Bee Roots for 2023-01-04

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: V/EILNOT
  • Words: 42
  • Points: 207
  • Pangrams: 2
Source: Jaco Haasbroek on

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, ...)
1EL6Hour before noon
1EN7Exist, verb; or not on tape (TV show), adj.
1EV4Number that can be divided by 2 without a remainder, or flat & smooth; adj.; or to make or become that (… out the edges)
1EV5Thing that happens (“When in the course of human …s”)
1EV4Wicked (ELO’s “… Woman”, Santana's "… Ways")
1EV6Develop gradually (Darwin said that humans and apes …ed from a common ancestor), verb
3IN6,9,9Create something new (device, e.g.)
2IN6,7Ask someone to a party
1IN7Include someone or something as a necessary part or result; past tense can also mean being in a relationship with someone
1LE5River embankment to prevent flooding
1LE5Flat, adj.; or straightening tool with bubble, noun
2LI4,5Exist, verb; or not on tape (TV show), adj.
1LO4The ♥ in I♥NY, or “zero” in tennis
1NO8Thing that happens (“When in the course of human …s”)
2NO5,9Book of fiction (romance, mystery), or “new” (… idea)
1NO10Using physical force to harm or kill, adj.
1OL5Small oval fruit with a hard pit, green when unripe, brownish black when ripe
1OV4Appliance for baking
1OV5Sheep adj.
1VE4Bride’s face covering
1VE4Tube that returns blood to the heart
1VE6Soft fabric, developing antler cover, or Lou Reed’s “… Underground” rock band
1VE9Soft cotton fabric, or a kid’s stuffed rabbit who wants to become real
1VE4Exhaust outlet (clothes dryer, e.g.), noun; or let out your frustrations, verb
1VE4Presidential rejection of a Congressional bill, noun/verb
1VI4Despicable, NOT a small glass container; adj.
1VI4Climbing plant (Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through The Grape…”)
1VI46–stringed upright Renaissance fiddle
1VI7Using physical force to harm or kill, adj.
1VI6Bluish purple; or a flower of that color; opposite end of the visible light spectrum from red
1VI6Itzhak Perlman’s fiddle
1VO5Thin, semitransparent fabric
1VO4Small burrowing rodent AKA field mouse
1VO8The power of choosing or determining (they left the church of their own …, not because of excommunication)
1VO4Unit of electric potential (110 … socket)
1VO4What you do on Election Day, noun/verb
1VO6Pledged (offering), adj. (she lit a … candle at the altar)

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