Bee Roots for 2021-08-02

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. There may be some startup problems, but long term I think I can put the clues together with no more than half an hour's work.

The "Bee Roots" approach is to provide explicit clues for root words, not every word. This is similar to what Kevin Davis does, but without information about parts of speech As logophiles, we are pretty good at putting on prefixes and suffixes, changing tense, and forming plurals (including Latin plurals!). The clues cover root words, arranged alphabetically by root word, with a count of words in the puzzle that come from each 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 to @donswartwout Tweet to @donswartwout

Many thanks to Kevin Davis, whose 4,500-word clue list made this possible.

Past clues are available here

Today's puzzle

2Having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something, adj. (She was…to walk at 14 months)
1Criminal’s excuse
1Put (fears) at rest
1Friend (person, country) who joins you for a common purpose in a conflict
3Make use of (…yourself of), or use (to no…)
1Rum sponge cake, or Ali & his 40 thieves
1Fee to avoid prison, noun; scoop water out of a ship, or abandon, verb
1(Put a) worm on a fishing hook; verb/noun
1Where Cinderella lost her slipper
1What you use to hit the ball in games such as baseball or cricket; flying mammal
1Polish flat bread roll topped with chopped onions
2Reveal a secret by indiscreet talk
1Make a sound like a sheep, goat, or calf; slang
3Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1easily and frequently altered; unstable
1Non-cleric + non-clerical
1Molten rock from a volcano
1Responsible by law/legally answerable; likely to do something (he's ... to get upset)
1Illumination (Let there be…); noun/verb
1Exist, verb; or not on tape (TV show), adj.
1Striped cat with a distinctive M on its forehead
1Indian small drum pair; NOT dining room furniture
1Dogs wag this hind appendage
1Of greater than average height, adj.
1Add up (keep a running…, or …–Ho! The quarry is in sight)
1Ankle bone
1Worn & shabby, or of poor quality; Scottish
2Shin bone
1Move into a sloping position, or fight windmills (…at)
2Capable of working successfully/feasible; (biology) capable of surviving or living successfully
1Small glass container (…of poison), NOT despicable
1Large & luxurious country house (Roman…)
3Essential, or lively (…signs)