Bee Roots for 2023-12-09

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/EGMOTY
  • Words: 50
  • Points: 208
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Thander via Wikipedia

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, ...)
1EE4Snake-like fish
1EL5Poem that’s a lament for the dead
1ET9Study of the origin of words, pangram
1EY6Small round hole for shoelaces or strings; diminutive of sight organ
1GE5(Smucker’s) fruit preserve, or cosmetic cream, French spelling (with 3 E’s)
1GE4Yiddish for $, bet during dreidel game
1GE8Study of precious stones
1GE7Study of rocks
1GL4Delight, choir (… club), or TV show about a HS choir
1GL4Grab or steal for your own use (… onto), slang verb
2GL5,6Darkness, or depression (…-y Gus)
2GO6,6Eye protector for swimming or skiing; or stare with wide & bulging eyes
1GO5Clay figure brought to life by magic
1GO5Informal exclamation of surprise (part of Little Richard song title “Good …, Miss M...”)
1GO6Popular web search site
1GO6Unfocused or rolling eyes, adj.; or cricket bowling variation
1GO6Large number (10¹⁰⁰), NOT a web search site
1LE5Body part that connects the rest of you to your feet
1LO4Theater section behind orchestra
1LO4Company graphic symbol; Target’s is a red bullseye ◎
1LO4Sluggish, adj., or “study of” suffix
1LO4Hang out or droop, as a dog’s tongue
1LO4Cloth weaving device
1LO4Pirate treasure, noun; or to steal during a riot, verb
1LO5State-sponsored numbers betting ticket (Powerball, e.g.)
1ME5Confusing scuffle
2ME4,5What 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
1MO4Burrowing blind rodent, or embedded spy
1MO4Mobster’s ♀
1MO5Small black aquarium fish; or actress Ringwald; or Ecstasy drug (slang)
1MO4Shed feathers, hair, or skin; verb
1MO5Place to sleep when you’re travelling (… 6, e.g.)
1MO6Incongruously varied in appearance or character; disparate (… crew, … fool)
1MO6Pattern of irregular spots; usually an adj.
1OG4Eye amorously
2OM6,8Fried eggs folded around fillings such as cheese
1OT7Study of the anatomy and diseases of the ear
1TE9Explaining things by their purpose instead of their cause
1TE4Inform, verb; or Swiss archer William with an overture
1TO6Key or command that switches between two modes, such as the caps lock key, noun/verb
1TO4Road use fee (paid at a booth)
1TO4An implement (hammer & screwdriver, e.g.); often stored in a …box
1TO6Drive or move in a leisurely manner, or play gently or repeatedly on a flute
1YE4Shout (Billy Idol’s “Rebel …”)

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