Bee Roots for 2023-05-18

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/BGINRU
  • Words: 49
  • Points: 272
  • Pangrams: 4
Source: Jim Corwin @

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, ...)
2BI4,7Invoice, or actor Murray, noun/verb
2BL4,5Russian pancake
1BL5Flashy jewelry (think rappers), noun
2BL4,8Become unclear or less distinct, verb/noun
1BL5Short publicity notice
1BU8Thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or another gas (the kids loved blowing soap …s)
1BU7Trumpet-like musical instrument without valves, especially used in the military for Reveille and Taps
1BU4Light-producing globe, head of garlic, or what you plant to get a tulip
1BU7Rounded swelling, noun/verb
1BU6Whole wheat partially boiled then dried
1BU4♂ cow
1BU8Place where matadors tangle with toros, compound
1BU8Blunder, verb
1BU8Make a continuous murmuring noise
1BU8Break into a house and steal things
1BU4Rounded knotty growth on a tree; or knot or lump in thread or cloth
1GI8Silly laugh; verb/noun
2GI4,7Fish breathing organ
1GI4Young ♀
1GL4Insincere & shallow
1GL6Adhesive substance; noun/verb
2GL4,8Drink or pour liquid & make a hollow sound, verb
2GR5,8BBQ cooker; or interrogate, slang
2GU4,7Noisy shore bird
1GU8Flow in a broken, irregular, noisy current
1LI6A queue, what you wait in for your turn
1LI8Narrow ribbon pasta (Italian diminutive of tongues)
1LU6Use oil to reduce friction and make something work better
1LU7Carry or drag with great effort; slang term for someone who is strong but not smart
1LU6High-speed sled you ride on your back
2LU4,7Soothe (… into a false sense of security), verb; or a pause in activity, noun
1LU4Doozy, or “To Sir With Love” singer
1LU4Breathing organ
1LU7Thrust the body forward suddenly
1LU6Tempt a person or animal to do something or to go somewhere, especially by offering some form of reward, verb/noun
1NI8Small, tentative chew, verb; or a snack, noun
1NI8Cause slight but persistent annoyance or worry (a …ing suspicion or doubt)
1NU4Having no legal or binding force; invalid
1RI6Make someone annoyed or irritated
1RI4Small stream
1RU6Regulation or principal, noun; exercise power, verb

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