Bee Roots for 2021-08-03

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

1Extramarital dalliance
1“Swear” alternative in an oath
1Archaic var. of list word: legal term for public brawl
1Tinker Bell, e.g.
1Body part upon which you sit
1Flour or meal made of cereal grains, nuts, or starchy roots; actor Dennis
1Place for growing crops
1Hard (tofu) or unmoving
1Become worn at the edge (cloth) or tip (rope), verb; or a battle, noun
2Monk (Tuck of “Robin Hood”) + place they live (add a letter)
1On condition
1The state of being well known for some bad quality or deed (this day will live in ...)
2Not physically or mentally strong, especially through age or illness
1The Italian Mob
1Annoy slightly, verb (it’s usually an –ED adj.)
1Inexperienced person (from French)
1African palm tree, or its fiber in hats, mats, & baskets
1Technical verb meaning to form branches, used commonly as a noun with –CATIONS to mean consequences of action
1Short repeated phrase in pop & jazz (guitar)
1Undesirable people, overflow room on “Ellen"