Bee Roots for 2021-12-24

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, ...)
11BL4Gelatinous mass, or 1950s alien horror film
21BL5Electronic tone similar to profanity cover sound, or mistake (usually with –ER)
41BO4Heat water to 212° F or 100°C
51BO4Cotton seed target for weevil
61BO4Western string tie
71BO4Breast, slang
91BO4Printed novel
31BO5Critic’s slang adj. for a wildly successful show or film
81BO6“Owie” you kiss & make better, mistake, or what 2 ghosts say
121FL4A failure (the film was a total…), or ungainly pool dive (belly …)
101FL8Series of images that very gradually change from one page to the next, so that when the pages are viewed in quick succession, the images appear to animate
111FL8Light sandal, typically of plastic or rubber, with a thong between the big and second toe
131FO4Thin aluminum sheet for wrapping leftovers, noun; or thwart, verb (Police …-ed the robbery)
151FO4People in general (… music, …lore)
161FO4Unwise person, court jester tarot card, noun; or to trick or deceive, verb
141FO5A book (A Shakespeare first … is quite valuable), a page in a book, or a book size; from Latin for “leaf”
171KI4Greek 1,000 prefix; also an abbr. for 1,000 grams of weight
181KO4Crazy or eccentric person, NOT a chef
191LI4Fat-sucking procedure, abbr.
201LO4Wolf, Spanish
211LO4Hang out or droop, as a dog’s tongue
241LO4Direct one’s gaze toward someone or something, verb/noun
251LO4Closed curve
231LO6Move in an ungainly way in a series of clumsy paces or bounds
221LO8Sucking candy on a stick
261OL4Mixture, or spicy Spanish stew, NOT margarine
271PL4Sound of Alka–Seltzer before the fizz
291PO4Opinion survey, homophone of above (straw, Gallup, e.g.)
301PO4Croquet on horseback
311PO4Exclamation of suddenness (…—it’s gone!), or Brit slang for a gay ♂
321PO4Swimming venue
331PO4Tire out (I’m …-ed); or defecate, slang
281PO5Disease that put FDR in a wheelchair

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.