Bee Roots for 2023-09-08

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: N/FIORTU
  • Words: 42
  • Points: 177
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Siberian Times

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, ...)
1FI6“Done” in Italian
1FO4Type face; in some churches, it holds water for baptism
1FO5(Literary) source (of knowledge or water, e.g.)
1FR5Opposite of back; edge of a weather system
1FR8Point at which a plan is realized
1FU5Japanese mattress, or sofa that can be unfolded into a bed
1IN4Collection of facts and tips, abbr.
1IN4Enter (go … the room), preposition
1IN5Announce upcoming thing (next guest), or prelude (beginner’s course, book preface), slang abbr.
2IN6,9TurboTax company, or know by feeling rather than evidence
1IN5Vase used for storing ashes
1IR4Element Fe (atomic number 26), or hot clothes presser, noun/verb
1NI5Slang abbr. for chem. used as explosive & heart med.
1NO4“Black” in French; or dark mystery genre (film …)
1NO412:00, midday, 🕛
1NO4Edible seaweed, eaten either fresh or dried in sheets
1NO6Vague idea, or small sewing accessory
1NO4In grammar, a person, place or thing
1NU9food, nourishment
1ON5Veg that makes you cry when cut (for some, this is the "dreaded root veg")
1ON4Preposition when mounting an animal or boarding a large vehicle
1OU6Sprint more quickly or farther in a footrace than someone else, compound
1RO6Spiral pasta, fusilli
1RU4Destroy, verb (eating snacks before dinner will … your appetite)
1RU6Follow-up election after a tie or inconclusive result; rain or meltwater that flows because the soil cannot absorb it
1RU6Slight error in rotating tool, compound
1RU4Smallest of the litter
1TI4Shade of color, noun; or darken car windows, verb
1TO4Animated film or character, slang abbr. (car…)
1TO4Ripped, adj. or past participle
1TO7Italian ice cream with rum, almonds, & cherries
1TR6Son of Poseidon, largest Neptune moon; mollusk with a tall spiral shell
1TU7College fee
1TU4Change direction, verb/noun/adj. (use your … signal when driving!)
1TU7Junction at which a road branches off from a main road (compound); someone or something repellent (slang)
1TU7Number of people who show up at an event (we had a great … last night for our poetry reading), compound
1UN5Of suitable quality (all the news that's … to print), adj.; be of the right shape and size, verb/noun
1UN6Top of a house (where Santa lands)
1UN5Labor org. (Teamsters, AFL-CIO); or in math, what you get from putting sets together
1UN4Something whole on its own but part of larger thing (apartment, Army squad, e.g.)
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