And that's sort of important when you're running a spelling bee.
Hay was the bee master Tuesday at The 45th Annual U-T San Diego Countywide Spelling Bee, which was halfway through its tense, two-student final round when Hay realized he was about to run out of spelling words.
Hay says it hasn't happened in his 33 years as master. His 500-word supply is usually plenty, but the 92 middle-schoolers exhausted them, from "macaroni" to "obnubilate."
He had to call a recess and scrounge up some spare words to finish.
Allison Grygar won by correctly spelling "prostrate" and "gurgle" when her opponent botched "scrimmage."
She'll compete in May's Scripps National Spelling Bee, where presumably words will be plentiful.