Bee Roots for 2021-12-20

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, ...)
11AR8Upholstered seat with side supports; compound
21CA4♀ sleeveless undergarment top, slang abbr.
31CH5Delight, verb; or trinket (lucky …), noun
41CR4Study intensely just before a test (stuff facts into your brain), or stuff into a box; verb
71HA4Physical injury, especially if deliberately inflicted, noun/verb
61HA5Forbidden by Islamic law
51HA8Fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero or heroine
81IM4Prayer leader at mosque
111MA4Permanently injure
121MA4♀ parent, slang
161MA4Old-timey schoolteacher honorific
171MA4Store (K–, Wal–)
201MA4Addition & division subject abbr.
121MA5♀ parent, slang
141MA5Month that sounds like what an army does
181MA5Tennis or boxing contest, noun; or agree in color (does my tie … my shirt?), verb
131MA6Rattle shaken in music
191MA6Ground Japanese green tea leaves; also flavors sweets
91MA7Indian honorific (… Gahdhi), or rice brand
101MA8Hawaiian double name for the dolphinfish or dorado
151MA8Mexican folk music
211MA9♀ head of a family or tribe, pangram
221MI4Flaky rock that breaks off in sheets
251MI4Catcher’s glove, or Sen. Romney
231MI5Parrot someone’s speaking & mannerisms, verb; or the person doing it, noun
241MI5Amusement, especially laughter
261TA6Japanese rich, naturally fermented soy sauce
271TA6Airport runway area
281TA6Japanese & dojo floor mats (畳)
291TR4People mover in Disney parks, parking lots, & cities
311TR4Neaten (hair) by snipping off ends
301TR7Single unit of a public transit vehicle, compound noun

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.