Bee Roots for 2023-09-15

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/ABDLRZ
  • Words: 36
  • Points: 141
  • 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, ...)
1AI7Compound hoops term for a shot that misses everything (basket, rim & backboard)
1AL5Criminal’s excuse
1AR4Opera solo
1AR4Dry (climate or land), adj.
1AR4Seed covering
1BA4Fee to avoid prison, noun; scoop water out of a ship, or abandon, verb
1BI4Invoice, or actor Murray, noun/verb
1BI8Usually-plural formal term for the game of pool and several related games including snooker (… ball)
1BI8Geometry & anatomy term for symmetry that is both left/right & also around its central axis; starts with Latin “2” prefix & ends in a modern tire type
1BI4An avian; it has wings & a beak (crow, robin, etc.)
1BI8Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1BL8Severe snowstorm with high winds and low visibility, pangram
1BR5Hair or challah weave, noun/verb
1BR5Prickly shrub (… patch)
1BR6Woman who is getting married
1DI4What you turn on a rotary phone or radio knob (don't touch that …!)
1DI4Pickle spice
1DR4Archaic word for a very small amount, noun; or to let fall, verb; …s & [dreary and dull]s; start of bouncing a game orb when moving on the court, or what small amounts of liquid do when falling
1DR5Power tool with bits for making holes, or practice for an emergency (fire …); noun
2LA5,6Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1LA4Animal or criminal den
1LA4Put something down
1LI4Someone who doesn’t tell the truth
1LI4₺ or ₤, Turkish or old Italian $
1LI6Four-legged reptile
1RA5Jewish minister or teacher
1RA5Adj. for a dog frothing at the mouth or a fanatical person
1RA6Modern tire design; or arranged like spokes of a wheel, adj.
1RA5Distance from a point on a circle to the center
1RA4Sudden attack, as in “air” or police;” or insect spray
1RA4What a train travels on, or what you hold on stairs
1RA8Spectator at a horse race who watches from the fence along the track; compound; starts with bar synonym; ends in avian list word
1RI4$ in Iran, Oman, & Yemen
1RI6Referring to sexual matters in an amusingly coarse or irreverent way, adj.
1RI4Small stream

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