Bee Roots for 2021-11-20

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. The Halloween, 2021 redesign improved the usability, I hope.

Past clues are available here

Today's puzzle

Table content

root #answers coveredanswer's first two lettersanswer's lengthclue for root (answer may need prefix, suffix, tense change, alt spelling, ...)
11EP4Fencing sword
21GO4Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand, or unpleasant messy gel
31PE4Baby bird sound, Easter marshmallow, or a furtive look
41PE5The kind of jury that renders verdicts (from French for small)
51PE6Small (French)
61PE8Split hairs, nit-pick, quibble (archaic, pangram)
71PF4Sound of contempt or disbelief
81PI4Copper or plastic tube that carries water, noun; or to move liquid in one, verb; decorate a cake with icing
91PI5Slender tube with a bulb, used to transfer or measure small amounts of liquid in a lab; 2 spellings
101PI5Ground-dwelling bird that wags its tail & is named for its song
91PI7Slender tube with a bulb, used to transfer or measure small amounts of liquid in a lab; 2 spellings
111PO4Author of verse
121PO4Bouncy “stick”
131PO4Exclamation of suddenness (…—it’s gone!), or Brit slang for a gay ♂
141PO4Tire out (I’m …-ed); or defecate, slang
151PO4Francis, Pius, etc. (head of Roman Catholic Church)
161PO6(Historical or British) sweet or pretty child, or voodoo doll
171PO6Meat and vegetables baked in a deep dish with top crust (compound)
181TE5Native Am conical hut; 2 spellings
181TE6Native Am conical hut; 2 spellings
191TI6Opening of a basketball game (compound)
201TI6Long fur scarf, stole or shawl; or a clerical scarf
211TI6Walk quietly with your heels off the floor (compound)
221TI6Rhyming compound adj. that means “of the very best quality” (in … condition) (compound)
231TO4Small grayish slender-bodied shark, or mango tree grove; homophone of grayish-brown color

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.