Bee Roots for 2023-03-23

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/AFLRUV
  • Words: 32
  • Points: 130
  • 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, ...)
1AF4Jackson 5 hairstyle
1AF5Pollute, or make an out of bounds or illegal sports play (he hit a … ball)
1AL5Cool & distant in behavior, adj.; anagram of bath sponge
2AU6,7Polar lights (… Borealis)
1FA7Statistical decrease, or result of slipping while on a ladder; compound
1FA5Ancient grain used in salad & soup, not King Tut
1FA5Approval, support, or liking; or an unusual bit of kindness
2FL6,9What something tastes like
1FL5What you walk on inside (You’re getting mud on my clean …!)
1FL5Plants of a particular region (… & fauna)
1FL6Involving flowers
1FL5(Pillsbury or Gold Medal) ground wheat for baking (add a cup of …)
1FO4Baby horse or other equine, noun/verb
1FO4Unwise person, court jester tarot card, noun; or to trick or deceive, verb
1FO4Meeting place (Roman …, online discussion…)
1FO4Pollute, or make an out of bounds or illegal sports play (he hit a … ball)
1FO4How many legs a dog has
1FR8Showy clothing ornamentation, or rustling sound of skirts or dresses
1FU5Public uproar (caused a …)
1LO4Unit of bread, noun; or idle (… around), verb
1LO4Hang out or droop, as a dog’s tongue
1LO5Bath sponge
1OF5Entrails & organs used as food
1OR4Spoken (… exam), or by mouth (… surgery), adjective
1OV4Shape of a running track or 🥚, from Latin for “egg”
1OV6Part of the ovary of seed plants that contains the female germ cell
1RO4Lion “shout”
1RO4What you do to dice, verb; or Tootsie candy & small bread format, noun
1RO4Top of a house (where Santa lands)
1VA5Courage, bravery

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