Bee Roots for 2024-01-15

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: I/DHKNOW
  • Words: 20
  • Points: 78
  • 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, ...)
1DI4Drop shot in tennis or vollyball, noun/verb; or well-off couple without children
1DI4Flintstones pet, or T. Rex family abbr.
1DO8Scents & smoke travel in this direction; compound
1HI4Rear (… leg), or Sir Francis Drake’s “Golden …” ship (obscure word for a ♀ deer)
1HO8Deceive or trick someone; compound pangram
1KI5A friendly or slightly condescending form of address, slang
1KI4Friendly, generous, considerate, adj.; or group of people or things with similar characteristics, noun (she likes all …s of music)
1KI4“Lola” band, offbeat sex, or sharp twist
1KI4Chinese gooseberry fruit from New Zealand, or a bird or person from there
1OI4Pig sound, noun/verb
1ON5Veg that makes you cry when cut (for some, this is the "dreaded root veg")
1WI5♀ whose spouse has died (black … spider)
1WI9The state of being a ♀ whose spouse has died; compound
1WI4Collaborative web site, such as “…pedia”, noun
1WI4Natural movement of air, noun, or what you do to tighten the spring on a wristwatch
1WI6Glass-paned wall opening you look through
1WI4Close & open 1 eye quickly as a signal
1WI6Separate chaff from grain, or narrow down to the best (… out)
1WI4Someone who overuses fermented grape juice, slang
1WO8Non-brass musical instruments you blow (oboe, bassoon, flute, etc.); 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