Bee Roots for 2021-12-08

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, ...)
11AB4Having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something, adj. (She was … to walk at 14 months)
41AL4Friend (person, country) who joins you for a common purpose in a conflict
21AL5Put (fears) at rest
31AL5Two or more metals combined to make a new one, (brass, steel, etc.); noun/verb
71AR4Creative activity: painting, music, literature, dance, etc
51AR5Ordered series, esp. math
61AR6Steep-sided gully in SW US; Spanish for creek
81AT7Slang 3–word contraction: exclamation of encouragement or congratulations; ends in young ♂
111BA5What you use to hit the ball in games such as baseball or cricket; flying mammal
121BA6Young ♂ who tends the Yankees’ equipment, esp. sticks; compound
101BA7Young ♂ who retrieves orbs in games (tennis, e.g.)
131BL6Reveal a secret by indiscreet talk
141BL6Gelatinous mass, or 1950s alien horror film
151BO5Seabird with colorful feet, or gag "prize"
161BO5Stolen goods (pirate or war...), or slang for ass (shake your…)
181BR4Donkey sound
171BR6Badly behaved child; or a type of sausage (…wurst)
191LA10Place where a chemist might work
201LO5Bldg. entrance area or waiting room
221LO5“Truck” in Britspeak
231LO5Faithful, devoted
232LO7Faithful, devoted
211LO8Southern US yellow pine tree, or SE US tea evergreen
241OA4Grain that is Quaker's specialty
251OR6Spoken (… exam), or by mouth (… surgery), adjective
261OR7Make a speech
271RA5Mass meeting of people for a common cause (pep, political)
281RA5Sewer-dwelling rodent
291RA6Rapid succession of short, sharp knocking sounds, noun/verb; or make someone nervous, worried, or irritated
321RO5Prince or king adj. + adv. (“… flush” in poker)
301RO6Phone with dial, adj., or int’l service org (… Club)
322RO7Prince or king adj. + adv. (“… flush” in poker)
311RO8Move in a circle around an axis or center
331TA5Striped cat with a distinctive M on its forehead
351TA5Add up (keep a running…, or …–Ho! The quarry is in sight)
361TA5Dark, thick, flammable liquid distilled from wood or coal
381TA5Worn & shabby, or of poor quality; Scottish
371TA6Open filled pastry, noun; or sharp taste, adj.
341TA7Dresser with a wardrobe on top, or 24 oz. beer can (more than average height + young ♂)
391TO7The whole amount (sum of numbers, e.g.)
401TR4Use it to carry drinks
411TR4Helen of “The Iliad” home, or oz. for gold & gems
421TY4Newbie, from Latin “recruit”

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.