Bee Roots for 2021-07-31

About this site

This site provides clues for a day's New York Times Spelling Bee puzzle. It exists to make it easier for Kevin Davis to take a day off. Most of the clues come from him. After a getting-up-to-speed period, I think I can put the clues together with up to half an hour's work.

The "Bee Roots" approach is to provide explicit clues for root words, not every word. As logophiles, we are pretty good at putting on prefixes and suffixes, changing tense, and forming plurals (including Latin plurals!). So the clues will cover root words, arranged alphabetically by root word, with a count of words in the puzzle that come from that root. For example, if a puzzle includes ROAM and ROAMING, there will be a clue for ROAM and a count of 2. The root may not appear in the puzzle at all; for example, the 2021-07-23 Bee included ICED, DEICE, and DEICED. For such a puzzle, the clue would be for ICE with a word count of 3.

The Bee Roots approach involves judgement sometimes. For example, if a puzzle includes LOVE, LOVED, and LOVELY, how many roots are needed to cover them? LOVE and LOVED share the root LOVE, certainly, but LOVELY is tricky. LOVE is part of its etymology, but by now, the word means "exquisitely beautiful," which is a lot farther from the meaning of LOVE than swithcing to past tense. I'm inclined to treat LOVE and LOVELY as separate roots. You may not agree, which is fine. Another thing we logophiles share is a LOVE of arguing about words on Twitter.

One last complication, until another one pops up: a few roots have multiple spellings, for example LOLLYGAG and LALLYGAG. Depending on the day's letters, and maybe even the editor's whims, one or both could be in the puzzle's answer list. With such roots, you could see a word count of 2, even if there are no applicable prefixes or suffixes.

I will do my best to keep this site up to date and helpful (I hope). Check it out, and tweet feedback Tweet to @donswartwout

Past clues are available here

Today's puzzle

1Having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something, adj. (She was…to walk at 14 months)
1(Bio term) 1 of 2 or more versions of a gene
1Distribute (resources) for a particular purpose
1Sunburn gel from “…vera” plant
3Ask for a court ruling to be reversed, verb + adj. (can be done) + person against whom it’s filed (3 words)
11 of these fruits a day keeps the doctor away
1Talk rapidly in a foolish or excited way (like an infant); homophone of Genesis “Tower of…,” verb
1Infant, slugger Ruth, or pig film
1Genesis “Tower of…,” noun
1Parcel of hay, or actor Christian
1Fast jazz style (“Cowboy…” anime series)
1Car horn sound, noun/verb
1It rings
1Southern pretty ♀ (Scarlett O'Hara, e.g.)
1Cover a profanity with a sound (…out)
1Type of “head” doll that nods when moved
1Italian game similar to lawn bowling
1Thick wire rope (...bridge), San Francisco trolley (, or insulated wire (power or USB...)
1Phone, name, summon, or shout (out)
1Fit to do or achieve a specified thing
1Superhero back covering, or land that juts into water (…Cod)
1Person who’s well-known, slang abbr.
1Prison “room,” or smallest unit of an organism
1Yo-Yo Ma’s instrument
1Repair or make, especially shoes; make or put together roughly or hastily
1Deal effectively with something difficult
1Run away to marry
1Fencing sword
1Tag or sticky paper with info (Avery mailing…)
1Frilly fabric, or shoestring
1Jacket edge that’s folded back
1Forceful jump (of faith?), noun/verb
1Brain section, or part of ear most commonly pierced
1Place where something happens (exotic...)
1Run like a wolf, with bounding strides
1Double reed orchestra-tuning instrument
2Walk back & forth anxiously
1Spanish rice, saffron, & meat dish
1Official residence of a sovereign, archbishop, or other exalted person
1White-faced, NOT a bucket
1So intense (a feeling or atmosphere) as to seem almost physical (a…sense of loss), or can be felt by touch
1Repeated bell ringing or laughter
1Small rock (…Beach golf course near Monterey, CA)
2Skin of a fruit, noun; or to remove it, verb
1Baby bird sound, Easter marshmallow, or a furtive look
1Humanity, or celeb mag with annual “sexiest man”
1A particular position or point in space, noun/verb
1Harmless medicine or procedure prescribed for the psychological benefit of the patient
1Urgent request (Mercy!), or court statement of guilt or innocence
1Commoner, slang insult, from Latin
1Military academy cadet, slang
1What a firefighter slides down
1Francis, Pius, etc. (head of Roman Catholic Church)