EXTRA: Lingo Tournament of Champions:
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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

Over the past year, the best and the brightest spellers of five-letter words were invited for one final shot at a Suzuki Verona. What follows is the road to the grand prize in the Lingo Tournament of Champions.

Chico Alexander
news editor

Quarterfinal - Game 1

Yellow: Jessica (waitress) and Scott (hotel clerk), friends
Red: Tatum (substitute teacher) and Greg (graphics designer), couple

Jessica and Scott strike first with SKUNK for 25, parlaying into Lingo for 50 more. Score is 75-0, yellows. Tatum and Greg get BURNT by a red ball, but still score 25. They get control back with FRUIT and TWINS, but draw red again. Jessica and Scott capitalize with LEVEL. Tatum and Greg steal AGENT to tie the game at 100. And they draw their third red ball, and that's where round 1 ends. Three more go into the drum after break.

Jessica and Scott come up red after getting WORRY. Tatum and Greg Lingo from RIGHT thanks to a ? ball to take the lead, 250-150. Jessica and Scott get ZESTY for the draw, but they pull another red ball! But they get the tie and the draw back thanks to GOODS. They follow up with SNACK, but no Lingo yet... Doesn't matter, as Jessica and Scott win it, 300-250.

Armed with two bonus letters, Jessica and Scott get OFFER, LOVED, STAKE, TUNES, BEAST, and CRATE for six Bonus Lingo balls. They'll get the Harrah's vacation if they draw 19 off the bat. Scott's hand is in the drum already... but it come up with 17. But they do score another $5000 for a total of $10,000 so far.

Quarterfinal - Game 2

Yellow: Tim and Catherine, friends/students
Red: Keri and Vanessa, friends/immigration attorneys

Tim and Catherine let out MOANS of delight for 25 points, but come in CLOSE contact with a red ball. Keri and Vanessa score their first 50 off of FUZZY and DRAGS, POUNDing another 75 more for a Lingo, giving them a 125-50 lead. Tim and Catherine answer back with WORST for 25, and a recovered TUNED after Keri and Vanessa misspell it with an R at the end (spelling counts). Reds still lead, 125-100.

Tim and Catherine pull back into the lead with GRAVY for 50 and a Lingo for 100. Yellows lead it, 250-125. Keri and Vanessa SLIDE back into the game with 50, but a red ball HURTS. Tim and Catherine get METAL and AWAKE, and that's game called. Yellows win it, 350-225.

Given two bonus letters, Tim and Catherine get CHECK, ROCKY, ZONED, TAKEN, and STOLE for five Bonus Lingo balls. Looks like 13 will get the vacation. Not going to happen this time, but they do get another $500 for their trouble. That puts the two at $5500.

Quarterfinal - Game 3

Yellow: Jill (realtor) and Shannon (ad sales assistant), friends
Red: Ben (hotel auditor) and Josh (soundboard operator/production assistant), friends

Jill and Shannon STUNT for 25, but Ben and Josh, whom you remember as the guys with the Chuck Woolery shrine, steal WACKY. They parlay the steak into CRISP, HEADS... and a red ball. Ben and Josh steal control back with EXPEL to Lingo. Reds lead it, 150-25. Jill and Shannon get LEVER with their play. But they also draw red, putting the score at 150-50, reds, at the half.

Ben and Josh steal QUITS for 50, following up with BUMPY and a red ball. Jill and Shannon get GIFTS, VALVE, and a Lingo to tie it up at 250. Ben and Josh pull ahead one more time with NAMES. Jill and Shannon tie it back up with PHONY. Ben and Josh pull ahead AGAIN. And draw a red ball... again, but it doesn't matter, because they get the game, 350-300.

Given two bonus letters, Ben and Josh get CROWD, BIRTH, SHARP, FABLE, ITEMS, AISLE, and KNELT for seven Bonus Lingo balls. Looks like a given, but can they get 52 for the vacation? Josh picks up 58. But Ben follows up with the Lingo for another $5000.

Quarterfinal - Game 4

Yellow: Jessica (nonprofit researcher) and Jonathan (carpenter), siblings
Red: Randy (culinary arts student) and Mike (recording studio engineer), friends

Jessica and Jonathan get DRUGS for 25, but they draw red afterwards. They gets the draw back after stealing COCKY, but get the stopper again. One more left in their drum. They get the draw again with LABEL, BREAD, JOINT, GRIPE, and the Lingo to take a 200-0 lead going into the half.

Randy and Mike are finally on the board with HANDS. Hands in the drum... Nothing. Jessica and Jonathan steal IDIOT, and then TRADE in for a Lingo, giving them a 400-50 lead. Randy and Mike get ORGAN and a ? ball, but they can't do anything with it. That's the game, and it goes to Jessica and Jonathan, 400-100.

Given three bonus letters, Jessica and Jonathan get ALBUM, THIGH, CLOUD, EVERY, PANIC, SLAPS, REACT, and HATES for eight Bonus Lingo balls. Another guaranteed $5000 in the bank, but 43 will get the vacation. Jessica gets 37. They do draw Lingo, though, to win another $5000.

Now to the SEMIS!

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