Bee Roots for 2023-12-01

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: F/BELOTU
  • Words: 39
  • Points: 136
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: 7Tarot

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, ...)
1BE4Cow meat, noun; or strengthen, slang verb; or complaint, slang noun
1BE6Happen to someone (said about something bad)
1BE6Pollute, verb; or make an out of bounds or illegal sports play, verb/noun/adj. (he …ed it off/the referree called a …/he hit a … ball)
1BL5Bet as if you had better cards than you do, verb/noun; or a steep bank
1BO5Critic’s slang adj. for a wildly successful show or film
1BO9Baby milk feeder
1BU4Yellowish-beige color; or naked (in the …); or muscular, slang
1BU6A meal with many options that you serve yourself, noun; or strike repeatedly and violently, verb (huge waves … the coast)
1EF6Pretentious, flowery, or weak, adj.
1ET8Spicy cajun or creole stew with shellfish over rice
1FE6Weak (…-minded), adj.
1FE4Perceive by touch; or experience (emotion)
1FE4Cut or knock down (a tree or opponent, e.g.)
1FE4Cloth made by rolling and pressing wool with moisture and/or heat
1FE4Honor lavishly, verb; from French for “party”
1FE6Condition, noun (in fine …); rhymes with whistling teapot
1FE4What you cover with a sock
1FL4Run away from danger, NOT a bug that causes itching
1FL5Group of ships sailing together, noun; or enema brand; or able to run fast (… of foot)
1FL4Sheet of ice atop the ocean, homophone of moving liquid
1FL5Openly disregard (… the rules), verb
1FL4Blunder/botch/bungle, informal verb/noun
1FL4Chimney duct, NOT a seasonal illness
1FL5Dryer lint, noun, or what you do to a flat pillow (… up)
1FL5High-pitched wind instrument (Mozart's opera The Magic …); or tall thin glass for champagne
1FO4Unwise person, court jester tarot card, noun; or to trick or deceive, verb
1FO4What you cover with a sock
1FO4Pollute, verb; or make an out of bounds or illegal sports play, verb/noun/adj. (he …ed it off/the referree called a …/he hit a … ball)
1FU4Gasoline or oil, e.g., noun; or add it to a tank (… up)
1FU4At capacity (I can’t finish the meal, I’m …), adj.
1LE4←; remaining (only 1 cookie …); or departed
1LO4Attic, or apartment in former factory, noun; or thickness of insulating material, noun; or throw high in the air, verb
1TE4Cereal grain from Ethiopia
1TO6Hard, buttery candy found in a Heath Bar
1TO4Bean curd
1TU6Wide, open, deep, typically rounded container with a flat bottom used for holding liquids or growing plants (bath…)
1TU7A long, hollow cylinder (Londoners call their subway "The …"); or ride on an inner …, verb
1TU6Footstool or low seat (where Little Miss Muffet sat)
1TU4Clump of hair that sticks up

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