Bee Roots for 2023-12-18

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: t/ACNOPU
  • Words: 51
  • Points: 211
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Britannica

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, ...)
2AC7,10$ held for you, (bank, savings, checking…, e.g.)
1AT4Opposite of bottom
1AU4Parent’s sister
1AU4Car, abbr., or “self” prefix
1CA6“I am unable to do so,” formally
1CA4Tilt, or “I am unable to do so” contraction; hypocritical and sanctimonious talk
1CA7Medium-length narrative music for voice & instruments, from Italian for “sung”
1CA6Swiss “state,” or upper inner corner of a flag (blue field with white stars here)
1CA6Short feline snooze, compound
1CO4Outdoor jacket (trench-…)
1CO7Tropical fruit in Mounds & Piña Colada
1CO7Create a mixed drink, potion, or wild story
1CO7Get in touch with, verb; or list of people’s numbers on your phone (if plural), noun
1CO5Usually hyphenated verb: take for your own use or for another purpose
1CO4Foolish old ♂, or water bird
1CO6Avoid doing something you're supposed to do, slang compound
1CO6Soft fabric or its plant source
1CO5Tally, verb; or title for Dracula & Monte Cristo, noun
1CU6Cardboard person (how you make one), or spy intermediary, compound
1CU5Class clown, slang; or audio or video made from pieces of existing media, compound
1NA6Swimming or floating adj. from Latin
1OC8Live in or have a business in a house or building; or (said of a military force) control a conquered country
1OC6Arc of a circle that’s 1/8 of circumference, or obsolete navigation device
1ON4Preposition when mounting an animal or boarding a large vehicle
1OU6Results of computer processing, compound
1PA4Formal agreement, treaty (don’t make one with the Devil)
1PA4What a dog does when it’s hot, verb; or singular of trousers, noun
1PO7Temp floating bridge; or cylinder full of air, two of which keep a type of slow boat afloat
1PO4Push your lower lip out because you're annoyed
1PU4Football drop-kick, flat-bottomed boat, Irish £ (slang)
1PU6The act of retiring a batter or runner (baseball), compound
1PU4Hit a golf ball gently on the green
1TA4Mexican filled tortilla, or “… Bell” restaurant
1TA4Diplomacy, sensitivity
1TA4Spanish bar snack (usually plural)
1TA6Skin “ink”
1TA5Provoke with words
1TA4Not slack, as a rope, adj.
1TO7Virtuoso musical piece (Bach’s “… & Fugue in D Minor”)
1TO4Animated film or character, slang abbr. (car…)
1TO4Short horn sound; noun/verb
1TO7Lightweight jacket, or final layer of paint; compound
1TO6Froot Loops mascot Sam; bird with large colorful beak
1TO4Promote, or offer horse racing tips
1TU4Chicken of the sea (Ahi …)
1TU4Ballet skirt, or S Afr Bishop Desmond
1UN5Appropriate or suitable in the circumstances; or likely to do something, adj. (negated adverb form is a pangram)
1UN5Divide into pieces with a knife or other sharp implement, verb/noun
1UN4Archaic preposition (Handel’s Messiah “For … us a child is born”)

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