WASHINGTON — It was a puzzling word that finally stumped Glendale resident Jobert Barin, who competed last Thursday in the National Spelling Bee here.
Jobert, 14, an eighth-grader at Woodrow Wilson Junior High School, made it to the fifth round of young Americans' ultimate war of words before "logogriph" tripped him up.
The word, of Greek origin, means "a word puzzle, as an anagram," according to Webster's Third New International Dictionary.
One of less than 50 spellers left out of the original 227, Jobert locked his hands behind his back and closed his eyes as the announcer read the word.
"L-O-G-O-G-R-Y-P-H," Jobert spelled. Off by a letter. A bell rang, signifying an error, and he walked off the stage into a nearby room for refreshments.
"Those words are usually spelled with a Y," moaned his father, Raymond, who sat in the audience scribbling on a note pad, trying unsuccessfully to spell the words being pitched to the fourth- through eighth-graders.
"I'm an English teacher, and I don't know half these words," said Jennifer Edmonds, a teacher in the gifted and talented education program at Wilson who came to the nation's capital with Jobert and his parents to coach him for the bee.
Jobert said afterward that studying word origins helped him in the first four rounds, in which he conquered the words "tauntingly," "vigneron," "casaba" and "estufa."
Jobert qualified for the national competition, sponsored by Scripps Howard newspapers, by first winning his school spelling bee, then a regional contest.
For lasting until the fifth round of competition, he will receive a $75 cash prize.