Bee Roots for 2022-07-28

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. An exception: since Sam won't allow S, when the root contains an S, the clue may be for a plural or suffixed form. "Mice" for example. If a clue isn't self-explanatory, try googling it. The TL;DR about the site comes after the table.

Past clues are available here

Today's puzzle
  • Letters: N/ACEHLV
  • Words: 40
  • Points: 180
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Lysogor/Getty Images, via

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, ...)
11AC4Teen facial zits
21AN4Uptight, or butt-related; adj.
31AN5Yearly record book
41AN6Heat then cool metal or glass slowly to toughen it
51AV9Violent & sudden mountain snow slide, pangram
91CA4Walking stick, or striped peppermint Xmas crook
61CA5Artificial waterway (Erie, Suez, Panama …)
101CA5Tropical “lily”
71CA6Leggy French dance
81CA6Nix, scrub (a concert, game, date, or show; e.g.)
111CH6Possibility (there’s a small …) or serendipity (they met by …)
121CH7Space around a church altar
131CH7TV station number on a knob (CBS is 2 in NYC & LA) or strait (swim across the English…)
141CL4Group of related (Scottish) families
151CL5Make tidy, verb (…your room, young man!); or dirt-free, adj.
161CL6Close fingers into a tight ball (fist), or contract muscles (buttocks, jaw)
171EL4Énérgy, stylé, énthusiasm; from Frénch
181EL6Hour before noon
261EN6Frilly fabric, or shoestring
191EN7Territory within or surrounded by a larger territory whose inhabitants are culturally or ethnically distinct
201EN7Intensify, increase, or improve (do this to your driver’s license so it meets new TSA rules)
211EV4Number that can be divided by 2 without a remainder, or flat & smooth; adj.; or to make or become that (… out the edges)
221HA5Refuge (tax), or “New” city where Yale is located
241HE5Consequently, or in the future (…-forth)
251HE5Hair or temp. tattoo dye
231HE6Where angels live
281LA4Small road (Beatles’ Penny … or Superman’s Lois …)
271LA5Cavalry pole weapon
291LE4Not fatty (…meat), adj.; or incline (… back in your chair)
301LE6Cause to rise, as bread with yeast
311NA4Indiaan flaat breaad
321NA4Grandma, slang; or Peter Pan dog
341NA4Central part of a church building
331NA5Seafaring military force, adj., not belly button
351NA5Belly button
361NE4Hawaiian goose & state bird
391VA4Device that shows wind direction
371VA7Decorative drapery hung above a window to hide the curtain fittings
381VA7The number of hydrogen atoms an element can displace or combine with (for carbon it's 4 and for oxygen it's 2)
401VE5Corrupt (susceptible to bribery), adj.

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.