Bee Roots for 2023-11-12

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/BEIMNT
  • Words: 60
  • Points: 275
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Frank Deschandol

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, ...)
1BE7Straight, direct course between 2 points, compound (think this puzzle’s name)
1BE6VW compact car, or winged insect (scarab, e.g.)
1BE4It rings
1BE5Southern pretty ♀ (Scarlett O'Hara, e.g.)
1BE7Porters, hotel ♂ (plural) who carry bags in response to a ding sound (compound)
1BE4It holds your pants up
1BE8Imaginary band around waist, or railway or road around a city, compound
1BE5Nut that Bloody Mary chews in “South Pacific”; AKA areca nut
1BE5Be in a horizontal resting position, or say something false
2BE8,12Small (Stuart or Chicken …), adj.
1BI5Holy book (starts with Genesis)
1BI4Liver secretion, or anger
1BI4Invoice, or actor Murray, noun/verb
1BI6Temp soldier lodging
2BL4,5Russian pancake
1EL7The periodic table is full of these (singular)
1EL5Select group that’s superior
1EM6(Heraldic) symbol or badge (of a nation)
2EN7,11Name of a book, movie, or job, noun/verb; or a document showing you own a car or house
1IN5Computer chip maker; or what spies collect, abbr.
1IN5Allow; rent
1LE7Merciful, not strict (as a judge or parent, e.g.)
1LE4Pre–Easter holiday when you give up meat, noun; or “borrowed” counterpart, verb
1LE6Bean for soup or curry
2LI5,7Printed slander, noun
1LI4Bank hold on a mortgaged property, NOT tilt
1LI4Singsong accent
1LI4General term for an arm or leg, or large tree branch (go out on a…)
1LI4Small green citrus fruit
1LI5Size, speed, or amount restriction
1LI4(Literary verb) represent by image or words, or outline or highlight
1LI4A queue, what you wait in for your turn
1LI7♂ utility pole worker, or forward ♂ football player (compound)
1LI5Cloth napkin fabric
1LI8Oily pain-relieving liquid or lotion
1LI6Mainly brown & gray finch with a reddish breast & forehead (rhymes with the type of piano I have)
1LI4Dryer fluff
1LI6Horiz. beam across a door or window top
1LI4Low-calorie or low-fat in ad-speak (Miller … beer)
1LI6Small (Stuart or Chicken …), adj.
1ME5Confusing scuffle
1ME4What ice cream does when you leave it out of the freezer, verb
1ME6Person’s ability to cope with adversity (test your …), NOT iron or tin; noun
1MI45,280 feet, or 1.6 km
1MI4Wheat or pepper grinder
1MI6Grain used as food; pearl is most common
1NE6“Stinging” plant, noun; or to annoy, verb
1NI6Small, tentative chew, verb; or a snack, noun
1NI6Agile, or what “Jack be” in nursery rhyme; adj.
1TE4Inform, verb; or Swiss archer William with an overture
1TI4Thin ceramic wall, counter, flooring, or roofing square
1TI4Cash register or drawer, noun; “up to,” preposition; or prep soil for planting, verb
1TI4Move into a sloping position, or fight windmills (… at)
1TI8Chronology of events or Facebook posts (compound)
1TI5Name of a book, movie, or job, noun/verb; or a document showing you own a car or house
1TI6Dot above an i or j, or really small amount

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