Bee Roots for 2021-09-13

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

clue #words coveredroot 1st letterclue
11AHaving the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something, adj. (She was…to walk at 14 months)
21AFriendly, good-natured, easy to talk to
31ACriminal’s excuse
41ALine about which a body rotates (the Earth revolves around its ... once every 24 hours)
51BRum sponge cake, or Ali & his 40 thieves
61BTalk rapidly in a foolish or excited way (like an infant); homophone of Genesis “Tower of…,” verb
71BInfant, slugger Ruth, or pig film
81BGenesis “Tower of…,” noun
91BBewilder or perplex
102BFee to avoid prison, noun; scoop water out of a ship, or abandon, verb
111BCourt guard
121BParcel of hay, or actor Christian
131BWhere Cinderella lost her slipper
141BCow meat
152BHappen to someone (said about something bad)
161BAcceptance that something is true, esp. religion; noun
171BIt rings
181BSouthern pretty ♀ (Scarlett O'Hara, e.g.)
191BHoly book (starts with Genesis)
201BStrike someone roughly with a fist, slang; eldest son in "Death of a Salesman, or antagonist in “Back to the Future”
211BLiver secretion, or anger
222BInvoice, or actor Murray
231BReveal a secret by indiscreet talk
241FShort story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral
251FCapable of making mistakes
261FWeak (…-minded), adj.
271FRepair, verb/noun; fasten securely in a particular position
281FSoft, loose flesh on a person’s body; fat
291FBend or become bent (said about a joint), verb/noun
301IWild Alpine goat
311LTag or sticky paper with info (Avery mailing…)
323LLatin for lips, or lips of vagina
331Leasily and frequently altered; unstable
341LResponsible by law/legally answerable; likely to do something (he's ... to get upset)
352LPrinted slander, noun
361LBe in a horizontal resting position, or say something false

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.