Bee Roots for 2023-11-21

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: G/ADENTV
  • Words: 44
  • Points: 225
  • Pangrams: 2

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, ...)
1AD5Saying or maxim (the old …)
2AD9,10A favorable or superior position, noun/verb
1AG5Banded quartz, perhaps a toy marble
1AG5Tequila plant source
1AG4How old you are, noun; or grow older, verb; or period of history, noun
1AG6List of items to be discussed at a meeting, noun
1AG5Person who acts on behalf of another person or group (secret …)
2AV6,7Inflict harm in retaliation for something
1DA4Mild cuss (just get the … thing working!); euphemism for “condemn to Hell” expletive
2ED4,5A border or outer boundary, or to provide one; win by a narrow margin
1EG4Archaic exclamation of surprise
1EG5What baby birds hatch from, noun; or throw those things at a house or car, verb; or encourage someone to do something, usually something dumb, verb
2EN6,7Commit to marry (with an …-ment ring)
1GA6go around from one place to another, in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment
1GA6Small mechanical or electronic device, especially an ingenious or novel one; gizmo
1GA6Choke or retch, verb; or material placed over someone's mouth to prevent them from speaking or crying out, noun/verb
1GA4Super enthusiastic; Biden inauguration National Anthem singer
2GA4,6Group of thugs ("Working on the Chain …"), noun/verb
2GA4,5Hinged barrier, or airplane boarding area
1GA4Measuring dial (fuel …)
1GA6Force-feeding through a tube, noun
1GA4Opposite of take
1GE4DNA sequence that determines traits, or singing cowboy Autry
1GE4♂ counterpart to “lady,” slang abbr.
1GN4Tiny flying insect
1NA6Annoy or irritate with persistent fault-finding or continuous urging
2NE6,7Nullify; make ineffective
1TA6Identification label, noun/verb; or kids' game (…, you're it)
1TA4Strong taste, flavor, or smell; astronaut orange juice
1TA7Completely different line of thought or action (sometimes I go off on a …); (math) a line or plane that approximates a curve or surface at a point
2TE7,8Between twelve and twenty
1VA7place providing a good view of something, often followed by "point"
1VE6Short for plant or part of a plant used as food; or relax totally, slang
1VE5Someone who eats no meat or animal products
2VE8,9Live in a dull, inactive, unchallenging way

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