Bee Roots for 2021-08-23

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
1DNot-too-smart person (compound)
1DArchaic word whose only surviving use is “by [means] of” (hard work)
1D“Same here” or “same as above”
1DThe main business or commercial area of a city (also, Petula Clark hit song)
1IDunce (Green Day’s “American…” album, & show)
1IEnter (go…the room), preposition
1MCentral part of a large city (in Manhattan, roughly between 34th and 59th)
1MBreath candy or its flavor or plant source, noun; or create coins, verb
1MCatcher’s glove, or Sen. Romney
1MIrrelevant, in law (it’s a...point)
1MAction by which things change position, or parliamentary proposal; noun
1MShort phrase encapsulating beliefs of an institution (Marines’ “Semper Fi”)
1NStupid person, compound rhyming insult
1NVague idea, or small sewing accessory
1OLeave out, verb
1OPreposition when mounting an animal or boarding a large vehicle
1TLacking courage or confidence, adj. (…as a mouse)
1TShade of color, noun; or darken car windows, verb
1TNew Zealand small bird (Magnum, P.I star 1st name + breast, slang)
1TAnimated film or character, slang abbr. (car-…)
1TShort horn sound; noun/verb
1TPlace smaller than a city & larger than a village
1TIdentical bro or sis
1TSilly person (also, start of a social media platform name)
1WLiterary noun & adj. for “custom” (as was her..., he was…to), or contraction of “will not”
1WChinese dumpling (…soup), starts with above
1WSlang exclamation of elation, or Amazon daily deals site

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.