I can't help asking myself why the Times Spelling Bee even exists.
Also, there is a supplementary question about why the site has a very annoying and startling **loud** graphic, but hey, let's do one thing at a time.
The main reason why I think there shouldn't be a Times (or any other UK publication) spelling bee is that we are not American.
Now, some of my best friends / neighbours blah blah blah, but I'm English. Not in Nick Griffin way, just that I like it when you go to a different place and it's, well, different.
So I used to like going to New York because the shops were different and the people spoke with an accent and said cute parallel-world things.
Now, NY is full of the Gap and Bobbi Brown and Urban Outfitters, and so is London. And even though I used to get my curly girl haircare elixir from Devachan (I go to Keith at the 560 Broadway one), I can order it online even if it costs a fortune and takes forever (post-strike permitting) to arrive.
(And believe me, I've looked into taking a European franchise).
Now, people in London ask for the check in restaurants. And take cabs.
So, it's almost like, what's the point of going somewhere else if it feels like home? Or what's the point of being home if it's so internationally homogenised. The nuances of the world seem to have... faded away.
And a spelling bee in the UK? Well, that's just... I mean, it's all well and good James Harding tell us that spelling is important and learning to spell can be "frustrating perplexing and bewildering" (er, James, think there's a comma missing there) but bee isn't even (I'm guessing) in the OED, with your meaning, anyway.
Also, I think someone has told James Harding that you need less punctuation on the internet. Yes, but not that much less.
I see the truth. Some thrusting young bizdev exec thought this would be a way to "extend the brand online" and "partner with new partners" (aka make some more money, not that this is a bad thing), and make sure children in Junior school had heard of the Times. But a black and yellow site? For a spelling bee? Just a little bit too alpha-round, for my liking.
All in all, it feels a little like it's just not cricket, in some strangely perplexing way.