Bee Roots for 2023-10-17

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: L/ENOPTY
  • Words: 48
  • Points: 169
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Lars Ronbog/Getty Images

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, ...)
1EE4Snake-like fish
1EL5Run away to marry
1EY6Small round hole for shoelaces or strings; diminutive of sight organ
1LE4Pre–Easter holiday when you give up meat, noun; or “borrowed” counterpart, verb
1LE5Slowly, in music & Italian
1LO4Hang out or droop, as a dog’s tongue
1LO6Move in an ungainly way in a series of clumsy paces or bounds
2LO4,6Solitary (… wolf, e.g.), adj.
2LO4,5“Crazy” water bird on Canada $1 coin
2LO4,5Closed curve
1LO4Pirate treasure, noun; or to steal during a riot, verb
1LO4Run like a wolf, with bounding strides
1LO5State-sponsored numbers betting ticket (Powerball, e.g.)
1NE6“Stinging” plant, noun; or to annoy, verb
1NO4Xmas time, or playwright Coward
1NY5Synthetic stocking fabric
1ON4Sole, nothing more (“I’m … human!”)
1OP6Pull on a door handle to gain admittance, verb/adj.
1PE4Skin of a fruit, noun; or to remove it, verb
1PE6Small, rounded, compressed mass (food, buckshot, rabbit dung)
1PE7Clump in a group of racing cyclists (French “small ball”), or trendy exercise bike
1PE4Bombard (with snowballs), verb; or animal fur, noun
1PE6Humanity, or celeb mag with annual “sexiest man”
1PL6Sufficient amount, or end of oldest US branded candy name
1PL4Sound of Alka–Seltzer before the fizz
1PL4Scheme, noun or verb (Roth’s “The … Against America”); or storyline in fiction
1PL4Cunning ruse
1PO4What a firefighter slides down
1PO4Opinion survey, homophone of above (straw, Gallup, e.g.)
1PO6Dusty flower reproductive emission that causes allergies
1PO4Croquet on horseback
1PO5Small growth on a stalk (in your colon, e.g.)
1PO4Swimming venue
1PO8Strong (… [drinks]—common Jeopardy category); or able to achieve an erection (think IM– prefix), adverb form is a pangram
1PY5Traffic cone or endzone marker
1TE8Obsolete printer that sent & received messages
1TE4Inform, verb; or Swiss archer William with an overture
1TE8Support rod for a circus enclosure, or a movie expected to do well, compound, ends in list word
1TO4Road use fee (paid at a booth)
1TO4An implement (hammer & screwdriver, e.g.); often stored in a …box
1TO6Drive or move in a leisurely manner, or play gently or repeatedly on a flute
1TO6Become unsteady & fall, or knock over (think regime change); verb
1YE4Shout (Billy Idol’s “Rebel …”)
1YE4Short, sharp cry of pain; or business review site & app

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