Bee Roots for 2024-01-04

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: P/AILMOT
  • Words: 51
  • Points: 199
  • 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, ...)
1AP6Horrify (his tasteless jokes … me)
1AT4Opposite of bottom
1IM6African antelope or Chevy sedan
1LA4Illuminating device
1LA6Portable computer, compound
1LI4Walk with a bad leg, verb; or soggy noodle adj.
1LI4Fat-sucking procedure, abbr.
1LI6Fatty tumor just below the skin, medical noun
1LO8Hard candy on a stick
1LO6Move in an ungainly way in a series of clumsy paces or bounds
1LO4Closed curve
1OP4Gemstone from Australia, October birthstone
2OP6,7Best conditions for some purpose, adj. form is a pangram
1PA4Bucket, NOT white-faced
1PA6Traditional Mexican shelter roofed with palm leaves or branches, esp. on a beach, noun
1PA7Roof of the mouth
1PA8Resembling a royal residence (Buckingham?); spacious & splendid, adj.
1PA4Figurative dark cloud, or funeral "bearer"
1PA4Underside of hand, or coconut tree
1PA4Arthropod antenna for touch & taste, or start of medical exam by touch term
1PA5S Am treeless grassland
1PA4Father, slang
1PA5Pontiff adj.
1PA7Small rounded bump on body part such as tongue (from Latin)
1PA9Small wart-like growth on the skin or a mucous membrane, medical noun
1PA5Outdoor terrace adjoining a house, from Spanish (… furniture)
1PI4Tablet of medicine
1PI5Airplane driver
1PI4♂ who controls prostitutes, noun/verb
1PI5Ground-dwelling bird that wags its tail & is named for its song
1PI4Flat bread with a pocket, often dipped in hummus or filled with falafel
1PI7Rhyming, usually hyphenated, adv. for rapid beating (my heart went …)
1PL5Hair braid, noun/verb
1PL4Construction map; omit end vowel in dish synonym
1PL4Sound of Alka–Seltzer before the fizz
1PL4Scheme, noun or verb (Roth’s “The … Against America”); or storyline in fiction
1PO5Disease that put FDR in a wheelchair
1PO4Opinion survey, homophone of above (straw, Gallup, e.g.)
1PO4Croquet on horseback
1PO4Ceremonial public display (Elgar’s “… & Circumstance March” at graduations)
1PO6Cheerleader accessory
1PO4Swimming venue
1PO4Tire out (I’m …-ed); or defecate, slang verb/noun
1TA8Red light at back of car, compound
1TA4Pack down (start of Florida city on a bay)
1TA4Spanish bar snack (usually plural)
1TI7Common bland-tasting fish
1TI6Rhyming compound adj. that means “of the very best quality” (in … condition), compound

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