Bee Roots for 2023-10-09

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: G/CHILNT
  • Words: 53
  • Points: 364
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: ClassicStock/Getty Images via

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, ...)
1CH8Cool (in the fridge), or relax (… out)
1CH8Bottom of face, noun; or raise it above a bar in a pull-up, verb
1CI8Easy task (it’s a …), noun; or tighten up (belt or saddle, e.g.), verb
1CI6Quote as evidence
1CL9Secure a victory (If they win today, the team will … a spot in the playoffs), or hug a boxing opponent to bind his arms; verb
2CL5,8Stick to tightly (static …), as Saran Wrap or a needy toddler
1GI7Live performance by or engagement for a musician or group, especially playing pop or jazz; noun/verb
1GI8Silly laugh; verb/noun
1GI4Coat with element Au, atomic no. 79
2GI4,7Fish breathing organ
1GI7Clear alcoholic spirit flavored with juniper berries; or card game
2GL5,8Give out or reflect small flashes of light, verb/noun
2GL6,9Sudden, usually temporary, malfunction, noun/verb, gerund is a pangram
1HI4Opposite of low; or greater than normal (… definition TV), or stoned (… as a kite), adj.
2HI9,12Mark text with a yellow pen, verb; or a memorable event (her visit was the … of my day), compound noun/verb
1HI7What Jack & Jill went up
1HI7Door fastener to frame that lets it swing open & closed, noun/verb
1HI7Clue, suggestion, noun/verb
1HI7Strike with a hand, tool, or weapon, verb/noun; popular song or movie
1HI8“Psycho” director Alfred nickname, or slang for thumb a ride, verb; or device on a vehicle that allows it to attach a trailer, noun
1IC5Frozen water
1IG8Catch fire, or cause to do so
1IN71/12 of a foot, noun; or move slowly, verb
1IN8Provoke unlawful behavior (… a riot)
1IN9Tend toward or feel favorably disposed toward, verb; or slope, noun
1IN6A baseball game is divided into 9 of these
1IT7What you scratch (an …)
2LI5,8Illumination, noun/verb (Let there be …)
1LI9It precedes thunder
1LI7Singsong accent
1LI6A queue, what you wait in for your turn
1NI8Cause slight but persistent annoyance or worry (a …ing suspicion or doubt)
1NI4Near, archaic (“Repent, the end is …!”)
1NI5Opposite of day
1NI10What you use when you don’t want to sleep in the dark, compound
1TH5Part of leg between hip & knee
1TH8Skinny, adj. (… Mints)
1TH5Unnamed object, noun (person, place, or …)
1TI5Having no slack (all my pants became too … during the pandemic), adj.
1TI6Thin ceramic wall, counter, flooring, or roofing square
1TI7Cash register or drawer, noun; “up to,” preposition; or prep soil for planting, verb
1TI7Move into a sloping position, or fight windmills (… at)
1TI7Color slightly (…ed with pink), verb/noun
1TI8Slight prickling or stinging sensation, noun/verb
1TI7Shade of color, noun; or darken car windows, verb
1TI7Give 10% of your income to the Church
1TI7Name of a book, movie, or job, noun/verb; or a document showing you own a car or house

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