Bee Roots for 2021-08-04

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

1Phallus-shaped sex toy
11–way semiconductor with 2 terminals
1Extinct bird; or idiot, slang
2Pineapple brand, noun; or distribute (…out portions of food)
2Small human figure toy such as Barbie, noun; or get all dressed up for a party, verb
1Move on a mobile platform, for example a movie camera
2Scribble or draw absentmindedly
1Satan’s pit; an oppressive or unbearable place; compound noun
1Phone greeting
1Use a long-handled gardening tool with a thin metal blade
1Word I’ve never heard used except ending in –Y or –UM—give a false impression or act insincerely, verb
1Grasp in your hands, or wait “on…” (on a call with tech support, e.g.)
2Golf ball target (get a…-in-one), noun + adj. (think Swiss cheese)
3“Little Red Riding…” noggin covering
1Column of weathered rocks, or black magic; rhyming word
2“Peter Pan” Captain…, or what snags a fish
1Punk rocker Billy; “American…” TV singing contest; or public figure you worship (…-ize)
1A friendly or slightly condescending form of address, slang
1Greek 1,000 prefix; also an abbr. for 1,000 grams of weight
1Egyptian black eyeliner powder
1Crazy or eccentric person, NOT a chef
1Vein of metal ore (mother…)
2Hang out or droop, as a dog’s tongue
2Direct one’s gaze toward someone or something, verb/noun
1Viscous liquid used for lubrication, noun/verb; (food) a fat that's liquid at room temperature
1Having lived for a long time
1Mixture, or spicy Spanish stew, NOT margarine
1Skateboard jump, or Stan’s slapstick partner