Bee Roots for 2023-12-14

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: D/AILMNO
  • Words: 44
  • Points: 173
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Colonel Warden at English 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, ...)
1AD5♂ who writes sales pitches, compound
1AD5Back office staff, slang abbr.
1AL6Water-guzzling tree nut
1AM4Surrounded by, preposition
1DA4Condemn to Hell, verb; or exclamation of frustration
1DI4What you turn on a rotary phone or radio knob (don't touch that …!)
1DI7Shape of a baseball field, or sparkly gem, noun
1DI5Phallus-shaped sex toy
1DI4Pickle spice
1DI4Flintstones pet, or T. Rex family abbr.
1DO4Extinct bird; or stupid person, slang
1DO4Small human figure toy such as Barbie, noun; or get all dressed up for a party, verb
1DO5Balkan meat & rice wrapped in leaves
1DO6Area of territory owned or controlled by a ruler or government (eminent …), noun
1DO8Sovereign authority over a country or people (Canada was a … from 1867 to 1951)
1DO6Spotted game tile (“bones”)
1DO6Thingamajig, slang; ends in “father” nickname
1DO4Terrible fate (they fell to their …), or pioneering 1st person shooter game
1ID5Slang phrase particular to a language (“raining cats & dogs”), noun
1ID4Punk rocker Billy; “American …” TV singing contest; or public figure you worship (…-ize)
1IN6Not on the coast
1IN6Decorate something by embedding pieces of a different material in it, flush with its surface
1LA4Alight on the ground, verb/noun
1LA4Put something down
1LO4A unit of laundry, noun; or to fill up a truck, verb
1MA5Term of respect for a ♀, or one who runs a brothel; palindrome
1MA6Crazy ♂, compound (if plural, Don Draper’s retro TV show)
1MA48 of them were milking in a Xmas carol
1MA8Largest part of a country or continent, not including the islands around it, compound
1MA7Geometric figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism
1MA8Lute-like musical instrument, with paired metal strings, pangram (Rod Stewart's "… Wind"; featured instrument on "Maggie May")
1MI4Computer music protocol, calf-length skirt, or noon in French
1MI7Central part of a country
1MI4Not severe (a … case of the flu), or gentle (Clark Kent, the …-mannered reporter)
1MI4Intention (I changed my …), noun; or dislike (I don’t … a little rain) or heed (… your manners), verb
1MO5Grammar, music, logic, stats, & textile adj., relating to structure as opposed to substance, e.g.
1MO4Fungal growth, or Jell–O shaper
1MO5Soul-like thing in Leibniz' metaphysics; or math (category theory)/computer functional programming term for a single entity (think 1st name of Leonardo’s smiling Lisa + 1st letter of his last name)
1MO5Slang for something huge or remarkable, or Italian for “world”
1MO4Emotional state (happy, angry, sad, etc.)
1NA4Nothing, Spanish
1NA5Greek water nymph, or dragonfly larva
1NO5Connecting point
1NO5Wanderer; or member of a people without a permanent home, who travel to find food, livestock pastures, or work

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