Bee Roots for 2023-10-23

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: R/AGHLMO
  • Words: 34
  • Points: 140
  • 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, ...)
1AA5Sound of frustration (from a pirate?)
1AG4Seaweed gel used as food thickener & bacteria culture medium
1AG5Ancient Greek market
1AL5Warning (bell)
1AM6Principled, ethical, adjective; or the lesson of a story, noun
1AR5Protective covering against weapons (suit of …)
1AR5Pleasant smell (baking bread, e.g.)
1GL6Movie star beauty & style; or women’s magazine, British spelling is a pangram
1GR4Metric mass unit, equal to the mass of one cc of water
1GR7System of structure rules for a language
1GR6Your parent's Mom (informal)
1GR4Watered-down (nautical) rum
1GR5Bride’s ♂ counterpart, noun; or brush & clean yourself or an animal
1HA5Forbidden by Islamic law
1HA4Physical injury, especially if deliberately inflicted, noun/verb
1HO4Crystallized frost
1HO8Three-dimensional image formed by the interference of light beams from a laser, pangram
1HO6US Marine cheer word, each syllable pronounced separately
1HO4Jewish circle dance (“The …”)
1HO6Scary Steven King genre
1LA5Florida Key (Bacall/Bogart film noir), or slow & dignified music tempo
1LO8Linguistics term for a sign or char. representing word or phrase (shorthand & Chinese, e.g.)
1LO7Balance competition with timber in water, compound
1MA9Breast X–ray, ends with metric mass unit
1MA4Old-timey schoolteacher honorific
1MO5Grinding back tooth
1MO4Othello (“The …”), noun; or tract of open uncultivated upland (British noun); or tie up a boat, verb
1MO5Principled, ethical, adjective; or the lesson of a story, noun
1OR4Spoken (… exam), or by mouth (… surgery), adjective
1RA4Indian ♫ pattern used as basis for improv, starts with old cloth
1RO4Wander, or use your phone on another network
1RO4Lion “shout”
1RO4What you do to dice, verb; or Tootsie candy & small bread format, noun
1RO4Chamber of a house (kitchen, bed-…, bath-…), 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