Bee Roots for 2023-10-29

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: B/ADHILN
  • Words: 26
  • Points: 118
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: The Boston Globe

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, ...)
1AL5Criminal’s excuse
1BA4Rum sponge cake, or Ali & his 40 thieves
1BA4Fee to avoid prison, noun; scoop water out of a ship, or abandon, verb
1BA4Head with no hair, or tire with no tread
1BA4Where Cinderella lost her slipper, noun; or squeeze or form into a spherical shape, verb
1BA6Narrative song; or a slow sentimental or romantic song
1BA5Unoriginal, dull
1BA6Common yellow plantain variety
1BA4Musical group, or loop (as in “wedding” & “arm”)
2BA7,8Mask or headscarf, 2 spellings
1BI4Invoice, or actor Murray, noun/verb
1BI4Fasten tightly, verb; problematic situation, noun
1BI5Decorative mark worn in the middle of the forehead
1BI8Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1BL4Reveal a secret by indiscreet talk
1BL4Dull, informal adj. or exclamation
1BL5Not spicy at all; or without strong features; or dull and unremarkable
2BL4,5Russian pancake
1BL5Unable to see, adj.; or render unable to see, verb; or a structure where hunters hide, noun
1HA8Game similar to squash, played on a walled court without racquets; or illegal touch in soccer; or a game similar to soccer based on throwing instead of kicking
1HA8Semi-obsolete term for flyer, leaflet, or pamphlet, pangram
2LA5,6Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1LI9Sex drive

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