Bee Roots for 2021-12-15

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, ...)
11AF4Jackson 5 hairstyle
221AF5Pollute, or make an out of bounds or illegal sports play (he hit a … ball)
31AL5Cool & distant in behavior, adj.; anagram of bath sponge
21AL7Grass for hay, or Little Rascal
41AR6What connects your hand to your shoulder
51FA4Autumn, noun; or plummet, verb
81FA4Place for growing crops
91FA5Ancient grain used in salad & soup, not King Tut
61FA7Statistical decrease, or result of slipping while on a ladder; compound
101FL5What you walk on inside (You’re getting mud on my clean…!)
111FL5Plants of a particular region (… & fauna)
131FL5(Pillsbury or Gold Medal) ground wheat for baking (add a cup of …)
141FL5Dryer lint, noun, or what you do to a flat pillow (… up)
121FL6Involving flowers
151FO4Baby horse or other equine, noun/verb
161FO4Mattress material, or beer froth
171FO4Unwise person, court jester tarot card, noun; or to trick or deceive, verb
181FO4Something you fill out (name. address, etc.), noun; or shape, verb (… the dough into balls)
211FO4Meeting place (Roman …, online discussion…)
221FO4Pollute, or make an out of bounds or illegal sports play (he hit a … ball)
231FO4How many legs a dog has
211FO5Meeting place (Roman …, online discussion…)
191FO6Not casual (… occasion, … wear), adj.
201FO7Math or science expression (NaCl for salt), or breast milk substitute, pangram noun
241FR4Preposition indicating starting point (“to” counterpart)
251FR8Showy clothing ornamentation, or rustling sound of skirts or dresses
261FU4At capacity (I can’t finish the meal, I’m …), adj.
271FU4Stow a flag, umbrella, or sail when no longer needed
281FU5Public uproar (caused a …)
291LO4Unit of bread, noun; or idle (… around), verb
301LO5Bath sponge
311MU4Fur tube to keep your hands warm
321OF5Entrails & organs used as food
331RO4Top of a house (where Santa lands)
341RO7Chamber of a house (kitchen, bed-…, bath-…), noun/verb
351RU4Projecting starched frill worn around the neck, characteristic of Elizabethan and Jacobean costume

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.