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From The NY Times' 'Spelling Bee' to orthography, a look at all things spelling

Melodie Loya stands in front of a microphone on stage at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland in 2019.
Alex Wong
Melodie Loya of Bainbridge, New York, tries to spell the word “madrague” during the fifth round of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Loya spelled “madrague” correctly.

This hour Colin and his guests school us on spelling — what it is, why it matters, and why some of us actually find it fun. There will be a test.


  • Peter Sokolowski: Editor at large at Merriam-Webster. He contributed definitions to the brand-new Seventh Edition of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary and has just been made a member of the Word Panel for the Scripps National Spelling Bee
  • Richard Gentry: Education consultant and a former university professor, reading center director, and elementary school teacher. He has most recently published the spelling-book series Spelling Connections: A Word Study Approach for grades 1-6
  • Deb Amlen: Crossword columnist and senior staff editor of the crossword column “Wordplay” for The New York Times. She also writes the weekly “Diary of a Spelling Bee Fanatic” column.

The Colin McEnroe Show is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode!

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Colin McEnroe, Lily Tyson, Jonathan McNicol, Taylor Doyle, Jacob Gannon, and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.

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Jennifer LaRue is a freelance writer, editor, publicist, and producer. She’s written about health and travel for The Washington Post, published four children’s picture books, and hosted hundreds of virtual author talks during the pandemic. She’s a little bit giddy about producing for The Colin McEnroe Show.
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