Bee Roots for 2021-12-19

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, ...)
11BO4Hippie chic fashion; anagram of "vagrant"
51BO4Each of 2 things (I’ll take this AND that), adv.
31BO5Privacy enclosure (voting, phone …), or Lincoln assassin
61BO5Main tree branch
21BO6Weeping sound, slang
101BO6Purchase, verb
41BO7There are 5 in NY City: Bronx, Queens, etc.
81BR5Thin soup
71BR7Lead, carry, or cause to come along with you
91BU5Scottish chartered town (in the US, Pitts…)
111GO4Person who wears dark clothing, dark rock genre, or German invader of Rome
121HO4Tramp, vagrant; anagram of hippie chic fashion
131HO4Owl sound
151HO460 minutes
141HO6Scary Steven King genre
171HU4Injure(physically or emotionally), verb/adj.
161HU6Chaotic din caused by a crowd of people, rhyming compound noun
181OU5Should or probable (to), verb
191OU10Used your brain better than someone else, past tense comparative verb
201RO5Not smooth (cat’s tongue, sandpaper)
221TH4Archaic singular “you” (“Romeo, wherefore art …”)
251TH5Beat or pulsate (teenage heart…)
231TH6Despite the fact that, or however; conjunction or adv. (al-…)
241TH7Idea or opinion, noun (here’s a…); or used your brain, past tense verb
211TH8Rigorous, meticulous (...understanding, ...examination)
271TH10In every part of (“English is spoken…the US), starts with above
291TO5What you chew with
301TO5Difficult (“… break, kid”) or durable adj.
311TR5Archaic var. of “honesty”; you pledge your … in marriage vows
331TR5Honesty (“… or dare”)
321TR6Long, narrow container for feeding & watering livestock

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.