Bee Roots for 2023-12-07

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: I/CFLNOT
  • Words: 55
  • Points: 251
  • 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, ...)
1CL5Steep rock face (white ones of Dover)
1CL6Medical facility (health …)
1CO5Spherical or nearly spherical bacterium
1CO6Burial box
1CO4Style someone’s hair, verb/noun
1CO4Wind up spirally, verb/noun (Hamlet’s “mortal …”)
1CO4Metal $, noun; or come up with a new phrase, verb
1CO5Baby or horse upset tummy
1CO7: (punctuation mark), or intestine
1CO10Create a mixed drink, potion, or wild story
1CO5Ice cream holder shape
1CO6Duck or other meat cooked & preserved in its own fat, French
1CO8Serious disagreement or argument, noun/verb
1CO9Debutante ball
1FI7Book with made-up stories
1FI4Add material until the container or hole is at capacity
1FI6“Done” in Italian
1FL5Michigan city with tainted water, or stone that makes sparks
1FL4Move swiftly & lightly, as a bird, e.g. (… about)
1FO4Center of interest or activity, noun; adjust a camera to get a clear image, verb
1FO4Thin aluminum sheet for wrapping leftovers, noun; or thwart, verb (Curses! …ed again)
1FO5B-vitamin that treats anemia (… acid)
1FO5A book (A Shakespeare first … is quite valuable), a page in a book, or a book size; from Latin for “leaf”
2IC4,6Symbol (you tap on phone screen, e.g.), adverb form is a pangram
1IL7Not forbidden by law or custom
1IN6Add material until the container or hole is at capacity
2IN7,10Cause something unpleasant to be suffered by someone (injuries, damage)
1IN4Collection of facts and tips, abbr.
1IN4Enter (go … the room), preposition
1IO5Atom or molecule with a net electric charge
1LI5Not forbidden by law or custom
1LI4Raise up (fork…), not Uber competitor
1LI7The moment a rocket leaves the ground, compound
1LI4Singsong accent
1LI4Dryer fluff
1LI4Roaring animal that travels in a pride (… King)
1LO4A particular point or place
1LO4Sex organ region of body (fruit of my …s); anagram of “… King” animal
1LO6Moisturizing or suntan cream
1NO10Book with made-up stories
1NO91 followed 30 zeroes; Latin 9 prefix
1NO6Vague idea, or small sewing accessory
1OC91 followed 27 zeroes; Latin 8 prefix
1OL4Mixture, or spicy Spanish stew, NOT margarine
1ON5Veg that makes you cry when cut (for some, this is the "dreaded root veg")
1TI4Petty quarrel, or computer image format
1TI4Cash register or drawer, noun; “up to,” preposition; or prep soil for planting, verb
1TI4Move into a sloping position, or fight windmills (… at)
1TI5Archaic for shade of color, seen now only in “–URE of iodine”
1TI7Thin metal sheet for wrapping leftovers or making hats for conspiracy theorists, compound
1TI4Shade of color, noun; or darken car windows, verb
1TO4Work hard (… away, trying to find the last few Spelling Bee words)
1TO5Carbonated water often mixed with gin

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