Spelling is not always easy.

But 20 three-person teams gave it their best effort last week at the 29th Annual Literacy Council of Alaska BizBee. And in the process, they raised an estimated $20,470 for the agency.

The Literacy Council of Alaska promotes literacy for people of all ages in the Interior. The organization provides student-centered tutoring and classes for adults in reading, writing, math, English as a second language, computer literacy and other life skills.

Many of the teams participate every year.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, which has fielded a team for all 29 years and sponsors the event, placed second in 2000 and 2016. This year, the team struck out early with the word “tinnient” (having a clear or ringing quality). DOWL Engineering’s team The Sliding Rulers struck out on the word “citole” (a small flat-backed lute of late medieval times). And the Food Bank Buzzers, sponsored by Krystin Bogan had their spelling balloon popped when they misspelled the word “ergataner” (a male ant that resembles a worker).

Tanana Chiefs Conference team Native Northographers stumbled on the word “Ducula” (a genus of large coppery brown or black and white pigeons).  The Co-Op Market’s Two Workers and a Drone misspelled “pledget” (a compress or small flash mass usually of gauze or absorbed cotton that is laid over a wound or into a cavity to apply medication, exclude air, retain dressings or absorb the matter discharged).

The words sound easy when you are looking at them on paper, but they are not so easy to spell from pronunciations. Definitions and origins sometimes help.

Each team was allowed four spectators at a cheering table and all spectators were invited to compete in an audience spelling test. Both winners were from the Noel Wien Library table — Sabrina Kiele and Alyson Rigby.

First place this year went to Sam I Am from Tri-Valley School in Healy. Second place was awarded to The Word Nerds from the FNSB Department of Community Planning. Third-place winners were Los Deletreadores from the UAF English Department.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com. Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.