Bee Roots for 2021-10-20

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
32ABelow 7 on the pH scale (amino …, sulfuric …, hydrochloric …)
41ADo something
51ASomeone who’s hooked on drugs
61AFess up, or let in
71ASurrounded by, preposition
81AA supply of bullets, slang abbreviation
93ASmallest unit of matter, “… Ant” superhero, noun/adjective (… bomb)
101AUnfinished room below roof; garret
111CBean source of Hershey Bars
121CSucculent plant with a thick stem that usually has spines, lacks leaves, and occasionally has brilliantly colored flowers
131C♀ sleeveless undergarment top, slang abbr.
141CClothing that helps you hide, slang abbr.
151C“Hi” or “Bye” in Italian (“… bella”)
161CNoisy 17–year insect
171COutdoor jacket (trench-…)
181CCentral American raccoon
191C1st part of popular soda brand name
201CHot winter drink with marshmallows, or the powder it’s made from
211CConcluding event, remark, or section, especially in music
221CProlonged unconscious state
231CCurly punctuation mark that separates phrases
241DSlang exclamation of frustration (“…Janet” song in “Rocky Horror”); should have an N instead of a doubled central consonant; compound; condemn something to hell
251DFacts & stats, computer info, or Star Trek Next Gen android
261DSingle-celled alga which has a cell wall of silica
271D(Usually singular) formal pronouncements, or adages, Latin plural
282DPerson over-inclined to instruct others
291DThingamajig, slang; ends in “father” nickname
301ISlang phrase particular to a language (“raining cats & dogs”), noun
311IPrayer leader at mosque
321I9th Greek letter, I; or extremely small amount
331MStone paving material; last name of Brit surveyor John Louden
341MNut used in candy from Hawaii
351MTerm of respect for a ♀, or one who runs a brothel; palindrome
361M8 of them were milking in a Xmas carol
371MPermanently injure
383M♀ parent, slang
391MFlaky rock that breaks off in sheets
401MWater ditch surrounding a castle
411OGroup of 8
421TUnderstood without being stated (… agreement), adj.
431TMexican filled tortilla, or “… Bell” restaurant
441TDiplomacy, sensitivity
451TAction planned to achieve a specific end (negotiating …)
461TJapanese & dojo floor mats (畳)
471TSkin “ink”
481TFrog cousin
491TVirtuoso musical piece (Bach’s “...& Fugue in D Minor”)
501TKetchup & ragù fruit
511T♂ feline, compound that starts with a ♂ name (Selleck, Petty, e.g.)

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.