Bee Roots for 2023-09-20

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: C/DEKLNU
  • Words: 36
  • Points: 181
  • Pangrams: 2
Source: National Geographic Kids

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, ...)
2CE4,5Give up (power or territory)
3CE4,6,7Prison “room,” or smallest unit of an organism
2CL5,7Sound a chicken makes
2CL4,5Hint, or what a detective seeks (Get a …!), noun/verb
2CL5,7Heavy, dull sound such as that made by thick pieces of metal striking together, noun; or move with or make heavy, dull sounds, verb (usually it’s a –Y adj. or is spelled with an A); past tense is a pangram
2CU6,7Hold close for affection
1CU4Something that signals an actor or other performer, noun/verb
1CU4Dill pickle veg, slang abbr.
2CU4,6Remove unwanted from the herd
2DE4,6Set of playing cards (he's not playing with a full …) or ship floor (meet me for a swim on the Lido …), noun; or punch, slang verb
1DE6Removable wooden frame used in manual papermaking
2DE6,7Draw a logical conclusion
1DE5A playing card with the number 2 on it (the … of spades), noun
2DU4,6Aquatic bird (mallard, e.g.), noun; or stoop down, verb
1DU5Stupid person (he has to sit in the corner & wear a … cap)
2ED5,6Formal verb meaning to draw out something hidden
2KN7,8Finger joint, noun; or submit to someone's authority (… under to pressure), verb; or apply yourself seriously (… down), verb, past tense is a pangram
2LU4,6Success or failure that happens by chance (… of the draw), noun/verb
2NE4,6Body part between head & torso, noun; or kiss & caress amorously, slang verb
1UN7Give up (power or territory)
1UN5Parent’s brother (… Sam)

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