Bee Roots for 2023-12-26

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: O/AEHNPT
  • Words: 51
  • Points: 187
  • Pangrams: 1

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, ...)
1AE4Geologic time period, spelled with an æsc; “… Flux” anime
1AN4Soon, poetically
1AN8Write something, for example music, in a specialized system; or write comments in the margins of a book
1AT5Make up for something you did wrong
1AT4Opposite of bottom
1HO4Sharpen (a blade or skill)
1HO4O you jump through or spin around your waist (hula …)
1HO4Owl sound, noun/verb
1HO4Fervently wish (I … it doesn’t rain today)
1HO6Asian dish similar to fondue; AKA steamboat (compound)
1NE4Atomic number 10, gas in lighted signs
1NO4Quantity of zero; “all” antonym
1NO5Group of 9 (musicians)
1NO412:00, midday, 🕛
1NO4Slang negation
1NO6Write something, for example music, in a specialized system; or write comments in the margins of a book
1NO4What you pass to someone in class, or ♪ in music
1OA5Grain that is Quaker's specialty
1OA4Vow or pledge (you’re under one in court testimony)
1ON4Preposition when mounting an animal or boarding a large vehicle
1OP4Pull on a door handle to gain admittance, verb/adj.
1OP8Adversary, rival, game competitor; noun
1PA9Rich Italian bread made with eggs, fruit, and butter and typically eaten at Christmas
1PA8All the gods of a religion (pangram)
1PE4Low-ranking worker, drudge
1PH5Device to make calls (tele…)
1PH5Record player, slang abbr.
1PH5Picture made using a camera: short form is more common in the Bee, long form is a pangram
1PH6Smallest unit of light
1PO4Author of verse
1PO4Unleavened cornbread, often Southern or Native American
1PO7Temp floating bridge; or cylinder full of air, two of which keep a type of slow boat afloat
1PO4Christopher Robbins’ Winnie The … Bear
1PO4Tire out (I’m …-ed); or defecate, slang verb/noun
1PO4Francis, Pius, etc. (head of Roman Catholic Church)
1PO6(Historical or British) sweet or pretty child, or voodoo doll
1PO6Strong or powerful (… [drinks]—common Jeopardy category); or able to achieve an erection (think IM– prefix), adverb form is a pangram
1PO9Monarch, ruler, or sovereign (the word includes a synonym for powerful)
1TA6Skin “ink”
1TE6Vessel for heating water to pour on crushed Camellia sinensis leaves to make a hot drink, compound (I'm a little …, short and stout)
1TE5Projecting piece of wood attached to a mortise
1TO4Character of sound, a sound (dial or ring-); noun; give greater strength or firmness to a body or a muscle; verb
1TO51,000 kilograms, UK spelling
1TO4Animated film or character, slang abbr. (car…)
1TO4Short horn sound; noun/verb
1TO5What you chew with
1TO4Small grayish slender-bodied shark, or mango tree grove, noun; or archaic term for drink alcohol to excess, verb; homophone of grayish-brown color
1TO4Reusable bag, noun; or schlep, verb

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