Bee Roots for 2022-12-18

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: U/AGNORT
  • Words: 42
  • Points: 190
  • Pangrams: 3
Source: Smithsonian's National Zoo

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, ...)
1AR8Small floating octopus; or one of Jason's crew in mythology
1AU4Parent’s sister
1AU4Supernatural glow encircling a person
1AU6Polar lights (… Borealis)
1AU4Car, abbr., or “self” prefix
1GA10Enormous, based on Rabelais' voracious giant
1GA5Lean and haggard, especially because of suffering, hunger, or age (rhymes with what ghosts do)
1GO4Swollen foot disease from excess uric acid; Ben Franklin had it
1GR5Paste for filling gaps in tiles
1GR5Short & low (esp. pig) sound; or slang term for lowly soldier or worker
1GU5Bat droppings
1GU4Cluster bean
1GU9Formal promise, typically in writing, that certain conditions will be fulfilled, especially that something defective will be repaired or replaced
1GU4Indian spiritual teacher
1NO6Candy made from sugar or honey, nuts, and egg white
1NO4In grammar, a person, place or thing
1OR9Four-handed great ape with orange fur
1OU5$ spent, to a CPA, literal opposite of “income”; or, in gerund form, extroverted, compound
1OU6Have better or more weapons (pistols), or surpass in power, compound
1OU5Closing show music (antonym begins with IN–)
2OU6,6Sprint more quickly or farther in a footrace than someone else, compound
1RA6Highly seasoned meat cut into small pieces and stewed with vegetables
1RO6Cheap liquor (literally, what it does to your stomach), compound
1RO4Disorderly retreat, or decisive defeat
1RU4Make a bell sound, verb/noun; encircle, verb/noun
1RU6Slight error in rotating tool, compound
1RU4Smallest of the litter
1TA5Provoke with words
1TA4Not slack, as a rope, adj.
1TO4Take a guided one of these in a foreign city (on a … bus?) adj/noun/verb
1TO4Promote, or offer horse racing tips
1TR5Common game fish (rainbow …, e.g.)
1TU4Chicken of the sea (Ahi …)
1TU4Change direction, verb/noun/adj. (use your … signal when driving!)
1TU7Number of people who show up at an event (we had a great … last night for our poetry reading), compound
1TU5Private instructor
1TU4Ballet skirt, or S Afr Bishop Desmond
1UN5Identification label, noun/verb; or kids' game (…, you're it)
1UN4Archaic preposition (Handel’s Messiah “For … us a child is born”)

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