Bee Roots for 2023-08-23

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/AELPTU
  • Words: 42
  • Points: 147
  • Pangrams: 1

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, ...)
1AL7Grass for hay, or Little Rascal
1EF6Pretentious, flowery, or weak, adj.
1FA7Fried chickpea balls often served in pita
1FA4Autumn, noun; or plummet, verb
1FA5Deadly, adj. (“… Attraction” film)
2FA4,7Destiny, kismet, 1 of 3 Greek goddesses who determine yours
1FA5Earth fracture where quakes happen (San Andreas …), or weakness; noun/verb; past tense is a pangram
1FE4Achievement requiring great courage, skill, or strength (no easy …), noun
1FE4Perceive by touch; or experience (emotion)
1FE4Cut or knock down (a tree or opponent, e.g.)
1FE5♂, slang (young or little …)
1FE7Perform oral sex on a ♂, verb
1FE4Cloth made by rolling and pressing wool with moisture and/or heat
1FE4Soft Greek goat cheese, cubed when served
1FE4Honor lavishly, verb; from French for “party”
1FE6Condition, noun (in fine …); rhymes with whistling teapot
1FE5Unborn offspring of a mammal, more advanced than an embryo
1FE4What you cover with a sock
1FL4What Old Glory does in the breeze, or what birds do to their wings to take off; verb
1FL4Having no depth or height (… as a pancake), or ♭ in music (opposite of ♯)
1FL8Collapsed arch on your sole; cop nickname; reason to get out of the military draft, compound
1FL6Rolled tortilla resembling a shrill wind instrument, or the instrument in Spanish
1FL4Hopping insect whose bites cause itching in dogs & cats
1FL4Run away from danger, NOT a bug that causes itching
1FL5Group of ships sailing together, noun; or enema brand; or able to run fast (… of foot)
1FL4Chimney duct, NOT a seasonal illness
1FL5Dryer lint, noun, or what you do to a flat pillow (… up)
1FL5High-pitched wind instrument (Mozart's opera The Magic …); or tall thin glass for champagne
1FU4Gasoline or oil, e.g., noun; or add it to a tank (… up)
1FU4At capacity (I can’t finish the meal, I’m …), adj.
1LE4Nissan electric car; 4 of these on a clover is lucky
1LE7Flier passed out on the street, or to pass them out
1LE4←; remaining (only 1 cookie …); or departed
1PE4Archaic derogatory term for (ill-gotten) wealth, rhymes with a bookcase tier
1PF4Sound of contempt or disbelief
1PU4Short explosive burst of breath or wind, noun; or expand (...up or out), verb
1TA7Fine lustrous silk with crisp texture used for formal gowns
1TE4Cereal grain from Ethiopia
1TU6Footstool or low seat (where Little Miss Muffet sat)
1TU4Clump of hair that sticks up

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