Bee Roots for 2023-02-17

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: B/AEILNP
  • Words: 55
  • Points: 276
  • Pangrams: 2

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, ...)
1AB4Having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something, adj. (She was … to walk at 14 months)
1AL5Criminal’s excuse
1AP10Ask for a court ruling to be reversed, verb/noun
1BA4Rum sponge cake, or Ali & his 40 thieves
1BA6Talk rapidly in a foolish or excited way (like an infant); homophone of Genesis “Tower of …,” verb
1BA4Infant, slugger Ruth, or pig film
1BA5Genesis “Tower of …,” noun
2BA4,6Fee to avoid prison, noun; scoop water out of a ship, or abandon, verb
1BA4Parcel of hay, or actor Christian
1BA6Whale straining “teeth”
1BA4Where Cinderella lost her slipper, noun; or squeeze or form into a spherical shape, verb
1BA5Unoriginal, dull
1BA6Common yellow plantain variety
1BA4Cause of annoyance, or DC Comics villain (he’s the … of my existence)
1BE4Legume (lima …), noun; or hit on the head, verb
1BE8A pitch aimed at a batter’s head, compound
1BE6Head-hugging brimless cap with a button at the crown (propeller optional), NOT a legume
1BE7Straight, direct course between 2 points, compound (think this puzzle’s name)
1BE4Past participle of “to exist” (“How have you … doing?”)
1BE4Car horn sound, noun/verb
1BE4It rings
1BE5Southern pretty ♀ (Scarlett O'Hara, e.g.)
1BE5Be in a horizontal resting position, or say something false
1BI5Holy book (starts with Genesis)
2BI7,8Period of 2 years, Latin plural
1BI4Liver secretion, or anger
2BI4,8Invoice, or actor Murray, noun/verb
1BI8Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1BI7Flat geometric surface; or short for flying vehicle
1BL4Reveal a secret by indiscreet talk
1BL5Cover a profanity with a sound (… out)
2BL4,5Russian pancake
1BL4Unexpected minor deviation, such as a (radar) screen spot
1EN6Having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something, adj. (She was … to walk at 14 months)
1IN11Extraterrestrial (“In space no one can hear you scream”)
1LA5Tag or sticky paper with info (Avery mailing …)
2LA5,6Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1LA6Easily and frequently altered; unstable
1LI6Responsible by law/legally answerable; likely to do something (he's ... to get upset)
2LI5,7Printed slander, noun
1NI6Small, tentative chew, verb; or a snack, noun
1PA8So intense (a feeling or atmosphere) as to seem almost physical (a … sense of loss), or can be felt by touch
1PE6Small rock (… Beach golf course near Monterey, CA)
1PE8Skin of a fruit, noun; or to remove it, verb
1PI7Game that involves small metal balls, a sloping table, and flippers; compound
1PL4Commoner, slang insult, from Latin
2PL5,8Military academy cadet, slang
1PL7Can be bent or influenced easily, adj.

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