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05 April 2009 @ 04:00 pm
[norwescon] Help me out with the Sci-Fi Spelling Bee?  
Dear LJ Hivemind --

I'm looking for a little help with an event I'm running at Norwescon 32, called "The Sci-Fi Spelling Bee". What I'll be doing is holding an authentic spelling bee using words from Science Fiction and Fantasy works (books, movies, television, etc). The Science Fiction Spelling Bee will be Thursday night (April 9) from 11 PM to midnight.

The Sci-Fi Spelling Bee is similar in spirit to the Broadway musical "Putnam County Spelling Bee". In that musical, set at a spelling bee, the definitions and example sentences are witty and funny and usually no help at all to the speller. You can hear a flavor of this spirit on the "Play Live" section of the Putnam County Spelling Bee website. (And, by the way, if you haven't seen the musical I highly recommend it. It's hilarious!)

Would you like to help me with words, definitions, and example sentences for the Spelling Bee. I have a bunch, but the more the merrier!

I've given some examples from my current list behind the cut. Note that I also added the "language and work of origin". If you have any ideas for words, definitions, and sentences, feel free to put them in a comment to this post. Obscure words are great, funny definitions and non-helpful sentences are marvelous.

As thanks for your help, I will first list all contributors in the program and announce word/sentence/definition contributors during the contest. I also want to give away works by the contributors (edited, written, etc) as prizes in the Spelling Bee. If you're going to be at Norwescon 32 and have a copy of your work you'd like to give me, that would be great! Otherwise, I'm very happy to go to the dealers room and purchase whatever I can find.

Thanks again for any help you are able to give. And if you're at Norwescon 32, come on by the Bee! Again, it's going to be from Thursday April 9, from 11PM to midnight, in the Cascade 5 room.


Word: quadrotriticale
Definition: a four-lobed grain, a hybrid of wheat and rye
Origin: English, from Latin, from Star Trek
Sentence: The new intern at the Federation County Fair made a huge mistake when he put the quadrotriticale in the same exhibit as the tribbles.

Word: pon'farr
Definition: The Vulcan mating period, occurring once every seven years.
Origin: Vulcan, from Star Trek
Sentence: "Damn it, Spock," said Kirk. "I don't care if it is pon'farr, I'm not wearing the fake Vulcan ears."

Word: tauntaun
Definition: A furry native pack animal of Ice Planet Hoth; (alternate definition) A warm emergency blanket on a cold, snowy night.
Origin: ? from Star Wars
Sentence: "I thought they smelled bad on the outside," said Han as he sliced open the tauntaun with Luke's lightsabre,

Stephen H. Segalstephenhsegal on April 5th, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
Jeff -- this is AWESOME, and I'm so sorry this is the first Norwescon in three years I can't make!
jeffsoesbe: yeff southparkjeffsoesbe on April 6th, 2009 06:02 am (UTC)
Bummer. I'm hoping it will be fun. If it goes over well, I'll try to do it at other cons. Thanks for the great reaction!

Your logo reminds me that I have a random question for you. I'll send it in LJ message...
Remus Shepherdremus_shepherd on April 5th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)

I'd start here:


'Cavorite' is my favorite, but I'm also fond of 'Thiotimoline'. But if you want to be cruel you can throw 'Caesiumfrankolithicmixialubidiumrixidixidexidoxidroxide' at them. :)
jeffsoesbe: bender applause signjeffsoesbe on April 6th, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
That is a fantastic list, Remus! I did a quick first scan and found many good ones.

Curtis C. Chensparckl on April 6th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
If you can't find a language of origin for "tauntaun," I'd go with "Galactic Basic" (the English of the Star Wars universe).

I think it would be fun to find more obscure references from older books, but you can always backfill with Star Trek:


jeffsoesbe: bender applause signjeffsoesbe on April 6th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
Nice list. I think Klingon might go over better than Bajoran, but I'll give those a shot.

And thanks for the Galactic Basic. If I run short on time, I'll use that.

Thanks! See you Thursday!

- yeff
jeffsoesbe: yeff southparkjeffsoesbe on April 6th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
Turns out there's a Klingon list at the same site: http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Klingon_language. Excellent!

Thanks again for the pointer!
Terri-Lynne DeFinobogwitch64 on April 6th, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)
'said Han as he sliced open the tauntaun with Luke's lightsabre,'

(psst--he said that after he shoved Luke into the carcass. Hey, if you're going to geek out, you gotta do it right!)

What a fantastic idea! Of course it is, you have a fantastically creative mind. Good luck with this!
jeffsoesbe: yeff southparkjeffsoesbe on April 6th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the correction. "said Han as he shoved Luke into the eviscerated carcass of a tauntaun" is even better!

I hope it goes well. Which reminds me, I need to make flyers that I can put up when I arrive at the con!

I will most surely post about the end result!

- yeff