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Characters fill adult spelling bee
Spell WEB 1
The Language Butchers, from left, Rusty Hodges, Craig Richman and Beth Buursema, confer on a word during the 2011 Spell Check Live! event Oct. 4 at the Forsyth Conference Center. The team won the competition. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Bee words

Carpaccio — Thinly sliced raw meat

Languescent — Becoming listless or fatigued

Vichyssoise — A soup made of pureed leeks and potatoes

Xerocolous — Thriving in a relatively dry environment

Resipiscence — Change of mind or heart

Holding a pen, pad and a plastic meat cleaver in one hand, Craig Richman spelled the winning word for his team, the Language Butchers.

Their costume aprons were splattered with misspellings, but the three-member team didn’t butcher the words given to them in the annual Spell Check Live! bee.

The Butchers correctly spelled “orthoepy,” a word meaning “the study of the pronunciation of a language,” to earn the win for the Lanier-Forsyth Rotary Club.

Eleven teams battled it out in a three-hour competition Oct. 4 at the Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College as a fundraiser for Literacy Forsyth.

The nonprofit works to raise literacy rates in the county by tutoring adults in reading, as well as offering other services.

Wordsmith Ned Colley doled out 85 words in the three-hour competition, which judge Buster Evans said was the longest he could recall in the past four years.

The final two teams went back and forth on 25 different words, from “oleaginous” to “pusillanimous.”

The Language Butchers said it was their teamwork and backgrounds that ultimately gave them the win.

“We all saved each other at least once,” Beth Buursema said.

Richman added that his profession as an ear, nose and throat doctor made it a snap to spell medical words like “amygdaline,” meaning “of or relating to a tonsil.”

Rusty Hodges said his law background helped offer a correct spelling of “mittimus,” which is “a warrant committing the person specified to prison.”

Hodges said his best contribution, though, was picking the team.

“I picked two good spellers, and I couldn’t find a third, so somebody had to be the comedic relief.”

Dressed as witches, nerds, Rastafarians and more, the clothes and clever team names also serve a greater purpose: a best costumes award.

Last year’s bee champions, the Forsyth County Public Library team, took home the 2011 prize for best dressed.

The Spell Punkers showed off their steam punk look, which team members explained as a fusion of the past and the future, much like the library.

Joan Dudzinski said the literary genre uses Victorian-era styling and innovations, like steam power and metal, to create futuristic tales of adventure.

Team member Cleo Slaughter introduced the team’s name.

“[We’re] three indomitable lady librarians, equipped with cogs, gears and an insurmountable knowledge of the English lexicon, who intend on using their steam-powered brains to overcome all obstacles and best the competition.”

Other teams competing included two groups of teachers, two groups of students, the South Forsyth Rotary Club, Johns Creek Rotary Club, Lanier Technical College and the United Way.