Bee Roots for 2023-05-04

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: H/EGILNT
  • Words: 62
  • Points: 416
  • Pangrams: 5
Source: ClassicStock/Getty Images via

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, ...)
5EI5,6,8,9,10Number of legs on a spider
2EN9,12Illumination (Let there be …); noun/verb
1GH4Indian clarified butter
2HE4,7Back of your foot (Achilles’ weakness), noun; or (of a dog) follow closely
3HE6,8,11Measure of how tall something is
1HE6A person’s buttocks, slang
1HE4Satan’s domain
1HE5Prehistoric circular monument (Stone…)
1HI4Opposite of low; or greater than normal (… definition TV), or stoned (… as a kite), adj.
2HI9,12Mark text with a yellow pen, verb; or a memorable event (her visit was the … of my day), compound noun/verb
2HI4,7What Jack & Jill went up
1HI4Sword or dagger handle
2HI5,7Door fastener to frame that lets it swing open & closed, noun/verb
2HI4,7Clue, suggestion, noun/verb
1HI7Strike with a hand, tool, or weapon, verb/noun; popular song or movie
3LE6,8,11End to end measurement, noun
4LI5,7,8,10Illumination (Let there be …); noun/verb
1LI9It precedes thunder
1LI5Skinny, supple, & graceful (her…figure)
2NE5,8Horse sound
1NI4Near, archaic (“Repent, the end is …!”)
1NI5Opposite of day
1NI7Light, loose garment worn by a woman in bed, slang
1NI10What you use when you don’t want to sleep in the dark, compound
1NI5Number of justices on Supreme Court
1NI10One more than the number of holes on a golf course
1NI9XC in Roman numerals
1TE5What you use to chew, plural
2TE6,8When the things you use to chew start to emerge, you chew on everything, and you drool all the time
1TE5Between nine and eleven
1TH4Archaic form of “you”
1TH4At that time, or next; adv. (not always, but every now & …)
1TH5Part of leg between hip & knee
2TH4,8Skinny, adj. (… Mints)
1TH5Yours, archaic singular
1TH5Unnamed object, noun (person, place, or …)
3TI5,7,10Having no slack (all my pants became too … during the pandemic), adj.
1TI5Cultivation of land, or prepped soil surface, noun; rhymes with “extreme dirt” synonym
2TI5,7Give 10% of your income to the 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