Bee Roots for 2023-03-19

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: L/BFGORU
  • Words: 34
  • Points: 84
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Ariadne Van Zandbergen/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, ...)
1BL4Gelatinous mass, or 1950s alien horror film
1BL4Online journal, noun/verb
1BL5Bet as if you had better cards than you do, verb/noun; or a steep bank
1BL4Become unclear or less distinct, verb/noun
1BL5Short publicity notice
1BO4Cotton seed target for weevil
1BO4Western string tie
1BU4Light-producing globe, head of garlic, or what you plant to get a tulip
1BU6Whole wheat partially boiled then dried
1BU4♂ cow
1BU8High-volume croaker, compound pangram made from ♂ cow + cousin of toad
1BU4Rounded knotty growth on a tree; or knot or lump in thread or cloth
1FL4Whip (a dead horse?), verb
1FL5What you walk on inside (You’re getting mud on my clean …!)
1FL5(Pillsbury or Gold Medal) ground wheat for baking (add a cup of …)
1FL4Blunder/botch/bungle, informal verb/noun
1FL5Dryer lint, noun, or what you do to a flat pillow (… up)
1FO4Unwise person, court jester tarot card, noun; or to trick or deceive, verb
1FO4Pollute, or make an out of bounds or illegal sports play (he hit a … ball)
1FU4At capacity (I can’t finish the meal, I’m …), adj.
1FU4Stow a flag, umbrella, or sail when no longer needed
1GL4Semi-liquid lump, as in cheese
1GL4Drink or pour liquid & make a hollow sound, verb
1GO4Twain said this sport is a “waste of a good walk”
1GO6Large number (10¹⁰⁰), NOT a web search site
1GU4Deep sea inlet with narrow mouth (… of Mexico, Persian …)
1GU4Noisy shore bird
1LO4Wolf, Spanish
1LO4Company graphic symbol; Target’s is a red bullseye ◎
1LO7Balance competition with timber in water, compound
1LO4Hang out or droop, as a dog’s tongue
1LU4Soothe (… into a false sense of security), verb; or a pause in activity, noun
1LU4Doozy, or “To Sir With Love” singer
1RO4What you do to dice, verb; or Tootsie candy & small bread format, noun

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