TIME society

This Whimsical New Scrabble Ad Is the Perfect Love Story for Word Nerds

It tells a tale entirely through anagrams

She’s a cab driver; he’s a crab driver. She lives in Tokyo; he lives in Kyoto. Her name is Agostina; his is Santiago.

This whimsical 80-second video, part of a new Scrabble campaign, tells a little love story using some major wordplay. Anagrams are what link these two people and eventually bring them together — when they meet at a costume party, one dressed as a pineapple, the other as an apple pie.

The clip, posted on Mattel Games’ YouTube channel, was created by the agency Lola Madrid.

“The idea of using anagrams was a way to salute the intelligence of avid Scrabble players, but by using a love story, the spot became universal,” Pancho Cassis, executive creative director of Lola Madrid, told Adweek. “This communication was aimed at opening up to a broader audience, specifically younger players and non-players who spend a lot of time online but are seeking out offline experiences.”

Ultimately, according to Cassis, the goal is “to convey that words are magical and powerful, and that they connect us with people.”

Read next: ‘Lolz’ And Thousands Of Other Words Added to Scrabble Dictionary

TIME language

7 Things You Should Know About the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee

TIME's guide to the B-E-S-T week of the year

In the first on-stage round of the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee, only four of 283 kids heard the dreaded ring of the elimination bell. Most breezed through words like ubiquitous, flamenco, autopsy, howitzer and oregano at the front of a giant ballroom outside Washington, D.C. But when the spellers returned for the second on-stage round Wednesday afternoon, some adjustments had clearly been made to thin the flock.

Wearing giant placards and nervous grins, some 13-year-olds navigated the likes of panophthalmitis (inflammation involving tissues of the eyeball) and triumphantly threw their thin limbs in the air. Others held back tears after missing a vowel in the likes of guayabi (a highly valued hard tough wood from South America) and were politely sent off the stage with the same sound used to summon bellhops in fancy hotels.

By Thursday evening, when ESPN broadcasts the finals at 8 p.m. ET, there will be just a dozen spellers left. Here are seven things that will help viewers fully appreciate this harrowing, inspiring American ritual.

Americans are about three times more likely to be struck by lightning in their lifetime than to make it to the national finals. The odds of being zapped by lightning in one’s life are about one in 12,000, according to the National Weather Service. Of the 11 million kids who compete in the bee on some level, only 283 made it to the competition in National Harbor, Md., this year. That’s roughly 0.000026%, or one in 38,869.

There’s an app for that. Scripps, the sponsor of the bee, debuted an app called Buzzworthy this year. When you sign up, you’re automatically assigned five spellers that are essentially your fantasy football team for the competition. They spell words right, you get points. And each has an endearing bio so there’s no way to remain unattached. (Dear Jeffery “Eager to Embrace Tropical Flavors” Thompson: I’m counting on you.)

The process for picking the spelling words is top secret. The officials at Scripps who put on the bee guard their process for developing the word list like nuclear launch codes. There is a word committee, whose members are secret. The sources they use are secret. The qualities they look for are secret. “The nature of how that comes to be is something that needs to be protected,” says Scripps spokesperson Valerie Miller. There are whispers that some word committee members are dictionary officials, while others are former spelling champions themselves.

It is known that words get harder as the competition goes on. Words in the preliminary rounds come from study guides of about 1,500 words that are given to the spellers when they advance to the national finals. But once spellers get to the semi-finals and finals, the words they face could be any of the roughly 472,000 that are in Merriam-Webster’s Third Edition. When the contest comes down to three or fewer spellers in the final, officials advance to a special “championship list.”

There can be up to three co-champions of the bee. Once the spellers have advanced to the championship list of 25 words, there’s no other place to go. If everyone still in the game at that point spells all the words correctly as the officials go through the list, then everyone wins. That’s why there were two co-champions in 2014.

Spellers of South Asian descent have long dominated the bee. For the first time, bee director Paige Kimble recently talked about an obvious but sensitive trend: the spelling domination of Indian-American students. They’ve won the last seven years and all but four of the past 15 years, which led to some ugly comments on social media last year about “real Americans.” Miller says some research into the trend—by academics like Northwestern’s Shalini Shankar—has found that “grit” is the winners’ key attribute. Accomplishment, competition and early literacy are also important in South Asian cultures, Miller says: “When you pair up that love of competition with encouragement and emphasis on education, [spelling bees] are a natural fit.”

The real killer at the bee isn’t nerves; it’s the schwa. There are some obvious characteristics that make words tough to spell, like silent letters (mnemonic), double letters (braggadocio) or single letters where you might expect double letters (sassafras). But the true nemesis of spellers is the schwa, the vowel sound that we hear in words like America, belief and history. The schwa can be rendered as any vowel and even be silent in words like rhyth(ə)m. “The schwa is the richest source of guesses in the final rounds, the most common source of confusion,” says Merriam-Webster’s Peter Sokolowski. “These are championship spellers and that’s the most common error at highest, highest level.”

TIME animals

Texas Grandmother Reunited With Poodle Trapped at Home During Floods

Lena Givens was unable to get to her house where "Tinkerbell" was locked in a kennel

Lena Givens, 84, was at a Houston Rockets game Monday night when the skies opened, submerging multiple counties in record-breaking rains.

The resulting flood that has killed at least 18 in Texas and Oklahoma left the grandmother stranded and unable to get to her house where her poodle Tinkerbell was locked in a kennel.

Just before the end of game, a message flashed on the scoreboard warning fans to stay put due to severe weather outside, NBC News reports.

“I stayed in the lobby of the hotel for at least probably three or four hours,” she told Houston’s KRPC.

When she was able to call a car to get home, she found the road to her neighborhood was impassable. Givens worried about her beloved pet that had been trapped in her flooded house for over 12 hours.

Her grandson Brian Gardner was able to borrow a friend’s boat to reach Givens’s home and look for Tinkerbell.

After hours of worrying, Givens finally got the good news she was hoping for – her dog was safe.

“[Tinkerbell”] was floating on a chair in the living area. She got out of the kennel somehow and she was floating in a chair,” she told the news station.

Watch video of Givens and Tinkerbell reunion below.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME celebrity

You Can Soon Buy Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Action Figures

Broadway Video

Because they are society's true superheroes

Want to recreate the magic of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s beautiful best friendship? Of course you do. Want to pretend they’re both still manning the Weekend Update desk at Saturday Night Live? Duh.

Finally, you’ll be able to do that with these nifty new Tina and Amy action figures, created by toy company Bif Bang Pow!

That’s right, it’s your favorite comedy duo as miniature plastic figurines. They also come with a Weekend Update desk, because obviously.

Sadly, the action figures won’t be on sale until July. They’ll first be available at San Diego Comic-Con, from July 8 to 12, at the Entertainment Earth booth. (You can also pre-order them now for $29.99.)

Try to contain your excitement till July.

Read next: Watch Amy Poehler and Tina Fey Joke About Bill Cosby at the Golden Globes

TIME Food & Drink

Delta Ordered Pizza for Passengers on Delayed Flights

After bad weather grounded or cancelled flights

When inclement weather delayed Delta flights nationwide on Tuesday, the crews ordered pizzas.

Passengers like Riley Vasquez, whose plane to Atlanta got diverted to Knoxville, Tenn., have been sharing pictures of these impromptu “pizza parties” on social media:

The airline experienced more than 100 flights cancellations and more than 650 delays on Tuesday, CNN reported via data from the flight-tracker FlightAware.

What makes a few hour delay of your night flight better? Free pizza! Thanks @delta #MLItoATL #pizza

A photo posted by Jill (@jill_hohnecker) on

Earlier this month, ABC News reported a similar pizza party took place on a Delta flight that was diverted to Charleston after the cabin was enveloped in smoke.

TIME Television

The Ripley Book Series Will Be Adapted for Television

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

Patricia Highsmith's thrillers will come to life again, this time on TV

It’s been more than 15 years since a film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley raked in nearly $130 million at the box office with Matt Damon playing the title role. Now Highsmith’s entire Ripley series—five novels also known as the Ripliad—will be adapted for TV by Television 360, Endemol Shine Studios and the publisher Diogenes.

The remake doesn’t yet have a writer, director or major star attached, and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, its producers will likely wait until talent is locked in to find the series a home.

This is not the first time Highsmith’s work will be adapted for television. The Talented Mr. Ripley, a psychological thriller about a con artist, was adapted for TV in 1956, the year following its publication. Parts or all of the Ripliad have also been adapted for radio and theater.

TIME animals

New York City Judge Hears Arguments Over Rights of Chimpanzees

Steven Wise nonhuman rights court chimpanzees
Richard Drew—AP Steven Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, answers a question outside Manhattan State Supreme Court, in New York, after a hearing on May 27, 2015.

Leo and Hercules, the chimps, weren't present in the courtroom

(NEW YORK) — A New York City judge has heard arguments over the rights of two chimpanzees that advocates hope to free from a state university where they’re kept.

Manhattan Supreme Court judge Barbara Jaffe didn’t make a ruling Wednesday on Leo and Hercules’ fate. But she did entertain nearly two hours of exchanges between a lawyer for the Nonhuman Rights Project and an assistant state attorney general.

Much of the hearing centered on the interpretation of centuries-old legal principles. The chimps didn’t attend.

A lawyer hoping to free the chimps said they’re “autonomous and self-determining beings,” should be granted a writ of habeas corpus and be moved from Stony Brook University to a sanctuary in Florida.

A government lawyer said the case should be dismissed because, among other arguments, the venue isn’t proper.

TIME viral

Watch the Funniest Videos From the Charlie Charlie Challenge

So much screaming

The latest Internet craze is a game called the “Charlie Charlie Challenge” that uses two pencils balanced on a sheet of paper to summon an alleged Mexican demon. It’s become so popular that the hashtag #CharlieCharlieChallenge has been tweeted more than 1.8 million times — and the topic has recently spiked in search on Google.

People — mostly teens — have been sharing clips of their attempts to summon Charlie the demon by asking “Charlie, Charlie are you here?” and waiting to see if their pencil moves toward the words “yes” or “no” scrawled on the paper. The pencils often do move — likely thanks to gravity — which has led to tons of videos of people screaming in disbelief. Other people, however, have taken this challenge less seriously. Here are some of the funniest and most irreverent takes:

TIME movies

San Andreas Was Reviewed By An Earthquake Expert

She reported some factual inaccuracies

The trailer for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new action flick may be literally groundbreaking, but it turns out that San Andreas isn’t entirely realistic. Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, known in some circles as the Earthquake Lady for her expertise in the field, went to the premiere and live-tweeted the entire movie — for science.

Jones used her scientific knowledge to fact-check the movie’s portrayal of The Big One and it appears that Hollywood has taken some liberties with the truth:

You can read all her tweets here, but the overall takeaway of Jones’s tweets is that while San Andreas is not exactly realistic, it is important to prepare for disasters. If you have an emergency plan, take a disaster training course, get a landline, learn to drop, cover and hold on, and create a post-disaster family communication strategy, you can be your own competent, sexy hero, and, hopefully, you won’t need The Rock to save you from an earthquake.

[H/T LAist]

TIME animals

Here Are 3 Baby Goats Wearing Sweaters

You're welcome

The only thing cuter than a video of newborn goat triplets is a video of newborn goat triplets wearing sweaters.

The Nigerian dwarf goat triplets hail from Denmans Critters Farm in Obion County, Tenn., the most northwest corner of the state. Two are female, and the male is the one wearing a blue, yellow and brown sweater in this clip.

The same YouTube channel went viral a few months ago for dressing up a Nigerian dwarf goat named Peppa Lass as Queen Elsa of Arendelle from the hit Disney movie Frozen.

(h/t Laughing Squid)

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