Bee Roots for 2023-09-05

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: I/ABELMP
  • Words: 48
  • Points: 199
  • 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, ...)
1AL5Criminal’s excuse
1AM7Having a friendly and pleasant manner
2BA4,6Fee to avoid prison, noun; scoop water out of a ship, or abandon, verb
1BE5Be in a horizontal resting position, or say something false
1BI8Korean rice topped with veg, chili paste, & egg or meat
1BI5Holy book (starts with Genesis)
1BI4Liver secretion, or anger
2BI4,8Invoice, or actor Murray, noun/verb
1BI8Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1BL5Non-rigid airship (the Goodyear…)
1BL4Unexpected minor deviation, such as a (radar) screen spot
1EM5Letter sent via the internet (with Outlook?), noun/verb
2IA4,5Poetic metrical foot (…ic pentameter)
1IM4Prayer leader at mosque
1IM6Drink (alcohol) (formal)
1IM6African antelope or Chevy sedan
1IM6Pierce with a sharp instrument (think Dracula, Vlad the …-er), verb
1IM5Drive forward, or force or urge someone to do something, verb
1IM10So intense (a feeling or atmosphere) as to seem almost physical (a … sense of loss), or can be felt by touch (negative form is a pangram)
2LA5,6Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1LA6Easily and frequently altered; unstable
1LI6Responsible by law/legally answerable; likely to do something (he's ... to get upset)
2LI5,7Printed slander, noun
1LI4Peru capital, or bean
1LI4General term for an arm or leg, or large tree branch (go out on a…)
1LI4Small green citrus fruit
1LI4Walk with a bad leg, verb; or soggy noodle adj.
2MA4,8Letters you get or send
1MA4Permanently injure
1MI45,280 feet, or 1.6 km
1MI4Wheat or pepper grinder
1MI4Silent performer
1PA4Bucket, NOT white-faced
2PA7,8Small rounded bump on body part such as tongue (from Latin)
1PI4Heap, stack (dirty laundry, raked leaves, etc.), noun/verb
1PI4Tablet of medicine
1PI4♂ who controls prostitutes, noun/verb
1PI4Copper or plastic tube that carries water, noun; or to move liquid in one, verb; decorate a cake with icing
1PL7Can be bent or influenced easily, adj.
1PL4Ballét bénd

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