Bee Roots for 2022-01-20

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
  • Letters: M/ABCILY
  • Words: 36
  • Points: 128
  • 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, ...)
11AC7Enthusiastic public praise
41AM4Abbr. for …nitrite "poppers" you sniff at a rave; or C₅H₁₁ on its own
21AM7Having a friendly and pleasant manner
31AM8Friendly or civil (settlement, divorce), adj.
51BA4Soothing ointment (lip …)
51BA5Soothing ointment (lip …)
61BL4Exclamation used to represent a loud sharp sound, as of a gunshot or explosion
71CA4Tranquil (mood, wind, “the…before the storm”)
81CA4♀ sleeveless undergarment top, slang abbr.
71CA6Tranquil (mood, wind, “the…before the storm”)
101CL4“Happy as a...” bivalve shellfish
91CL5Assert, an assertion, or a request (…asylum, baggage…)
111CL5Ascend (ladder, rope, stairs, etc.), verb/noun
101CL6“Happy as a...” bivalve shellfish
121CY6Often paired, percussion instrument you slam together like trash can lids
131IA4Poetic metrical foot (…ic pentameter)
131IA5Poetic metrical foot (…ic pentameter)
131IA6Poetic metrical foot (…ic pentameter)
141IM4Prayer leader at mosque
151LA4Tibetan Buddhist monk (Dalai …)
161LA4A young sheep; Mary had a little one
171LI4Peru capital, or bean
181LI4General term for an arm or leg, or large tree branch (go out on a…)
191LI6Brain “system” that deals with emotion & memory
201LL5S Am camel
211MA4Letters you get or send
221MA4Permanently injure
241MA4Shopping mecca
251MA4♀ parent, slang
231MA5Sour-tasting acid, or apple adj. (from Latin)
251MA5♀ parent, slang
261MA5Venomous African green or black snake
271MA6Vertebrate class that has hair, milk, & live birth
281MI4Flaky rock that breaks off in sheets
291MI4Wheat or pepper grinder
301MI5Parrot someone’s speaking & mannerisms, verb; or the person doing it, 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.