Bee Roots for 2023-08-19

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: F/AEILMN
  • Words: 44
  • Points: 195
  • 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, ...)
1AF6Visible part of a fire (prefixed form is a pangram)
1AL7Grass for hay, or Little Rascal
1EL5Small, delicate, impish; as a Keebler worker, adj.
1FA4Don’t pass a test
1FA7Fried chickpea balls often served in pita
2FA4,6Autumn, noun; or plummet, verb
1FA4Renown, or 1980s movie & TV show about NYC performing arts HS
1FA8Your relatives, taken as a group (immediate …, nuclear …, … ties)
1FA6Widespread absence of food
1FE4Perceive by touch; or experience (emotion)
1FE6Cat adj./noun
1FE4Cut or knock down (a tree or opponent, e.g.)
1FE5♂, slang (young or little …)
1FE6♀, formal term (the sex that can produce offspring)
1FE8Looking or behaving in ways traditionally associated with women, adj.
1FE5Woman in French
1FE6Veg & seed used in cooking, esp. Italian
1FI4Medieval for feudal land or area of control; often has –DOM suffix
1FI4Small flute used with a drum in military bands, noun/verb
1FI4Folder of related papers, or tool for smoothing edges (fingernails, e.g.), noun/verb
1FI8identifier for a data storage unit, compound pangram made from folder of related papers + moniker
1FI6Of or due from a son or daughter, adj.
1FI4Add material until the container or hole is at capacity
1FI4Movie, or celluloid that cameras used to use, noun/verb
2FI5,6Last one (… exam, “… Countdown”)
1FI4Impose a $ penalty (the judge …d him $100 for speeding)
1FI6Ornament at end or top of an object
1FL5Swing (arms) wildly
1FL5Visible part of a fire (prefixed form is a pangram)
1FL4Caramel-topped custard
1FL7Soft-woven fabric, typically made of wool or cotton and slightly milled and raised; stereotypical Canadian shirt is made of this
1FL4Hopping insect whose bites cause itching in dogs & cats
1FL4Run away from danger, NOT a bug that causes itching
1FL8Swindle (...artist), rhyming compound verb
1IN6Add material until the container or hole is at capacity
1IN7Visible part of a fire (prefixed form is a pangram)
1LE4Nissan electric car; 4 of these on a clover is lucky
1LI4Cereal Mikey prefers, board game, or “death” antonym
1LI8What a palm reader checks to see when you’ll die, or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” friend assistance, compound
1MA5The Italian Mob
1MI4Annoy slightly, verb (it’s usually an –ED adj.)
1NA4Inexperienced person (from French)

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