Education: Spellbinder

In the 34 years of the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee, girls have been the winners almost 2 to 1. Last week in Washington, the championship went to a boy: John Capehart, 12, a Tulsa neurosurgeon's son who competed against 49 girls and 23 other boys picked from 5,000,000 entrants. Word that tripped the runner-up: distichous (meaning arranged in two vertical rows, and misspelled distychous). Orthographophile Capehart's winning word, clinching the $1,000 prize: smaragdine (of or pertaining to emerald).


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