Bee Roots for 2021-09-21

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
11AGrass for hay, or Little Rascal
21A(Bio term) 1 of 2 or more versions of a gene
31APermit, verb
41ASunburn gel from “…vera” plant
51ACool & distant in behavior, adj.; anagram of bath sponge
61AHorrify (his tasteless jokes … me)
72AAsk for a court ruling to be reversed, verb/noun
81A1 of these fruits a day keeps the doctor away
91FFried chickpea balls often served in pita
101FAutumn, noun; or plummet, verb
111FStatistical decrease, or result of slipping while on a ladder; compound
121FCrop field left dormant, adj.
131F♂, slang (young or little…)
141FWhat Old Glory does in the breeze, or what birds do to their wings to take off; verb
161FHopping insect whose bites cause itching in dogs & cats
171FBaby horse or other equine, noun/verb
181LJacket edge that’s folded back
191LNissan electric car; 4 of these on a clover is lucky
201LForceful jump (of faith?), noun/verb
211LUnit of bread, noun; or idle (...around), verb
221LBath sponge
231OEntrails & organs used as food
241OGemstone from Australia, October birthstone
251PSpanish rice, saffron, chicken, and seafood dish
261PTraditional Mexican shelter roofed with palm leaves or branches, esp. on a beach, noun
271PWhite-faced, NOT a bucket
281PFigurative dark cloud, or funeral "bearer"
291PArthropod antenna for touch & taste, or start of medical exam by touch term
301PFather, slang
311PPontiff adj.
321PMechanical component that engages with another component to prevent movement in one direction
332PAnother name for papaya
341PAny of three very large terrestrial pheasants, often raised as ornamental because of their colorful, iridescent plumage (includes longtime NBC mascot)
351PRepeated bell ringing or laughter
361PUrgent request (Mercy!), or court statement of guilt or innocence
381WDish made from batter cooked between two patterned plates, usually part of breakfast, noun; fail to make up one's mind, verb
391WRidge on fabric (corduroy, e.g.) or a ship (gun-…), homophone of large marine mammal (humpback, e.g.)
401WBarrier between rooms, or Pink Floyd album ("The...")
411WStrike or hit very hard
421WRoll around in mud, or indulge "in" emotion (misery, self-pity)
431WArchaic noun for that which is best for someone or something (common-…); remove –THY from end of rich synonym

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.