Bee Roots for 2023-05-15

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/CDEMOT
  • Words: 50
  • Points: 218
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: John C. H. Grabill, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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, ...)
2CO4,6Provide for free (entry ticket, hotel room, drinks), slang abbr.
2CO7,8Take part in a contest, strive to win
1CO7Fruit preserved or cooked in syrup
2CO4,6Chicken pen, noun; or confine in a small space, verb (…ed up)
2CO5,7Usually hyphenated verb: take for your own use or for another purpose
1CO6Plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to avoid standing trial for a more serious one (… a plea)
2CO4,5Deal effectively with something difficult
1DE4Not shallow
1DE5Place to store large quantities of equipment or food; or a railroad or bus station
2DO4,5Simpleton, or slang for drugs
1EP4Fencing sword
1EP5Form of lyric poem written in couplets, in which a long line is followed by a shorter one, from Greek
1MO6Tool for cleaning a floor with liquid, noun/verb
2MO4,5Sulk, brood; verb, past tense is also a bicycle with a small motor
1MO6Small endearingly sweet child
1OC7Creature with 8 feet
1OP5Make a choice from a range of possibilities (he …ed for the red one)
1PE4Urinate, slang
2PE4,6Baby bird sound, Easter marshmallow, or a furtive look
1PE6Energy, liveliness, noun/verb
1PE6Animal kept in your house, noun/verb
1PO4Verse that usually rhymes, from Frost et al.
1PO4Author of verse
1PO4Botany term for apple or pear (think French)
1PO4Ceremonial public display (Elgar’s “… & Circumstance March” at graduations)
1PO6Cheerleader accessory
2PO4,6Tire out (I’m …-ed); or defecate, slang verb/noun
1PO6Make a light explosive sound (… the cork, … the question)
1PO4Francis, Pius, etc. (head of Roman Catholic Church)
1PO6(Historical or British) sweet or pretty child, or voodoo doll
1PO6Large container for cooking (…s and pans); or marijuana, slang
2TE5,6Native Am conical hut; 2 spellings
2TE4,6Office worker fill-in, slang abbr.
1TE5Speed at which a passage of music is played; more generally, pace of an activity
2TE5,7Entice (as a donut to a dieter, e.g.), verb
1TO6Opposite of bottom
2TO4,5Small grayish slender-bodied shark, or mango tree grove; homophone of grayish-brown color

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