Bee Roots for 2022-12-17

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: C/AHILNR
  • Words: 53
  • Points: 260
  • Pangrams: 1

Table content

  • with first two letters of answer and length
answers coveredanswer's first two lettersanswer's lengthclue for root (answer may need prefix, suffix, tense change, alt spelling, ...)
1AC6African or Australian wattle tree
1AC4Trendy smoothie berry
2AN8,10Absence of government
1AR61 of 2 classes in a tarot pack (major & minor), a mystery or deep secret, or specialized knowledge, noun
1AR4Curved span
1AR7No longer in use (words, e.g.), adj.
1AR6Yellow daisy used to treat bruises
1CA5Pile of commemorative stones, or terrier (dog) breed
1CA4Phone, name, summon, or shout (out)
1CA5Arum plant referred to as a lily
1CA5Artificial waterway (Erie, Suez, Panama …)
1CA6Leggy French dance
1CA5Tropical “lily”
1CA6Relating to physical, especially sexual, needs and activities (… knowledge)
1CH4Spiced Indian tea (… latte)
1CH5String of metal links
1CH5Sitting furniture
1CH7Jewish Sabbath braided egg bread
1CH4Partially burn & blacken, verb
1CH4Faddish “pet” mint plant
1CH5Girl, Spanish
1CH6Pretentious style (or almost 2x fashionable)
1CH5Hot pepper, or spicy meat stew (… con carne)
1CH5Cool (in the fridge), or relax (… out)
1CH4Bottom of face, noun; or raise it above a bar in a pull-up, verb
1CH5Large Asian country, or ceramics from there
1CH10S Am rodent with dense fur we use for clothing
1CI5Short microscopic hairlike vibrating structure found in large numbers on the surface of certain cells; (anatomy) eyelash
1CI5Easy task (it’s a …), noun; or tighten up (belt or saddle, e.g.), verb
1CI5“Around” when used before a year, Latin
1CI5Cloud forming wispy streaks (“mare's tails”) at high altitude
1CL4Group of related (Scottish) families
1CL6Secure a victory (If they win today, the team will … a spot in the playoffs), or hug a boxing opponent to bind his arms; verb
3CL6,8,9Medical facility (health …)
2CR6,7Scientific name for skull
1IL5Hip bone
1IN41/12 of a foot, noun; or move slowly, verb
1LA5Pine species that loses its needles in the fall, 1 vowel off from Addams Family butler
1LI5Purple flower or shade
1NA4Drug cop, slang
1NI6Vitamin B3
1RA6Grouping of people based on shared physical characteristics (regardless of …, creed, or color)
1RA7Car or wagon that is part of a train, compound
1RA5Western cattle farm, or creamy salad dressing
1RI4Wealthy, adj.
1RI5Poison from castor beans, NOT a pilaf grain

About this site

This site provides clues for a day's New York Times Spelling Bee puzzle. It follows in Kevin Davis' footsteps. The original set of 4,500 clues came from him, and they still make up about three quarters of the current clue set.

The "Bee Roots" approach is to provide explicit clues for root words, not every word. 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