Bee Roots for 2021-12-07

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, ...)
11AN4Soon, poetically
21AP5Sleeveless kitchen smock
31AU6Polar lights (… Borealis)
31AU7Polar lights (… Borealis)
41LL5South American grassy plain
51LO4Borrowed $, noun/verb
61LO4Hang out or droop, as a dog’s tongue
81LO4“Crazy” water bird on Canada $1 coin
91LO4Closed curve
71LO6Move in an ungainly way in a series of clumsy paces or bounds
101NO412:00, midday, 🕛
111NO4In grammar, a person, place or thing
181NO8Relating to the extreme northern or southern parts of the Earth; having a positive or negative charge
121OP4Gemstone from Australia, October birthstone
131OR4Spoken (...exam), or by mouth (, adjective
161PA5Legal term for oral agreement
141PA6Unhealthy appearance with a lack of color
151PA6Room for receiving guests (dated)
171PL4Sound of Alka–Seltzer before the fizz
191PO4Opinion survey, homophone of above (straw, Gallup, e.g.)
201PO4Croquet on horseback
211PO4Swimming venue
221PO4Tire out (I’m …-ed); or defecate, slang
231PO4Lacking $, or worse than ideal
271PO4Smutty images
281PO4Flow rapidly in a steady stream
181PO5Relating to the extreme northern or southern parts of the Earth; having a positive or negative charge
271PO5Smutty images
241PO6Tall, fast-growing tree of north temperate regions
261PO7Person with many friends; TV show with many fans
301PR4Support (… up), verb; on-stage object or ballot initiative abbr., noun
291PR7In grammar, word that refers to people being discussed (I or you, e.g.)
311RO4Horse with 2–colored coat
321RO4Lion “shout”
331RO4What you do to dice, verb; or Tootsie candy & small bread format, noun
331UN6What you do to dice, verb; or Tootsie candy & small bread format, noun
261UN9Person with many friends; TV show with many fans
341UP4Fairy tale-starting preposition (“Once … a time”)
351UP6Furor, turmoil; ends in above

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.