Bee Roots for 2024-01-19

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: C/AEFLTU
  • Words: 50
  • Points: 249
  • Pangrams: 2
Source: Billy the Sunshine Plumber

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, ...)
2AC6,7Vinegar adj., or acid it contains
1AC6Existing in fact comparative adj. (The estimate was higher than the … cost)
1AC7Cause a machine to start up, or motivate a person
1AC5Angle < 90º, or severe
1AF6Influence or cause an action, move deeply, or pretend
1CA4Small réstaurant selling food & drinks (Intérnét, outdoor…)
1CA9Add and/or subtract and/or multiply and/or divide as needed to figure out an amount or value; a gadget that helps you do this is a pangram
1CA4Baby cow
1CA4Phone, name, summon, or shout (out)
1CA5Arum plant referred to as a lily
1CA7Feline ♂ whistle; or jeer at passing ♀ (compound)
1CA6Cows & bulls (…prod)
1CA4Fetus head covering membrane, or ♀ hat
2CE4,7Prison “room,” or smallest unit of an organism
1CL5Spike on sports shoes
1CL4Music symbol indicating key (e.g., treble, 🎼); French for “key”
1CL5Split (chin), adj.
1CL4Hint, or what a detective seeks (Get a …!), noun/verb
1CU4End of shirt sleeve or pant leg; or restraining device attached at the wrists, noun/verb
1CU4Remove unwanted from the herd
1CU4Religious sect centered around a single person
1CU4Adorable (… as a button) or clever (don’t get … with me)
1CU6Portion of breaded & fried or grilled meat, as in “veal”
1CU6Marine mollusk “fish” with internal “bone”
1EC5Stylé, brilliancé, conspicuous succéss; Frénch for “splintér” or “sparklé”
1EF6Make oneself appear insignificant, or remove a mark from an exterior
3EF6,9,10Result of an action (cause & …)
2EL5,7Vote into office
1FA4Front part of head containing eyes, nose, & mouth 😀; noun/verb
1FA51 side of a cut gem
2FA4,7Thing that is known (for a …)
1FA6What you turn on to get water indoors
1FE5Remains of undigested food; excrement
1FL6Wool from sheep, or fabric (jacket), noun; or overcharge, slang verb
1FL9Rise and fall irregularly
1LA4Frilly fabric, or shoestring
1LA7Produce milk, verb (breastfeed a baby)
1LA7Capillary that absorbs fat in the small intestine
1LE7Salad greens (Bibb, Romaine, etc.)
1TA5Musical direction meaning “silent”
2TA4,7Diplomacy, sensitivity
1TA7Perceptible by touch, adj.
1TA4Mineral in baby powder

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