Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Teams are signing up!

The stalwart Coldwell Banker team returns again to mix and mingle with the crowd, and to support the Library. We are happy to be welcoming returning spellers Jean McDonald and Laura Talmud, as well as new speller Betsy Breziner, and wish them an enjoyable evening at the Bee. Their ongoing support of the Library is sincerely appreciated.

The only team not to use its Mulligan last year, the Library team, is back: veterans Karen McKoy and Ellie Herd will be joined by Roberta Anderson. Two years ago, the Library team wowed us all by wearing ball gowns and tiaras to the Bee. They have finished in the finals every year they've played. Will this be their lucky year? (I should go on record here that their affiliation with the Library gives them no advantage--the words used in the Bee are kept secret until the judges receive their packets when the Bee begins. It must be the tiaras, then...stylish "thinking caps"?)

You can sign up today at the Library. Get your friends, your neighborhood, your board, your team, and join in the fun!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bee 411

Date: Thursday, March 26th
Time: 7--9 p.m. (we ask the spellers to come at 6.30 for registration)
Location: Great Hall, Dover Town House

Team (of 3 spellers) Fee: $300 (unchanged from prior years!)
Mulligans (optional, one per team, regular rounds only): $100

Entry forms are available at the Library. (Did you know we GIVE you the words in ADVANCE?) Words will be available to paid-up teams by 12 February. Make checks payable to Friends of the Dover Library and write "Bee" in the memo.

The popular "Bee Tree" will be back. "Buy" a word and win the prize or gift card associated with it. Refreshments will be available for purchase in the Bee Café in the Lower Level of the Town House. The goods available for purchase will have been donated, so 100% of the proceeds go directly to the Friends of the Dover Library to support the Dover Town Library. Where else can you feel so good about having a cupcake?

Live broadcast on Dover Cable (channel 8), with a TV in Café (so you can keep an eye on the action while having a snack).

Grand Prize: Enormous Bragging Rights, plus the name of the winning teams and winning spellers engraved on the plaque in the Library's Lower Level. Dover has been ranked one of the best-educated towns in Massachusetts, and the Library circulation suggests that we are a town of readers, so those Bragging Rights really are Enormous.

I'll be highlighting words and categories, and blogging about the teams and our donors...just as soon as I get a grip on the word list. Bookmark the page, or subscribe to the feed, so you don't miss anything!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

¡ay, caramba!

Instead of posting updates in here, I have been buried in the task of fine-tuning the word list for the Bee. In order to avoid errors, I painstakingly check each word, and manually override my word-processor's spell-check function for the more obscure words. Then I get the definition, so that the words can be classified into categories for study (and of course we need the definitions during the Bee itself). It's a tedious job, but it's important to do it correctly.

The other day when I opened the word file, I found that every single word was underlined as misspelled--even the ones I had already checked. It was a heart-stopping moment: it looked like the entire list was junk.

After a little noodling around, I discovered that some other computer user in my house had switched the default language in the word processor to Spanish. Apparently someone had been trying to translate song lyrics from Spanish to English, and modified the word processor to check the product. Better living through technology, and all that.

Once the word list is finished, I will have fun plotting my revenge on the Songster. Expect the words to be available to paid-up teams by the 12th of February.

¡Hasta luego!