Bee Roots for 2023-09-29

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/ABCJKT
  • Words: 34
  • Points: 137
  • Pangrams: 2

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, ...)
1AB5Head monk, perhaps at Downton
1BA6African tree
1BO4Small ship, as in “tug-”
1BO4Taiwan sweet tea with gelatin pearls
1BO6Wild feline larger than a pet, with ♂ name at start
1BO4Dark German lager, or chicken sound
1BO4Breast, slang
1BO6“Owie” you kiss & make better, mistake, or what 2 ghosts say
1BO4Printed novel, noun; or reserve something, verb
1BO4Cowboy or winter shoe
1BO8Gadget to help you take off your cowboy or winter shoes, compound pangram
1CA5Bean source of Hershey Bars
1CO4Outdoor jacket (trench-…)
1CO41st part of popular soda brand name
1CO4Rooster, or slang for penis
1CO8Crested parrot species
1CO5Hot winter drink with marshmallows, or the powder it’s made from
1CO4Prep or heat food
1CO8Bound, printed recipes (e.g. Fanny Farmer’s), compound
1CO4Foolish old ♂, or water bird
1JA5Ornamental frill or ruffle on the front of a shirt or blouse, typically made of lace
1JA8Large leather military shoe reaching to the knee, often used as a symbol of authoritarian rule, compound pangram
1JO4Slang for a (dumb?) ♂ athlete, esp. in school
1JO6Southwestern shrub AKA goat nut whose oil is used for cosmetics & meds (starts with guy in Beatles “Get Back”)
1KA5Meat on a skewer (shish …)
1KO4Crazy or eccentric person, NOT a chef
1TA5Forbidden, cultural no-nos
1TA4Mexican filled tortilla, or “… Bell” restaurant
1TA6Skin “ink”
1TO4Reach for and hold; remove (… away)
1TO7Cigarette, cigar, or pipe filler
1TO7Virtuoso musical piece (Bach’s “...& Fugue in D Minor”)
1TO42nd half of a timepiece sound
1TO4Short horn sound; noun/verb

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