Hairy problem solved to win US national spelling bee

A 14-year-old has won America’s national spelling bee with the word cymotrichous, which means wavy hair.

Sukanya Roy, from the US state of Pennsylvania, received more than $37,000 in cash and prizes when she took out the title after 20 rounds at the 84th US Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland.

Twelve-year-old Laura Newcombe of Toronto finished second. She was trying to become the first Canadian to win the bee.

Sukanya becomes the fourth consecutive Indian-American to win the bee and the ninth in the past 13 years.

Laura Newcombe was tripped up in the 19th round by the word sorites, a class of paradoxical arguments.

That left Sukanya needing to succeed in the 19th round – which she did with periscii, those who live within a polar circle whose shadows, during some summer days, will move entirely round, falling toward every point of the compass – and then with the final word in the 20th.

A three-time competitor at the bee, Sukanya tied for 12th in 2009 and 20th in 2010.

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