WEST PALM BEACH — G-l-a-b-r-o-u-s spelled success for a trio of super spellers from Scripps Research Institute and Duffy's Sports Grill.
The three-person team of Alicia Brantley, Becky Mercer and Lisa Huertas correctly spelled their 10th and final word this evening to win the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee at the Harriet Himmel Theatre at CityPlace.
The 20th annual competition was put on by the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County and drew 23 teams.
The Scripps/Duffy's team outlasted runners-up Palm Beach State College and the Gunster law firm with their correct spelling of "glabrous," an adjective that means having an outer layer of skin that is devoid of hairs or down.
Brantley and her teammates conceded they had no idea what the word meant when they began their deliberations, but all agreed initially on the correct spelling.
"We all wrote the same thing, but I had a last-minute panic," said Brantley, a newcomer to the Scripps team. "But we went with our first inclination."
It was the second spelling title for Mercer and Huertas, who were on the bee's winning team two years ago.
The Palm Beach State College team spelled nine words correctly before being tripped up with "discalced," which means barefoot.
Gunster missed "noosphere," a noun that is defined as a realm of human consciousness and mental activity.
Tonight's event is expected to raise about $45,000 to $50,000 in entry fees and sponsorships for the literacy coalition, said Darlene Kostrub, its executive director.
Companies paid $1,000 for a team to participate and reserve a table at the competition.
"The whole point is for fun and to raise funds for literacy," Kostrub said of the competition. "But some of the teams are definitely competitive."
Northern Trust and Friends of the Palm Beach County Library System shared the Spirit Award.
The night's final five words? Bibliognost, cytolysis, Glabrous, noosphere and discalced.
One person will win a three-year lease on a 2013 Honda Civic Lx Sedan automatic.
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