Bee Roots for 2021-09-15

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

clue #words coveredroot 1st letterclue
11AGarlic mayonnaise, from French for garlic
21AMetal support for fireplace wood (firedog)
31ANon–Apple phone OS, or humanoid robot (do they dream of electric sheep?)
41AOpera solo
51ADry (climate or land), adj.
61ASeed covering
71DWhat you turn on a rotary phone or radio knob
81DPhallus-shaped sex toy
91DPickle spice
101DArab $, not supper
111DFlintstones pet, or T. Rex family abbr.
121DAlpine peasant woman's dress
131DSpike hammered into a divider between rooms (dead as a ...)
141DWhat sink water goes down
151DPower tool with bits for making holes, or practice for an emergency (fire…); noun
161DStar Wars robot (R2D2, C3PO, BB–8), or last syllable of Google phone OS (An-…)
171IPunk rocker Billy; “American…” TV singing contest; or public figure you worship (…-ize)
181INot outside
191INot on the coast
201IDecorate something by embedding pieces of a different material in it, flush with its surface
211IProgress (make), usually plural noun, contains street synonym
221IAtom or molecule with a net electric charge
231IElement Fe (number 26), or hot clothes presser, noun/verb
241LAnimal or criminal den
251LHawaiian island or porch
261LSheep (wool) oil, used as skin moisturizer
272LPut something down
281LSomeone who doesn’t tell the truth
291LRoaring “...King” animal that travels in a pride
301L₺ or ₤, Turkish or old Italian $
311LSex organ region of body (fruit of my…s); anagram of “…King” animal
321NLowest point, rock-bottom, depths; or below the observer in astronomy
331NGreek water nymph, or dragonfly larva
341NSpike that’s hammered, noun/verb
351N“Black” in French; or dark mystery genre (film…)
361N1 followed 30 zeroes; Latin 9 prefix
371OMixture, or spicy Spanish stew, NOT margarine
381OVeg that makes you cry when cut
391OMake someone a priest
401ORelating to a thing's position in a series
411RModern tire design; or arranged like spokes of a wheel, adj. + adv.
421RUnit of angular measure of a ○
431RAM/FM music & talk device in car & home
441RDistance from a point on a circle to the center
451RSudden attack, as in “air” or police;” or insect spray
461RWhat a train travels on, or what you hold on stairs
471RTrains & tracks, compound noun; ends in below (“I’ve been working on the…”)
481RLiquid precipitation
491RHindu queen, anagram of above
501R$ in Iran, Oman, & Yemen
511RSmall stream
521RTough outer skin of certain fruit, especially citrus
531RStir up mud or trouble (…-ed the waters)

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.