Bee Roots for 2021-10-04

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
22APlace of study or training
31ATrendy smoothie berry
43ABelow 7 on the pH scale (amino…), noun + adj. (2 words)
61AAssistant to an important person, esp. military or political (…-de-camp), noun
71APoint at a target
81ASurrounded by, preposition
92COne who carries golf clubs
101C♀ sleeveless undergarment top, slang abbr.
111CNoisy 17–year insect
122DMake up one’s mind
131DKilling of a god, noun
141DJeweled crown or headband worn as a symbol of sovereignty
153DSpotted cubes you roll, noun; or chop into cubes
161DCease to live
171DFaintly lit, adjective/verb
181DCoin worth 10 cents
191EWater swirl, NOT clothier Bauer
203IFrozen water
211IThought or suggestion (here’s a new…), noun
221IPrayer leader at mosque
231IOccurring right this instant (…gratification); or nearest in relation (only…family allowed), adj.
241MNut used in candy from Hawaii
251M8 of them were milking in a Xmas carol
262MPermanently injure
271MMass communication
281MSoldier who treats wounded
291MFlaky rock that breaks off in sheets
301M3 blind rodents in rhyme
321MComputer music protocol, calf-length skirt, or noon in French
332MSilent performer
341MParrot someone’s speaking & mannerisms, verb; or the person doing it, noun

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.