Bee Roots for 2023-08-20

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/CILNOU
  • Words: 51
  • Points: 220
  • Pangrams: 2
Source: Collins Dictionary

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, ...)
1CL4Lump of blood that stops bleeding or circulation
1CL5Hit hard, verb; or influence or power, especially in politics or business, noun
1CO7Tropical fruit in Mounds & Piña Colada
1CO4Young ♂ horse
2CO7,10Create a mixed drink, potion, or wild story
1CO4Foolish old ♂, or water bird
1CO9Debutante ball
1CO6Soft fabric or its plant source
1CO5Tally, verb; or title for Dracula & Monte Cristo, noun
2CU4,6Religious sect centered around a single person
1CU6Cardboard person (how you make one), or spy intermediary, compound
1IL7Not forbidden by law or custom
1IN4Enter (go … the room), preposition
2IN6,9TurboTax company, or know by feeling rather than evidence
1LI5Not forbidden by law or custom
1LI4Singsong accent
1LI7Design carved in relief on a block of linoleum
1LI4Dryer fluff
1LO8A particular form of expression or a peculiarity of phrasing, pangram
1LO4Pirate treasure, noun; or to steal during a riot, verb
1LO6Moisturizing or suntan cream
1LO5State-sponsored numbers betting ticket (Powerball, e.g.)
1LO4Uncouth & aggressive ♂, noun
1NO6Vague idea, or small sewing accessory
1OC6Supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs, practices, or phenomena
1OC91 followed 27 zeroes; Latin 8 prefix
1ON4Preposition when mounting an animal or boarding a large vehicle
1TI4Cash register or drawer, noun; “up to,” preposition; or prep soil for planting, verb
1TI4Move into a sloping position, or fight windmills (… at)
1TI5Archaic for shade of color, seen now only in “–URE of iodine”
1TI4Shade of color, noun; or darken car windows, verb
1TO4Work hard (… away, trying to find the last few Spelling Bee words)
1TO4Road use fee (paid at a booth)
1TO5Carbonated water often mixed with gin
1TO4An implement (hammer & screwdriver, e.g.); often stored in a …box
1TO4Animated film or character, slang abbr. (car…)
1TO4Short horn sound; noun/verb
1TO4Promote, or offer horse racing tips
1TU7College fee
1TU5Upper body garment in a uniform or in ancient Greece & Rome
1TU5All together, musically (Italian); Little Richard “Wop bop a loo bop” song
1TU4Ballet skirt, or S Afr Bishop Desmond
1UN5Divide into pieces with a knife or other sharp implement, verb/noun
1UN5Illumination, noun/verb (Let there be …)
1UN7Priestly anointing with oil; “extreme” on deathbed
1UN4Something whole on its own but part of larger thing (apartment, Army squad, e.g.)
1UN5Up to, preposition or conjunction (You have … 5 pm to finish)
1UN4Archaic preposition (Handel’s Messiah “For … us a child is born”)

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