Bee Roots for 2023-10-22

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: B/ADEKMN
  • Words: 39
  • Points: 170
  • Pangrams: 1

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, ...)
1AB4Poetic for “in the sack” (sleeping), adv.
2AM5,6Single-celled organism that can change its shape (also its spelling)
1BA5Sound a sheep makes, noun/verb
1BA4Rum sponge cake, or Ali & his 40 thieves
1BA4Infant, slugger Ruth, or pig film
1BA5Sweet braided Jewish bread, often with chocolate filling
1BA4(Archaic) past tense verb of making an auction offer or saying farewell or adieu
2BA4,5Cook (bread or cookies, e.g.) in an oven, verb
1BA6Prohibit, verb
1BA6Common yellow plantain variety
2BA4,6Musical group, or loop (as in “wedding” & “arm”)
2BA7,8Mask or headscarf, 2 spellings
1BA4Cause of annoyance, or DC Comics villain (he’s the … of my existence)
2BA4,6Where you save your money (piggy … or … of America); or the side of a river; with a suitable prefix, becomes a verb, and with a suitable prefix and suffix, becomes a pangram
2BE4,6Drop of sweat, or small decorative object (for a necklace, e.g.)
2BE4,6Bird bill
2BE4,6Ray of light (sun…), noun; or Star Trek transport method (“… me up, Scotty”), verb
2BE4,6Legume (lima …), noun; or hit on the head, verb
1BE6Furniture you sleep on, noun/verb
1BE4Past participle of “to exist” (“How have you … doing?”)
1BE4Shape into a curve, or Oregon city
1DA6Press lightly with a piece of absorbent material in order to clean or dry something, verb; or a small amount of something, noun (Brylcreem's "A little …'ll do ya!")
1EB5Recede, especially in reference to the tide
2EM6,8Where you save your money (piggy … or … of America); or the side of a river; with a suitable prefix, becomes a verb, and with a suitable prefix and suffix, becomes a pangram
2EM5,8Plant into (e.g., wartime journalist in a combat unit)
1KE5Meat on a skewer (shish …)
1MA5Venomous African green or black snake
1NA6Take, grab, or steal something; catch someone doing something wrong

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