Bee Roots for 2021-12-22

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, ...)
11AC7Type of paint used in art
21AF6Extramarital dalliance
31AF6Archaic var. of a list word: legal term for public brawl
51AI4Spacious, well-lit, & well-ventilated (room); or breezy (attitude); adj.
41AI6What you breathe
61AR4Opera solo
71AR4Seed covering
81AR5Ordered series, esp. math
91CA5Lug around (fireman’s …), verb
101CA8Large bag or case, compound with lug around and synonym for everything
111CI5“Around” when used before a year, Latin
121CI5Cloud forming wispy streaks (“mare's tails”) at high altitude
131CL7Make something more clear; separate milk solids from the clear oil in butter
151FA5Tinker Bell, e.g.
171FA8Comic play with ridiculous characters and action
171FA10Comic play with ridiculous characters and action
181FL5Aptitude (for languages, e.g.) or panache
201FR4Become worn at the edge (cloth) or tip (rope), verb; or a battle, noun
191FR5Weak & delicate
211FR5Monk (… Tuck of “Robin Hood”)
221FR5Decorative or unnecessary extra, noun + adj.
211FR6Monk (… Tuck of “Robin Hood”)
221FR6Decorative or unnecessary extra, noun + adj.
231LA4Animal or criminal den
241LI4Someone who doesn’t tell the truth
251LI4₺ or ₤, Turkish or old Italian $
261LY5Adj. for small harp, or singular of term for words to a song
261LY7Adj. for small harp, or singular of term for words to a song
261LY9Adj. for small harp, or singular of term for words to a song
281RA4Lively, entertaining, & mildly sexual; adj. (think car or horse speed contest)
301RA4What a train travels on, or what you hold on stairs
321RA5Mass meeting of people for a common cause (pep, political)
271RA6Grouping of people based on shared physical characteristics (regardless of …, creed, or color)
291RA6African palm tree, or its fiber in hats, mats, & baskets
311RA7Car or wagon that is part of a train (compound)
271RA8Grouping of people based on shared physical characteristics (regardless of …, creed, or color)
331RI4$ in Iran, Oman, & Yemen
341RI4Short repeated phrase in pop & jazz (guitar)
361RI4Small stream
371RI5$ in Saudi Arabia
351RI8Undesirable people, overflow room on “Ellen"

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.