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Posted by Jan Freeman, keep until April  September 19, 2006 06:09 PM

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"What do you get when you combine an over-educated populous, beer, and the lure of fabulous prizes?" asks the Harvard Book Store's website, plugging an upcoming spelling bee to benefit the Brattle Film Foundation.

I don't know if that was a test, but even if you can't spell populace, you can enter the open bees -- one for all ages, another for adults -- scheduled for Oct. 5 at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square. The theater, the bookstore, and cosponsor Houghton Mifflin -- publisher of the American Heritage dictionaries -- are coughing up prizes, among them "100 Words to Make You Sound Smart." (There'll be a movie, too, but I don't know where the beer is coming from.)

So if you've always been a spelling-bee spectator, complacently watching as contestants struggled with seiche and haulm, it's time to find out how the other half sweats. Info and tickets here.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

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