Bee Roots for 2021-12-14

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, ...)
11AL5Archaic exclamation of regret or dismay; from list word for “absence of”
21AL6S Am mammal similar to but smaller than a llama
161AP5Walk back & forth anxiously
31AP9Alcoholic drink distilled from fermented cider
51CA4Baked dessert, often with layers and icing; traditional birthday party fare
61CA4Phone, name, summon, or shout (out)
81CA4Superhero back covering, or land that juts into water (… Cod)
71CA5Arum plant referred to as a lily
41CA6Make a harsh, raucous sound when laughing, verb/noun; (the witch …-d with delight as she stirred the potion)
91CE4Prison “room,” or smallest unit of an organism
101CL5Heel sounds on tile, verb; or NPR “car” show guy 2
121JA4Playing card that’s 1 below a queen in value
131JA6Slender long-legged wild dog
141LA4Frilly fabric, or shoestring
151LA4Absence of (talent or imagination, e.g.), verb/noun
161PA4Walk back & forth anxiously
171PA4Throw clothes into a suitcase, verb
181PA6Official residence of a sovereign, archbishop, or other exalted person
201PE4What a bird may do with its beak, verb/noun
211PL5A particular position or point in space, noun/verb

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.