Bee Roots for 2023-09-09

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: O/ACIMNP
  • Words: 56
  • Points: 268
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Midwest Radio

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, ...)
1AM5Protein building block acid, or a NH₂ group, noun
1AM4A supply of bullets, slang abbreviation
1AM7Smelly cleaning fluid, NH₃
1AM5Slang abbr. for a prenatal test that takes fluid from a uterus with a needle, noun
1AN4Soon, poetically
2AN5,7Atom or molecule with a net electric charge
1CA5Bean source of Hershey Bars
1CA4Clothing that helps you hide, slang abbr.
1CA5Grass plain with occasional stunted trees
1CA6Wheeled artillery
2CA5,7Nikon rival, or accepted (Church) lore, noun
1CA7Referring to a jar in which the ancient Egyptians preserved the viscera of a deceased person, adj.
1CA4Mafia boss, or moveable bar on a guitar
1CA5Castrated chicken fattened for eating
1CI4“Hi” or “Bye” in Italian (“… bella”)
1CI8Aromatic spice made from the peeled, dried, and rolled bark of a Southeast Asian tree
1CI8Italian–American fish stew from San Francisco
1CO41st part of popular soda brand name
1CO5Spherical or nearly spherical bacterium
1CO5Hot winter drink with marshmallows, or the powder it’s made from
1CO6Nest for butterfly larva, noun; or wrap up like one, verb
1CO4Metal $, noun; or come up with a new phrase, verb
1CO4Prolonged unconscious state
1CO5Paid jokester, or “… book” with superheroes
1CO5Curly punctuation mark that separates phrases
1CO6Ordinary, or shared (in …), adj.
1CO4Provide for free (entry ticket, hotel room, drinks), slang abbr.
1CO9Someone who goes along with you (traveling …), pangram noun
1CO5Ice cream holder shape
1CO4Chicken pen, noun; or confine in a small space, verb (…ed up)
2IC4,6Symbol (you tap on phone screen, e.g.)
1IO5Atom or molecule with a net electric charge
1MA6Wealth that’s an evil influence, per the New Testament & Milton
1MI6Underling, as seen in “Despicable Me”
1MO5♀ parent, slang
2MO9,10Craze, noun (Beatle-…)
1MO4Sound of pain or sexual pleasure (Harry Potter’s ghost “…-ing Myrtle”)
1MO41–channel sound abbreviation, or glandular fever “kissing disease” abbreviation
1MO4NASA Apollo missions landed on or circled it
1NI10Silly-sounding long word for a fool or idiot; ends in list word
1NO6Military slang abbr. for a senior enlisted person (sgt., e.g.) expressed as a negation
1NO412:00, midday, 🕛
1ON5Veg that makes you cry when cut (for some, this is the "dreaded root veg")
1OP7Belief or judgment (In my humble …)
1PI5Liberace’s instrument
1PI6Part of bird wing, or small gear engaging with large one (as in “rack & …” steering)
1PO9Flowering plant in the bean family with fern-like leaves and flamboyant orange-red flowers (Delonix regia)
1PO4Ceremonial public display (Elgar’s “… & Circumstance March” at graduations)
1PO7Marine game fish, or “...Beach,” city N of Ft. Lauderdale
1PO6Cheerleader accessory
1PO4Tire out (I’m …-ed); or defecate, slang verb/noun

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