WASHINGTON (AP) As it turned out, Sameer Mishra provided more than just comic relief at the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee. He ended up winning the title.
The 13-year-old from West Lafayette, Ind., who often had the audience laughing with his one-line commentaries was all business when he aced "guerdon" a word that appropriately means "something that one has earned or gained" to win the 81st version of the bee Friday night.
"I don't know about comedy lines, but my parents have been telling me since the beginning that I should always stay calm, cool and collected," said Sameer, who likes playing the violin and video games and hopes one day to be a neurosurgeon.
Sameer, appearing in the bee for the fourth time and a top 20 finisher the last two years, was a crowd favorite throughout the tournament. When told one of his words in the semifinals was a dessert, he deadpanned: "That sounds good right now." He rolled his eyes and muttered "wonderful" when told that one of his words had five different language roots.