Bee Roots for 2023-05-06

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: I/ACFLOR
  • Words: 59
  • Points: 247
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: HansLinde /

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, ...)
1AC6African or Australian wattle tree
1AC4Trendy smoothie berry
1AF6Extramarital dalliance
1AI5Garlic mayonnaise, from French for garlic
1AI7Shape of plane wings, compound
1AR4Opera solo
1AR4Seed covering
1CA6Rough cotton fabric, or colorful cat
2CA7,9Unit of energy in food; one of the adjective forms that mean having lots of these is a pangram
1CA7Rio de Janeiro native
1CI4“Hi” or “Bye” in Italian (“… bella”)
1CI5Short microscopic hairlike vibrating structure found in large numbers on the surface of certain cells; (anatomy) eyelash
1CI5“Around” when used before a year, Latin
1CI5Cloud forming wispy streaks (“mare's tails”) at high altitude
1CL5Steep rock face (white ones of Dover)
1CO5Spherical or nearly spherical bacterium
1CO4Style someone’s hair, verb/noun
1CO4Wind up spirally, or Hamlet’s “mortal …”
1CO4Fiber from the outer husk of the coconut, used for making ropes & matting
1CO5Baby or horse upset tummy
1CO9Red, green, blue, purple, etc.
1CR5Small plant that blooms early in spring
1FA6Front part of head containing eyes, nose, & mouth 😀; noun/verb
1FA4Don’t pass a test
1FA8Comic play with ridiculous characters and action
1FI6Of or due from a son or daughter, adj.
1FI4Add material until the container or hole is at capacity
1FL5Swing (arms) wildly
1FL5Aptitude (for languages, e.g.) or panache
1FO8Flat Italian bread made with yeast and olive oil and flavored with herbs
1FO4Center of interest or activity, noun; adjust a camera to get a clear image, verb
1FO4Thin aluminum sheet for wrapping leftovers, noun; or thwart, verb (Curses! …ed again)
1FO5B-vitamin that treats anemia (… acid)
1FO5A book (A Shakespeare first … is quite valuable), a page in a book, or a book size; from Latin for “leaf”
1FR5Weak & delicate
1FR5Monk (… Tuck of “Robin Hood”)
1FR5Decorative or unnecessary extra, noun + adj.
1FR6Play and move about cheerfully, excitedly, or energetically, verb/noun
1IL5Hip bone
1LA4Animal or criminal den
1LI4Someone who doesn’t tell the truth
1LI5Purple flower or shade
1LI4₺ or ₤, Turkish or old Italian $
1LO4A particular point or place
1OF8Confirmed by an authority (it's …); someone who throws penalty flags
1OL4Mixture, or spicy Spanish stew, NOT margarine
1RA6Grouping of people based on shared physical characteristics (regardless of …, creed, or color)
1RA6African palm tree, or its fiber in hats, mats, & baskets
1RA4What a train travels on, or what you hold on stairs
1RA7Car or wagon that is part of a train, compound
1RI4$ in Iran, Oman, & Yemen
1RI4Short repeated phrase in pop & jazz (guitar), noun/verb
1RI8Undesirable people, overflow room on “Ellen"
1RI4Small stream
1RO4Stir up mud or trouble (…ed the waters)

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