DAYTON, OH—Grumbling in quiet disbelief as he watched a 12-year-old struggle through the third syllable of “molluscivorous,” former Scripps Spelling Bee champion Alex Vinay spent Thursday afternoon sitting in front of the TV and mouthing bitterly along with current Scripps contestants. “Come on, seriously? It’s so clearly a Latin root, dipshit,” said Vinay to himself, rolling his eyes and shaking his head at the struggles of eventual runner-up Naysa Modi, 12, of Frisco, TX while mopping up a spilled Miller High Life with a faded Scripps 2012 Official Participant T-shirt that he had long since outgrown. “Back when I was in the Bee, they actually worked to make it a challenge. Now? It’s like the whole Scripps organization’s gone right down the shitter. I mean, look at this kid—you really need ‘lugubrious’ used in a sentence? Twice? You want the judges to come onstage and wipe your ass for you, too? Fucking moron.” At press time, Vinay had reluctantly torn himself away from the competition as his mother called him upstairs for dinner.

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