Bee Roots for 2024-01-14

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: T/ACILUY
  • Words: 48
  • Points: 250
  • 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, ...)
3AC6,8,9Existing in fact comparative adj. (The estimate was higher than the … cost)
1AC6Sharpness or keenness of thought, vision, or hearing
1AL4Illumination, noun/verb (Let there be …)
1AT5Unfinished room below roof; garret
1AT5Move into a sloping position, or fight windmills (… at)
1CA5Succulent plant with a thick stem that usually has spines, lacks leaves, and occasionally has brilliantly colored flowers
2CA5,7Furry pet that purrs
2CA9,13Relating to a chemical reaction that involves a substance that speeds it up but is not comsumed by it (… converter)
1CA7Feline ♂ whistle; or jeer at passing ♀ (compound)
1CA7Domestic feline hind appendage; or a tall, reedlike marsh plant with a dark brown, velvety cylindrical head of numerous tiny flowers (compound)
1CI4Large town (NY, LA, Chicago, etc.)
2CU4,6Religious sect centered around a single person
2IL7,9Not forbidden by law or custom
1IT6𝑆𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑒𝑥𝑡 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑅𝑜𝑚𝑒’𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑦
1IT4Really small, slang; usually paired with rhyming B word
1LA6Milk adj. (think acid in yogurt or sore muscles)
2LI5,7Not forbidden by law or custom
1LI4Singsong accent
2TA5,7Understood without being stated (… agreement), adj.
1TA4Diplomacy, sensitivity
3TA6,8,10Action planned to achieve a specific end (negotiating …)
2TA7,9Perceptible by touch, adj.
1TA4Dogs wag this hind appendage
1TA4Mineral in baby powder
1TA4Of greater than average height, adj.
1TA6Fringed prayer shawl
1TA5Add up (keep a running …, or …–Ho! The quarry is in sight)
1TA4Ankle bone
1TA5Worn & shabby, or of poor quality; Scottish
2TA4,6Not slack, as a rope, adj.
1TI4Cash register or drawer, noun; “up to,” preposition; or prep soil for planting, verb
1TI4Move into a sloping position, or fight windmills (… at)
1TU5All together, musically (Italian); Little Richard “Wop bop a loo bop” song
1TU4Ballet skirt, or S Afr Bishop Desmond
1UT7Type of company that provides electricity, cable TV, telephone, or natural gas

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