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PHOENIX -- Christopher O'Connor of Tucson misspelled his first word Thursday at the National Spelling Bee semifinals, but remains active.

The Arizona state champion, 13, was the first of the 42 spellers out of the blocks and was confronted with the word "pultaceous." The definition announced on national television was "with the consistency of porridge."

The scores from the onstage semifinal rounds in suburban Washington were to be combined with a computer and vocabulary test taken Wednesday night to determine a dozen or so finalists, so O'Connor has a chance to stay in the hunt.

According to the bee blog, when pronouncer Dr. Jacques Bailly asked if he was ready, O'Connor said, "Maybe."

The seventh-grader was one of two Arizonans at the competition. Samuel Yeager, 14, of Chinle, was ousted Wednesday.

The spellers came from all 50 states as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, China, Ghana, Italy, American Samoa, the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The winner will take home more than $30,000 in cash and prizes. The finals are Thursday evening.

KTAR Newsroom,

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