Bee Roots for 2023-05-21

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: B/ACMNOT
  • Words: 38
  • Points: 188
  • Pangrams: 2

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, ...)
1AB5Head monk, perhaps at Downton
1BA4Rum sponge cake, or Ali & his 40 thieves
1BA6Large monkey with red butt
1BA5Philosopher & statesman Sir Francis…, 1561–1626
1BA6Panda’s primary food
1BA6Common yellow plantain variety
1BA4French for bench; judges sit “en …” as a full court
1BA6Small chicken breed or boxing weight class
1BA6African tree
1BA5Thin stick used by a conductor or passed in a relay race
1BO4Small ship, as in “tug-”
1BO7Person who operates a small ship (compound)
1BO4Taiwan sweet tea with gelatin pearls
1BO6Wild feline larger than a pet, with ♂ name at start
1BO4It explodes, noun/verb
1BO6Candy, or 2X “good" in French
1BO6Small ape related to chimps
1BO4Breast, slang
1BO6“Owie” you kiss & make better, mistake, or what 2 ghosts say
1BO4Sound of explosion or subwoofer
1BO4Favor, poetic (grant me a …), noun
1BO4Cowboy or winter shoe
1BO6Underside, or slang for ass
1CA6Poolside gazebo
1CA8Underground cemetery, esp. ancient Roman
1CO4Toothed instrument to fix hair
2CO6,9Fighting between armed forces or individuals (trial by …), noun/verb; pangram person engaged in it is a pangram (enemy …)
1CO5Slang abbr. for a small jazz band, or a grouping of different foods (… platter or meal)
1MA5Venomous African green or black snake
1MA5Cuban dance, NOT an African snake
1NA5Conspicuously rich person, as in VP Agnew’s “nattering …s of negativism”
1NA7Hypothetical, very small, self-propelled machine
1NO12Fighting between armed forces or individuals (trial by …), noun/verb; pangram person engaged in it is a pangram (enemy …)
1NO4Beginner, gamer slang
1TA5Forbidden, cultural no-nos
1TO7Cigarette, cigar, or pipe filler
1TO4Burial vault (Who’s in Grant’s …?)

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