Bee Roots for 2021-08-08

The table provides clues for the roots of words in today's NY Times Spelling Bee. You're responsible for prefixes, suffixes, tense changes, plurals, doubling consonants before suffixes, and alternate spellings of roots. The TL;DR about the site comes after the table.

Past clues are available here

Today's puzzle

Table content

wordsroot 1st letterclue
1CPrison “room,” or smallest unit of an organism
1CYo-Yo Ma’s instrument
1CMusic symbol indicating key (e.g., treble, 🎼); French for “key”
1CSplit (chin), adj.
1CSteep rock face (white ones of Dover)
1CMedical facility (health...)
1EWide-ranging tastes, styles, or ideas; adj.
2EVote into office
1ESmall, delicate, impish; as a Keebler worker, adj.
1EDraw out a response, verb
1ESelect group that’s superior
1FPerceive by touch; or experience (emotion)
1FCat adj.
1FCut or knock down (a tree or opponent, e.g.)
1FCloth made by rolling and pressing wool with moisture and/or heat
1FVeg & seed used in cooking, esp. Italian
1FCondition, noun (in fine…); rhymes with whistling teapot
1FFolder of related papers, or tool for smoothing edges (fingernails, e.g.), noun/verb
2FRemove the bones from (fish), verb; or cut of meat, noun
2FAdd material until the container or hole is at capacity
1FRun away from danger, NOT a bug that causes itching
1FWool from sheep, or fabric (jacket), noun; or overcharge, slang verb
1FGroup of ships sailing together, or enema brand
1FMichigan city with tainted water, or stone that makes sparks
1FMove swiftly & lightly, as a bird, e.g. (... about)
1IFrozen water spear from drips
1ITend toward or feel favorably disposed toward, verb; or slope, noun
1IChange the form of a word to express a particular grammatical function or attribute, or vary intonation to express mood, pangram verb (usually with –ION suffix)
1ICause something unpleasant to be suffered by someone (injuries, damage)
1IComputer chip maker; or what spies collect, abbr.
1IBrains, faculty of reasoning & understanding objectively; or a smart person
2L←, remaining (only 1 cookie…), or departed
2LMerciful, not strict (as a judge or parent, e.g.)
1LPre–Easter holiday when you give up meat, noun; or “borrowed” counterpart, verb
1LBean for soup or curry
1LItchy hair parasites
2LNot forbidden by law or custom
1LBank hold on a mortgaged property, NOT tilt
1LCereal Mikey prefers, board game, or “death” antonym
1LWhat a palm reader checks to see when you’ll die, or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” friend assistance; compound
1LRaise up (fork-), not Uber competitor
1LSingsong accent
1LA queue, what you wait in for your turn
1LCloth napkin fabric
1LMainly brown & gray finch with a reddish breast & forehead
1LDryer fluff
1LHoriz. beam across a door or window top
1LLow-calorie or low-fat in ad-speak (
1LSmall (Stuart or Chicken…), adj.
1N“Stinging” plant, noun; or to annoy, verb
1TInform, verb; or Swiss archer William with an overture
1TProtocol for interacting (logging on, chatting) with remote computers
1TThin ceramic wall, counter, flooring, or roofing square
1TCash register or drawer, noun; “up to,” preposition; or prep soil for planting, verb
1TMove into a sloping position, or fight windmills (…at)
2TName of a book, movie, or job
1TDot above an i or j, or really small amount

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.