Bee Roots for 2023-12-16

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/CEHILN
  • Words: 45
  • Points: 281
  • 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, ...)
1CE7The top of a room
1CH8Cool (in the fridge), or relax (… out)
1CH8Bottom of face, noun; or raise it above a bar in a pull-up, verb
1CI8Easy task (it’s a …), noun; or tighten up (belt or saddle, e.g.), verb
1CL9Close fingers into a tight ball (fist), or contract muscles (buttocks, jaw), gerund form is a pangram
1CL9Secure a victory (If they win today, the team will … a spot in the playoffs), or hug a boxing opponent to bind his arms; verb
2CL5,8Stick to tightly (static …), as Saran Wrap or a needy toddler
1EG6What 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
1EN6Car motor
1GE7Thick, clear, slightly sticky substance, especially one used in cosmetic or medicinal products, noun; or become more solid, verb; or take a definite form, verb
1GE5(Smucker’s) fruit preserve, or cosmetic cream, French spelling (with 3 E’s)
1GE4DNA sequence that determines traits, or singing cowboy Autry
1GE5Lives in a lamp, grants wishes
1GE5Someone who is exceptionally intelligent or creative
1GH4Indian clarified butter
1GI7Live performance by or engagement for a musician or group, especially playing pop or jazz; noun/verb
2GI6,8Silly laugh; verb/noun
2GI4,7Fish breathing organ
1GI7Clear alcoholic spirit flavored with juniper berries; or card game
1GL4Delight, choir (… club), or TV show about a HS choir
1GL4Narrow valley, or Eagles singer Frey
1HE7Back of your foot (Achilles’ weakness), noun; or (of a dog) follow closely
1HE5Prehistoric circular monument (Stone…)
1HI4Opposite of low; or greater than normal (… definition TV), or stoned (… as a kite), adj.
1HI7What Jack & Jill went up
2HI5,7Door fastener to frame that lets it swing open & closed, noun/verb
1IC5Frozen water
1IN71/12 of a foot, noun; or move slowly, verb
1IN9Tend toward or feel favorably disposed toward, verb; or slope, noun
1IN6A baseball game is divided into 9 of these
1LE8Bloodsucking worm, noun; habitually exploit or rely on, verb, gerund form is a pangram
1LE7Body part that connects the rest of you to your feet
1LI5Feudal superior (“Yes, my …”)
1LI6A queue, what you wait in for your turn
1NE8♀ light dressing gown made of filmy, soft fabric; French term
1NE10Failing to take proper care in doing something
2NE5,8Horse sound
2NI6,8Cause slight but persistent annoyance or worry (a …ing suspicion or doubt)
1NI4Near, archaic (“Repent, the end is …!”)

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