Bee Roots for 2023-12-31

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: M/DENOTU
  • Words: 73
  • Points: 361
  • Pangrams: 3
Source: Hawaii Magazine

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, ...)
2DE4,6Consider (I … it a great success)
1DE8Person suffering from a chronic mental disorder characterized by memory loss, personality changes, and impaired reasoning (usually with -ed suffix)
2DE4,6Show off, slang abbr. (a … model impressed investors); or demolish, slang abbrev.
1DE5Evil spirit or devil
2DE6,7Reduce in rank
1DE10Climax of a chain of events, usually when something is decided or made clear, often in a story or play, pangram
2DO4,5Rounded vault on a roof
2DO4,6Terrible fate (they fell to their …), or pioneering 1st person shooter game
1DU6Soft-nosed bullet that expands on impact, lollipop brand with a doubled name, or slang for stupid person
1DU8First part of the small intestine
2EM5,7Alter text to fix errors
2EM5,6Express feelings (especially when acting)
1ME4Encounter (I’m supposed to … him in the park)
2ME4,5Viral internet funny image, noun/verb
1ME7Souvenir in English; or 2000 thriller about an amnesiac (Guy Pearce)
1ME4Office note abbr.
2ME4,6Repair, especially clothes or shoes
1ME6Experienced and trusted adviser, usually an older person
1ME4List of things you can order in a restaurant
2ME4,5Dispense justice (“… out punishment”), homophone of “animal flesh for consumption”
1MO4Manner in which something happens (… of operation), or fashion (pie à la …)
1MO5Device to get a computer online (cable or DSL …)
1MO6Very brief period of time (“I’ll be with you in just a …”)
1MO8Mass times velocity in physics, noun; or power acquired through a series of events (three successful movies gave her career …)
1MO5Slang for something huge or remarkable, or Italian for “world”
1MO41–channel sound abbreviation, or glandular fever “kissing disease” abbreviation
1MO8Sound that is unchanging in pitch (“She spoke in a … that put me to sleep”)
1MO53–card … con game
1MO8Memorial structure (Washington …)
1MO5Sound a cow makes
1MO4Emotional state (happy, angry, sad, etc.)
2MO4,6NASA Apollo missions landed on or circled it
2MO4,6Irrelevant, in law (it’s a … point), adj.; or obscure verb meaning to raise a topic for discussion
1MO4Speck of dust
1MO5Short piece of sacred choral music, typically polyphonic & unaccompanied
1MO5Short phrase encapsulating beliefs of an institution (Marines’ “Semper Fi”)
1MO4A little grimace, noun; or a pout, noun
2MO5,7Small hill or large pile (plural is also a candy bar with coconut and dark chocolate)
2MO5,7Get on a horse, or geographical name start (St. Helens, Shasta, Everest), past tense is a pangrame
2MU4,5Not able to make sound, noun/verb
1MU4Mixed-breed dog, slang
1MU6Sheep meat (chops)
1MU6Loose, brightly-colored Hawaiian dress with a double name
1OD7Something left over/remnant
1OD5Greek or Roman building used for musical performances (smaller than theaters)
1OM4Portent, or Damien’s horror films (“The …”)
2OU7,8Make unfashionable or obsolete
2TE4,6Be full or swarming with; homophone of Yankees group
1TE8Set of rooms within a house, or cheap multi-family bldg.
1TO4Large, heavy book
1TO5Symbolic object (… pole)
1UN5Encounter (I’m supposed to … him in the park)
2UN7,9Get on a horse, or geographical name start (St. Helens, Shasta, Everest), past tense is a pangrame
2UN6,7Not able to make sound, noun/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