Bee Roots for 2021-12-10

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, ...)
11AB5Head monk, perhaps at Downton
21BA4Rum sponge cake, or Ali & his 40 thieves
41BA4Where Cinderella lost her slipper
91BA4Sound of a collision, noun (“The Big … Theory”)
71BA5Unoriginal, dull
111BA5Thin stick used by a conductor or passed in a relay race
31BA6Large monkey with red butt
61BA6What you mark to vote
81BA6Common yellow plantain variety
101BA6African tree
51BA7Helium or air filled toy that can pop
121BL4Reveal a secret by indiscreet talk
131BL4Make a sound like a sheep, goat, or calf; slang
161BL4Gelatinous mass, or 1950s alien horror film
171BL4Online journal, noun/verb
181BL4Stain (on your record), noun; or dry using absorbent material (forehead dampness), verb
151BL5Make or become swollen with fluid or gas, esp. stomach
191BL6Slang for drunk
141BL7Bad behavior, open and unashamed
201BO4Small ship, as in “tug-”
211BO4Taiwan sweet tea with gelatin pearls
221BO4Thrown weighted string weapon
231BO4Cotton seed target for weevil
241BO4Western string tie
261BO4Runner Usain, or what you screw into a nut
281BO4Water pipe for smoking weed, or sound of a large bell
311BO4Breast, slang
341BO4Favor, poetic (grant me a…), noun
351BO4Cowboy or winter shoe
291BO5Paired small drum held between the knees; add a vowel to end of above
271BO6Candy, or 2X “good" in French
301BO6Small ape related to chimps
321BO6“Owie” you kiss & make better, mistake, or what 2 ghosts say
251BO7Large smoked, seasoned North American sausage
331BO8Far-right anti-government extremist movement & militia (… bois) ; starts with ghost scare word
361GL4Semi-liquid lump, as in cheese
371GL6Worldwide, adj., as in “… warming”
381LO4Wolf, Spanish
391LO8Large oared vessel carried by a sailing ship
401NA5Conspicuously rich person, as in VP Agnew’s “nattering ...s of negativism”
411NA7Hypothetical, very small, self-propelled machine,
421NO4Beginner, gamer slang
431OB6Having an stretched-out rectangular or oval shape; ends in list word
441TA5Indian small drum pair; NOT dining room furniture
451TA5Forbidden, cultural no-no
461TO8Long, narrow sled for coasting downhill

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.