Bee Roots for 2023-07-26

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: T/GHILNR
  • Words: 48
  • Points: 268
  • Pangrams: 1
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, ...)
1GI4Coat with element Au, atomic no. 79
1GI4Encircle with a belt
1GI5Measurement around the middle of something, esp. a person’s waist
2GL5,8Give out or reflect small flashes of light, verb/noun
2GR4,8Small loose particles of stone or sand, or courage & resolve; “True …” 1969 & 2010 Western
2HI9,12Mark text with a yellow pen, verb; or a memorable event (her visit was the … of my day), compound noun/verb
1HI4Sword or dagger handle
2HI4,7Clue, suggestion, noun/verb
1HI7Strike with a hand, tool, or weapon, verb/noun; popular song or movie
1IG8Catch fire, or cause to do so
2LI5,8Illumination, noun/verb (Let there be …)
1LI9It precedes thunder
2LI4,7Singsong accent
1LI4Dryer fluff
1NI5Opposite of day
1NI10What you use when you don’t want to sleep in the dark, compound
1NI5Number of justices on Supreme Court
2RI5,8Correct, or →, the direction of east if you are facing north (raise your...hand)
1TH5Part of leg between hip & knee
2TH4,8Skinny, adj. (… Mints)
1TH5Unnamed object, noun (person, place, or …)
2TH6,9Sudden feeling of excitement & pleasure (the … of plummeting on a roller coaster), noun/verb
1TI5Having no slack (all my pants became too … during the pandemic), adj.
1TI6Thin ceramic wall, counter, flooring, or roofing square
2TI4,7Cash register or drawer, noun; “up to,” preposition; or prep soil for planting, verb
2TI4,7Move into a sloping position, or fight windmills (… at)
1TI5Cultivation of land, or prepped soil surface, noun; rhymes with “extreme dirt” synonym
1TI7Color slightly (…ed with pink), verb/noun
1TI8Slight prickling or stinging sensation, noun/verb
2TI4,7Shade of color, noun; or darken car windows, verb
1TI6Become weary; or make someone weary, verb; or the part of your car that actually touches the road, noun
1TI7Give 10% of your income to the Church
1TI7Name of a book, movie, or job, noun/verb; or a document showing you own a car or house
1TR4Study of angles in math, slang abbr. (sine, tangent, e.g.)
2TR5,8Vibratory sound, Star Trek symbiotic species (Dax, e.g.), or how Spanish say “R”

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