Bee Roots for 2023-08-12

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: E/CILMOP
  • Words: 47
  • Points: 164
  • 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, ...)
1CE4Prison “room,” or smallest unit of an organism
2CE5,5Yo-Yo Ma’s instrument (also Pablo Casals')
1CL5Literary term for a region with ref. to prevailing weather (sunny…, e.g.), NOT scale a ladder
1CO6“Lassie” dog breed
1CO4Travel toward a particular place, tell your dog to move toward you, or slang for “to orgasm”
1CO6Force someone to do something
1CO7Gather or put together info for a report, or turn a program into machine code; pangram verb
1CO4Deal effectively with something difficult
1EL5Run away to marry
1EM5Master of Ceremonies (sounded-out initials), slang noun/verb
1EP4Fencing sword
1EP4Long poem celebrating heroic feats, noun; or historically important, adj. (… struggle, … quest)
1IC6Frozen water spear formed from drips
1IM5Drive forward, or force or urge someone to do something, verb
1LI4Itchy hair parasites
1LI4Small green citrus fruit
1LO4Run like a wolf, with bounding strides
1ME5Confusing scuffle
1ME4Viral internet funny image, noun/verb
1ME4Office note abbr.
1MI43 blind rodents in rhyme
1MI45,280 feet, or 1.6 km
1MI4Silent performer
1MI5Old stencil duplicator, abbr. (missing –graph suffix)
1MO4Burrowing blind rodent, or embedded spy
1MO4Sulk, brood; verb, past tense is also a bicycle with a small motor
1OL5Oil adj. (… acid), from Latin for oil
1OL5Skateboard jump, or Stan’s slapstick partner
1PE4Skin of a fruit, noun; or to remove it, verb
1PE4Baby bird sound, Easter marshmallow, or a furtive look
1PE8Similar to Spanish for "film," a protein film (on teeth & smoked meat, e.g.)
1PE6Humanity, or celeb mag with annual “sexiest man”
1PI5Section of something larger (homophone of “tranquility” term), noun; or assemble (… together), verb
1PI4Heap, stack (dirty laundry, raked leaves, etc.), noun/verb
1PI4Copper or plastic tube that carries water, noun; or to move liquid in one, verb; decorate a cake with icing
1PL4Ballét bénd
1PO4Verse that usually rhymes, from Frost et al.
1PO4What a firefighter slides down
1PO7A strong verbal or written attack on someone or something, pangram
1PO6Law enforcement personnel (Help! Call the…!) (pic of me with Officer Joe at Comic–Con),
1PO4Botany term for apple or pear (think French)
1PO6Large Asian grapefruit
1PO6Extra seat on a horse or bike saddle, knob on a sword; or gymnastics “horse”
1PO4Francis, Pius, etc. (head of Roman Catholic Church)

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