Sensational Spelling Bee

Sep 12, 2013
Originally published on September 2, 2015 11:30 pm

Companies and brand names sometimes contain an intentionally misspelled word, and this is known as "sensational" spelling. For example, the word "Blue" in "Blu-ray" purposely leaves out the 'e.' Host Ophira Eisenberg leads a husband-and-wife pair of contestants through a round full of these types of words, in what we could call a 'misspelling-bee.'

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On our stage right now, we have Virginia Roberts and Grant Roberts. Welcome to ASK ME ANOTHER.


EISENBERG: You guys are visiting from Seattle, and I take it perhaps you are married with the same last name?

VIRGINIA ROBERTS: We'll see how it goes.


EISENBERG: Virginia, you are an online dating coach, is that correct?

ROBERTS: That is correct.

EISENBERG: But what's the number one tip you give people when writing their online ad?

ROBERTS: Don't follow the rules that the system gives you. Like don't necessarily fill out the fields answering the questions that you are asked. And feel free to just omit answers if you think they're wildly inappropriate like a lot of the OKCupid match questions are. You don't have to - this is not a deposition, so just do what you want.

EISENBERG: Do it however you want, individualize it.


EISENBERG: Yeah, right, that's good. Right, take control. Nice. Grant, you write the dialogue and the onscreen text for video games?

GRANT ROBERTS: That's true, yes I do.

EISENBERG: What are...?

ROBERTS: I'm working on an unannounced project that involves a lot of fun chars to write, and yeah...

EISENBERG: Can you give me one line of dialogue from it?

ROBERTS: I think my favorite line of dialogue actually comes from a tree, and it's just ellipses.



ROBERTS: It's like the notes you don't play in jazz, that's kind of like - that's not true at all. That's not true.

EISENBERG: You're deep, man. You're deep, Grant. Our next game is called Sensational Spelling Bee. Have you ever noticed how some brands and titles have intentionally misspelled words to make them stand out, for example the word blue in Blu-ray is spelled B-L-U. This is called sensational or divergent spelling.

So in this round I'll give you a word and use it in a sentence. You will have to give me the intentional misspelling of the word as it's used in the sentence. Let's give it a shot. Fruit, as in the two-year-old spilled his Froot Loops all over the table.


EISENBERG: Virginia.

ROBERTS: Froot Loops. Oh, I'm sorry, F-R - you said that one, just helping out. F-R-O-O-T.

EISENBERG: Exactly, that is right.


EISENBERG: I don't know if it's because they legally couldn't use fruit in its proper spelling, I'm not sure.

ROBERTS: Probably.

EISENBERG: Cheese, as in I spent Friday night at home alone watching "The Notebook" and eating an entire box of Cheez-Its.


EISENBERG: Virginia.


EISENBERG: That is right.


ROBERTS: I've never done that, never.

EISENBERG: Yeah, you could have also just spelled the word lonely I think would've worked. Now that would be something that I shouldn't put on my online profile, right?

ROBERTS: You'd be surprised. People respond well to humor, I think, self-deprecating humor. Everybody (unintelligible).

EISENBERG: What if that's not humor?


ROBERTS: They don't have to know that.

EISENBERG: Inglorious as in I doubt the historical accuracy of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."




EISENBERG: Yes, that is correct.


EISENBERG: Sci-fi, as in I was up all night watching a "Twilight Zone" marathon on the SyFy channel.




EISENBERG: Yes, and you say that angrily, which I enjoy.


EISENBERG: But that is correct.

ROBERTS: Through gritted teeth.

EISENBERG: Numbers as in I couldn't believe what happened in that episode of the CBS drama "NUMB3RS."


EISENBERG: Virginia. No?

ROBERTS: I'm going to take a stab. N-U-M-B-3-R-S.



EISENBERG: Happiness, as in I thought Jaden Smith was even better than his dad Will in "The Pursuit of Happyness."


EISENBERG: Virginia.


EISENBERG: Yes, exactly, well done.


EISENBERG: This is your last clue, Dog, as in I had a lovely evening at the symphony with my charming companion, the rapper formerly known as Snoop Dogg.


EISENBERG: Virginia.


EISENBERG: That is correct.


EISENBERG: Mary Tobler, how did our married contestants do?

MARY TOBLER: They did great. Virginia is the champ for this round.

EISENBERG: Well done, Virginia.

ROBERTS: Thank you.


EISENBERG: Grant, great job. Give your wife a kiss. She'll be moving on to our final round at the end of the show. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.