distinguished2: conspicuous; especially : conspicuously bad : flagrant — egre·gious·ly adverb
— egre·gious·ness noun

I love this word because it means "away from the flock"--an egregious action is one that puts you over to one side of the herd. It's the same root as "gregarious", but quite a different meaning.


em·bar·rass·ing·ly \-ə-siŋ-lē\ adverb
to an embarrassing degree : so as to cause embarrassment


/DA kə ree/ noun

an iced cocktail made from rum, lemon or lime juice, and sugar or syrup


somniloquy (som-NIL-uh-kwee) noun

The act or habit of talking while asleep.
[From Latin somni- (sleep) + loqui (to speak).]
with thanks to A Word A Day (

Sunday, February 3, 2008


quinquennially kwin-KWEN-nE-ə-lE adverb
1 : consisting of or lasting for five years
2 : occurring or being done every five years


facetiae (fuh-SEE-shee-ee) noun

Witty or humorous remarks or writings.

From Latin facetia (jest). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dhe- (to set or put) which is also the source of do, deed, factory, fashion, face, rectify, defeat, sacrifice, satisfy, Urdu purdah (literally, veil or curtain), and Russian duma (council). All that in one little word. Imagine!

With thanks to

Saturday, February 2, 2008


obeisance o-BAY-səns noun
a gesture or movement of the body expressing reverence or respect, such as a bow or curtsey

Friday, February 1, 2008

Where do we find the Bee words?

The list of words for the Bee will be made available to paid participants at the end of February/early March. But how is the list made?

In the past, we relied on the Scripps National Spelling Bee Paideia, the word book used by students as they prepare for the National Bee. We were able to buy the books and give them out to our contestants, occasionally with supplements to make the Dover Bee a more challenging and entertaining experience for all.

This year, Scripps is not selling word books, but rather encouraging participants to download a word booklet from their website ( We are, therefore, compiling our own list of words--some from the Scripps group, some from on-line word-a-day websites and calendars, some from past years' words (like pharaoh, still my all-time favorite), and some from our own vocabularies and spelling weaknesses. People associated with libraries tend to be interested in words, and some of us never seem to run out of them! We anticipate having to use about 200 words on the night of April 3rd, but will distribute a much larger study list.

If you have any ideas for good spelling words, send them to us at You never know, your word might make the final list!


infare \ˈin-ˌfer\ noun

a reception for a newly married couple

from Middle English, entrance, from Old English infær, from in + fær way, from faran to go — more at fare
(with thanks to