Bee Roots for 2023-01-20

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. 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: O/AEFGLP
  • Words: 48
  • Points: 135
  • 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, ...)
1AG4Very excited to hear or see something, adj.
1AL4Sunburn gel from “… vera” plant
1AL5Cool & distant in behavior, adj.; anagram of bath sponge
1AP6Climax, or furthest point of moon’s orbit
1EL5Run away to marry
1FA7Statistical decrease, or result of slipping while on a ladder; compound
1FL8Mast used to fly Old Glory, compound pangram
1FL4Sheet of ice atop the ocean, homophone of moving liquid
1FL4Whip (a dead horse?), verb
1FL4A failure (the film was a total …), or ungainly pool dive (belly …)
1FO4Baby horse or other equine, noun/verb
1FO4Unwise person, court jester tarot card, noun; or to trick or deceive, verb
1GA6Horse's top speed
1GA5Lively ballroom dance, popular in the 19th century, named after a horse's top speed
2GL4,5Sticky and amorphous substance, typically something unpleasant (2 spellings)
1GO4Objective, or sport target or point
1GO6Eye protector for swimming or skiing; or stare with wide & bulging eyes
1GO4Twain said this sport is a “waste of a good walk”
1GO4Mistake, noun; or fool around (… off), verb
1GO6Popular web search site
1GO6Large number (10¹⁰⁰), NOT a web search site
1GO4Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand, or unpleasant messy gel
1LO4Unit of bread, noun; or idle (… around), verb
1LO4Theater section behind orchestra
1LO4Company graphic symbol; Target’s is a red bullseye ◎
1LO4Hang out or droop, as a dog’s tongue
1LO6Move in an ungainly way in a series of clumsy paces or bounds
1LO5Bath sponge
1LO4Closed curve
1LO4Run like a wolf, with bounding strides
1OF5Entrails & organs used as food
1OG4S–shaped line or molding, noun; or having a double continuous S–shaped curve, adj.
1OG4Eye amorously
1OP4Gemstone from Australia, October birthstone
1PA5Diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans
1PE6Humanity, or celeb mag with annual “sexiest man”
1PL4Sound of Alka–Seltzer before the fizz
1PO4Bouncy “stick”
1PO4What a firefighter slides down
1PO4Opinion survey, homophone of above (straw, Gallup, e.g.)
1PO4Croquet on horseback
1PO4Exclamation of suddenness (…—it’s gone!), or Brit slang for a gay ♂
1PO4Swimming venue
1PO4Tire out (I’m …-ed); or defecate, slang verb/noun
1PO4Francis, Pius, etc. (head of Roman Catholic Church)

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.

A few words can have one meaning as a suffixed form and another as a stand-alone word. EVENING, for example. In those cases I will use the meaning that I think is more common.

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