Bee Roots for 2023-02-19

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: P/ELNOTU
  • Words: 61
  • Points: 231
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Lars Ronbog/Getty Images

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, ...)
1EL5Run away to marry
1EP4Fencing sword
1LE5Pause or reduction in intensity of something unpleasant (storm, traffic), compound noun
1LO6Move in an ungainly way in a series of clumsy paces or bounds
1LO4Closed curve
1LO4Run like a wolf, with bounding strides
1LO5Magnifying glass without a handle, homophone of curve that rejoins itself, noun
1NO4Slang negation
1OP4Pull on a door handle to gain admittance, verb/adj.
1OP8Adversary, rival, game competitor; noun
1OP7Ostentatiously rich and luxurious or lavish, pangram adj.
1OU7Is more popular in a survey (The front-runner continues to…his rivals, according to Gallup), compound verb
1OU6Results of computer processing, compound
1PE4Skin of a fruit, noun; or to remove it, verb
1PE4Backside of a hammer
1PE4Baby bird sound, Easter marshmallow, or a furtive look
1PE6Small, rounded, compressed mass (food, buckshot, rabbit dung)
1PE7Clump in a group of racing cyclists (French “small ball”), or trendy exercise bike
1PE4Bombard (with snowballs), verb; or animal fur, noun
1PE5Tube pasta, vodka optional
1PE4Archaic for “repressed,” now used as …-up frustration, adj.
1PE62nd to last syllable in a word; remove suffix from more common term for 2nd to last
1PE4Low-ranking worker, drudge
1PE6Humanity, or celeb mag with annual “sexiest man”
1PL4Sound of Alka–Seltzer before the fizz
1PL4Scheme, noun or verb (Roth’s “The … Against America”); or storyline in fiction
1PO4Author of verse
1PO4What a firefighter slides down
1PO4Opinion survey, homophone of above (straw, Gallup, e.g.)
1PO6Dusty flower reproductive emission that causes allergies
1PO7Emit smoke into the air or toxins into the water (give a hoot, don’t…), verb
1PO4Croquet on horseback
1PO4Unleavened cornbread, often Southern or Native American
1PO7Temp floating bridge; or cylinder full of air, two of which keep a type of slow boat afloat
1PO4Swimming venue
1PO4Tire out (I’m …-ed); or defecate, slang verb/noun
1PO4Francis, Pius, etc. (head of Roman Catholic Church)
1PO6(Historical or British) sweet or pretty child, or voodoo doll
1PO6Strong (…[drinks]—common Jeopardy category); or able to achieve an erection (think IM– prefix)
1PO5Young fowl being raised for food; remove suffix from term for chicken meat
1PO4Push your lower lip out because you're annoyed
1PU4Literary for “whimper” (usually ends in –ING)
1PU4Tug on, verb
1PU6Young hen; starts with above
1PU7Magazine section designed to be detached, sleeper sofa, or a troop withdrawal; compound noun; starts with list word; also an iffy birth control method (coitus interruptus)
1PU4Soft, wet, shapeless mass (“… Fiction” film), or floating bits of fruit in orange juice, noun/verb
1PU4Football drop-kick, flat-bottomed boat, Irish £ (slang)
1PU6Marionette, but no strings (Elmo, e.g.)
1PU6The act of retiring a batter or runner (baseball), compound
1PU4Hit a golf ball gently on the green
2TE5,6Native Am conical hut; 2 spellings
1TE8Support rod for a circus enclosure, or a movie expected to do well, compound, ends in list word
1TO4Small grayish slender-bodied shark, or mango tree grove; homophone of grayish-brown color
1TO6Become unsteady & fall, or knock over (think regime change); verb
1TO6Hairpiece worn to cover a bald spot
1TU6Periodic car maintenance, compound (oil change, tire rotation, etc.)
1TU6City where Elvis was born, or tree used as a honey plant in the Gulf Coast
1UN6Pull on a door handle to gain admittance, verb/adj.
1UN5Tool for writing with ink, noun/verb; or small enclosure for keeping animals, noun/verb
1UP4Fairy tale-starting preposition (“Once … a time”)

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