Bee Roots for 2021-09-23

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

clue #words coveredroot 1st letterclue
11AAfrican or Australian wattle tree
21ATrendy smoothie berry
31ANorth Pole adj. (...Circle or Ocean)
41AOpera solo
52ALarge open-air or skylight covered space surrounded by a building, common in ancient Roman houses; an upper cavity of the heart
61AUnfinished room below roof; garret
71CSucculent plant with a thick stem that usually has spines, lacks leaves, and occasionally has brilliantly colored flowers
81C♀ sleeveless undergarment top, slang abbr.
91C“Around” when used before a year, Latin
101CClosed electrical path (breaker), or ○ journey with same start & end
111CCloud forming wispy streaks (“mare's tails”) at high altitude
121CTree genus that includes lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit, or the fruit of those trees
131CFault-finder (“everyone’s a…”), or arts & dining reviewer
141CElement with atomic number 96, named for a Nobel prize winning couple
151IPrayer leader at mosque
161MPermanently injure
171MFlaky rock that breaks off in sheets
181MParrot someone’s speaking & mannerisms, verb; or the person doing it, noun
191MCatcher’s glove, or Sen. Romney
201RIndian yogurt veg dip
211TUnderstood without being stated (...agreement), adj.
221TAction planned to achieve a specific end (negotiating ...)
231TJapanese rich, naturally fermented soy sauce
241TJapanese & dojo floor mats (畳)
251TJeweled, ornamental ½ crown
261TCharacteristic, often genetically determined (left-handedness, e.g.)
271TDeeply disturbing experience, or physical injury
281TNeaten (hair) by snipping off ends
291THydrogen radioactive isotope: ³H
301TAll together, musically (Italian); Little Richard “Wop bop a loo bop” song
311USavory taste, noun, from Japanese
321UMedical adj. for pee (…acid)

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.