Bee Roots for 2021-08-13

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
1ACriminal’s excuse
2AExtraterrestrial (“In space no one can hear you scream”)
2BFee to avoid prison, noun; scoop water out of a ship, or abandon, verb
1BCourt guard
1BHead-hugging brimless cap with a button at the crown (propeller optional), NOT a legume
1BStraight, direct course between 2 points, compound (think this puzzle’s name)
1BAcceptance that something is true, esp. religion; noun
1BHoly book (starts with Genesis)
2BPeriod of 2 years, Latin plural
1BStrike someone roughly with a fist, slang; eldest son in "Death of a Salesman, or antagonist in “Back to the Future”
1BLiver secretion, or anger
2BInvoice, or actor Murray
2BRussian pancake
1ECan be described with words
1ESmall, delicate, impish; as a Keebler worker, adj.
1FDon’t pass a test
2FCapable of making mistakes
1FCat adj.
1FMedieval for feudal land or area of control; often has –DOM suffix
1FSmall flute used with a drum in military bands, noun
1FFolder of related papers, or tool for smoothing edges (fingernails, e.g.), noun/verb
1FOf or due from a son or daughter, adj.
2FAdd material until the container or hole is at capacity
2FLast one (…exam, “...Countdown”)
1FImpose a $ penalty (the judge…-ed him $100 for speeding)
1FOrnament at end or top of an object
1FSwing (arms) wildly
1IStupid, silly, ridiculous (…questions or comments); adj.
1IConcave belly button, slang
3LLatin for lips, or lips of vagina
1Leasily and frequently altered; unstable
1LHawaiian island or porch
1LPut something down
1LResponsible by law/legally answerable; likely to do something (he's ... to get upset)
2LPrinted slander, noun
1LBe in a horizontal resting position, or say something false
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
2LA queue, what you wait in for your turn
1LCloth napkin fabric
1NInexperienced person (from French)
1NSpike that’s hammered, noun/verb
1NSmall, tentative chew, verb; or a snack, noun
1NNumber of justices on Supreme Court

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.