Bee Roots for 2021-08-15

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
1ESelect group that’s superior
1ELeave, verb; the door by which you leave, noun
1ESwear word, pangram
1LSingsong accent
1LLow-calorie or low-fat in ad-speak (
1LSmall (Stuart or Chicken…), adj.
1PSmall, rounded, compressed mass (food, buckshot, rabbit dung)
1PBombard (with snowballs), verb; or animal fur, noun
1PThe kind of jury that renders verdicts (from French for small)
1PSmall (French)
2PSlender tube with a bulb, used to transfer or measure small amounts of liquid in a lab; 2 spellings
1PGround-dwelling bird that wags its tail & is named for its song
2TNative Am conical hut, 2 spellings
1TMeans of sending words to a TV, compound
1TPrinters linked by phone before fax machines
1TInform, verb; or Swiss archer William with an overture
1TShort, written message sent by a mobile phone to another one
1TFabric (industry)
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)
1TLong fur scarf, stole or shawl; or a clerical scarf
1TDrink alcohol, verb; or the drink, slang noun
1TName of a book, movie, or job
1TDot above an i or j, or really small amount
1VSoft fabric, developing antler cover, or Lou Reed’s “…Underground” rock band

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.