Bee Roots for 2021-12-31

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
  • Letters: U/EKMNPT
  • Words: 23
  • Points: 89
  • Pangrams: 1

Table content

  • with first two letters of answer and length
root #answers coveredanswer's first two lettersanswer's lengthclue for root (answer may need prefix, suffix, tense change, alt spelling, ...)
41ME4List of things you can order in a restaurant
31ME6Informal gathering of people, service to organize online groups that hold in-person events, compound
51MU4Not able to make sound, noun/verb
61MU4Mixed-breed dog, slang
71MU6Loose, brightly-colored Hawaiian dress with a double name
81NU4Zap in the microwave, slang; or drop an atomic bomb
101PU4Vomit, informal
111PU4Device for putting air in tires or gas in cars, or slang for high-heeled shoe
121PU4Hoodlum, or alt rock genre (The Sex Pistols, The Ramones)
131PU4Football drop-kick, flat-bottomed boat, Irish £ (slang)
151PU4Hit a golf ball gently on the green
141PU6Marionette, but no strings (Elmo, e.g.)
161TU4Sync the pitch of instruments before concerts
191TU4Ballet skirt, or S Afr Bishop Desmond
181TU5Private instructor
171TU6Periodic car maintenance, compound (oil change, tire rotation, etc.)
201UM7Countless, slang (reasons, times, etc.)
21UN5Encounter (I’m supposed to … him in the park)
91UN5Tool for writing with ink, noun/verb
11UN6Retain (an item)
161UN6Sync the pitch of instruments before concerts
211UN7Disheveled (appearance), scruffy, pangram adj.
221UP6Maintenance (lawn, e.g.), compound (uses “retain” verb), 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.