Bee Roots for 2023-09-16

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: R/ADFPTU
  • Words: 27
  • Points: 87
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Gadgetronix

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, ...)
1AP5Separately (… from that), or in pieces (taken …)
1AP7Soviet admin system (…-chik)
1AT5Flower oil for perfume
1AU4Supernatural glow encircling a person
1DA4Spike thrown at a board
1DR5Preliminary version of a piece of writing, noun/verb; or military conscription, noun/verb; or beer from a tap, noun/adj.
1DR4Mild exclamation of annoyance used by cartoon villains, anagram of spike thrown at board
1FA5Unit of electrical capacitance
1FA4Pass gas
1FR4College brotherhood abbr. (… boys)
1FR5Financial gain accomplished by criminal deception
1PA4Some but not all, or line combed into hair
1PR4Brit slang for a fool or butt (“…fall”); similar to “Jurassic Park” actor Chris
1PU4Happy cat rumbling sound
1RA5Nickname of Cpl. O’Reilly in M.A.S.H., or Doppler weather sensor acronym
1RA4Flat “boat” used by Huck Finn & Jim
1RA4Fascinated, mesmerized; adj.
1RA7Machine gun sound
1RA7Device to catch large rodents, or a run-down place, compound
1RU4Projecting starched frill worn around the neck, characteristic of Elizabethan and Jacobean costume
1TA4Waterproof sheet used as outdoor roof, abbr.
1TA4Open filled pastry, noun; or sharp taste, adj.
1TA6Fish sauce, or tooth buildup
1TR4Device for catching things
1TU4Grass and the surface layer of earth held together by its roots
1UP7Current of air moving from lower to higher altitude, compound pangram (hawks ride …s to stay aloft with less work)

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