''We want to commend him for his utter honesty,'' said the chief judge at this week's National Spelling Bee. And so did everyone else, it seemed, when young Andrew Flosdorf announced that he had spelled a word wrong even though, as they heard it, he was correct. The episode may have introduced the word ''echolalia'' to more people than in its entire previous history.
As for Andrew, he simply said, ''I didn't want to feel like a slime.'' A sentiment not to be confined to spelling bees.