Bee Roots for 2023-12-28

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: A/EGLUVY
  • Words: 51
  • Points: 218
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: The Sun

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, ...)
1AG5Tequila plant source
1AG4Old fashioned word for illness involving fever and shivering
3AL4,5,5Pond scum
1AL5Put (fears) at rest
1AL6Claim without proof
1AL6(Bio term) 1 of 2 or more versions of a gene
1AL5Narrow passageway between buildings. (… cat, …-oop)
1AL4Friend (person, country) who joins you for a common purpose in a conflict, noun/verb
1EA5A bald one is the USA's national bird
1EA4Roof overhang, NOT Adam’s mate
1GA4Super enthusiastic; Biden inauguration National Anthem singer
1GA6A “herd” of geese
1GA4Formal ball or fundraiser (The Met …, e.g.)
1GA4Strong wind storm
1GA4Liver secretion, or bold behavior
1GA6Ship or plane kitchen
2GA4,5Measuring dial (fuel …)
1GA6Force-feeding through a tube, noun
1GA5Judge's hammer
1GA5Homosexual (used especially of a man); lighthearted and carefree (dated)
1GA4Opposite of take
1GU5Tropical fruit
1GU5Soviet labor camp
1LA5Fall behind, verb/noun
1LA4Molten rock from a volcano
1LA6Literary or medical term for washing a body part
1LA8Dawdle, slang (ends in “mouth covering” synonym)
1LE6Group of sports teams that compete; or archaic measure of distance, usually about three miles
1LE5Depart, verb
2LE5,7Law adj. (not forbidden by law)
1LU4Hawaiian BBQ
1LU7Suitcases and carry-ons
1UV4Pigmented eye layer beneath the white part
2UV5,6It hangs above your throat at the back of your mouth
2VA5,7Uncertain, unclear, approximate (… hints)
1VA5Tenth cranial nerve, supplying the heart, lungs, and upper digestive tract
1VA4Low area of land between mountains (… of Tears)
1VA6Low area of land between hills or mountains, typically with a river or stream flowing through it
1VA5What something’s worth (retail … of a used car)
1VA5Device that controls passage of fluid or air (shut-off …, heart …)
1VE4Calf meat (… Parmesan)
3VU5,6,6♀ outer genitals

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