City Cafe

Can You Spell “Orthographic”? Atlanta’s Spelling Bee for Grown-Ups Lives On

A box of pencils and sheets of paper await those who wish to try their skill in the orthographic meet.
A box of pencils and sheets of paper await those who wish to try their skill in the orthographic meet.
Credit Kate Sweeney / WABE

  Last month, an annual spelling bee more than four decades old took place in Atlanta. But this bee is not for young people, and it’s not associated with a local school. In fact, it takes place in a bar.

The Atlanta Open Orthographic Meet may also be the only written spelling bee in town, and it’s open to anyone who wants to challenge him- or herself to spell words like coccygodynia (a pain in the tailbone) or zugzwang (a chess situation in which the player is limited to moves that would hurt his position). WABE’s Kate Sweeney went to check it out.Broadcast version of story that aired March 29, 2011