Bee Roots for 2024-01-06

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: R/BCIOPT
  • Words: 39
  • Points: 147
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Ariadne Van Zandbergen/Getty Images

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, ...)
1BO4Lout, NOT wild pig
1BO5Element 5
1BR4Vigor, Italian; often used in music as “allegro con …”
1CI5Cloud forming wispy streaks (“mare's tails”) at high altitude
1CI6Tree genus that includes lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit, or the fruit of those trees
1CO4Fiber from the outer husk of the coconut, used for making ropes & matting
1CR4Bed for a baby
1CR6Fault-finder (“everyone’s a …”), or arts & dining reviewer
1CR4Holey shoe, or alligator relative abbr.
1CR5Small plant that blooms early in spring
1CR4Plant grown for profit, noun; or cut off the edges of a picture, verb
1OR5Path of a planet around the sun
1PO4Lacking $, or worse than ideal
1PO4Nautical “left,” harbor, or wine from Lisbon
1PO7Roof supported by columns at regular intervals, typically attached as a porch to a building
1PR5Existing before in time, adj. (Sorry, I have a … engagement)
1PR9Dietary supplement that stimulates the growth of intestinal flora, noun/adj.
1PR7Someone who monitors students taking an exam, noun/verb
1PR4Support (… up), verb; on-stage object or ballot initiative abbr., noun
1RI6What a frog says (I'm not kidding - it's really a Spelling Bee word)
1RI4Civil unrest, noun; or to rampage, verb
2RO5,7Machine resembling a human
1RO6Ornamental decorative style from the late Baroque
1RO4Plant anchor that sucks up water
1RO4Indian flatbread that isn’t naan
1RO5Device or blade that spins
1TO5Shinto shrine gate, NOT double plural of donut shapes
1TO4Bull, Spanish
1TO6Lethargy, not quite hibernation
1TO4Legal wrong, NOT pastry
2TO4,5Donut shape
1TR6Fine-knitted fabric, from French “to knit”
1TR4Musical group of 3 (Kingston …)
1TR4Journey, noun (you’ve won a … to Paris!), or stumble (… over your own 2 feet), verb
1TR5Soldiers (usually plural), or unit of Boy or Girl Scouts
1TR6Area near the equator
1TR4Fast walking pace for horses or people

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