Bee Roots for 2024-01-20

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: B/DEGLNO
  • Words: 67
  • Points: 327
  • Pangrams: 3

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, ...)
1BE6Furniture you sleep on, noun/verb
1BE4Past participle of “to exist” (“How have you … doing?”)
1BE6Archaic “shoo!”; compound exclamation; ends in list word
2BE4,6It rings
1BE5Southern pretty ♀ (Scarlett O'Hara, e.g.)
2BE6,8Be part of a group; or be in an exclusive relationship with someone; or (said of a thing) be owned by someone
1BE4Shape into a curve, or Oregon city
2BL4,5Lose blood from your body
2BL5,7Mix together, verb/noun
2BL4,7Gelatinous mass, or 1950s alien horror film
2BL4,7Online journal, noun/verb
2BL5,6Having yellow hair, adj./noun
2BL5,7What hearts pump, noun/adj.
1BO6Make a quick short movement up and down (… for apples); short haircut for women
2BO6,7Type of “head” doll that nods when moved
2BO4,5Be an omen of a particular outcome
1BO6Wet muddy ground too soft to support something heavy; become stuck in such a place, verb (negotiations …ed down)
2BO6,7Cause someone to be astonished or overwhelmed
2BO4,6𝐔𝐧𝐚𝐟𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐝, 𝐨𝐫 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐤 𝐭𝐞𝐱𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬, 𝐚𝐝𝐣.
1BO4Cotton seed target for weevil
1BO4Western string tie
1BO6Candy, or 2X “good" in French
2BO4,6Agent 007, Brit spy James
2BO4,5Skeleton part, or what dogs chew & bury; study intensely
1BO4Water pipe for smoking weed, or sound of a large bell
1BO5Paired small drum held between the knees
1BO6Small ape related to chimps
1BO5Express disapproval at a game, verb; what ghosts say
1BO4Breast, slang
1BO6“Owie” you kiss & make better, mistake, or what 2 ghosts say
1BO6Large amount of money, usually gotten illegally; rhymes with absent-minded drawing
1BO4Favor, poetic (grant me a …), noun
2BO10,11Wasteful or pointless activity that gives the appearance of having value, noun/verb
2DE6,7Skeleton part, or what dogs chew & bury; study intensely
1EB5Recede, especially in reference to the tide
1EB4Black, poetic; and/or black wood (“… & Ivory”)
2EN7,8Aristocrat, aristocratic, or righteous, NOT a Peace Prize from Oslo
1GL4Semi-liquid lump, as in cheese
1GL5The whole earth, or a model of it, usually on a stand that allows it to spin
2GO6,7Eat quickly and noisily; or sound that turkeys make
1LO6Throw or hit a ball high in the air, verb/noun
2LO4,5Brain section, or part of ear most commonly pierced
1LO4Wolf, Spanish
1NO5Aristocrat, aristocratic, or righteous, NOT a Peace Prize from Oslo
1NO4Beginner, gamer slang
1OB6Having an stretched-out rectangular or oval shape; ends in list word
1OB4Double reed orchestra-tuning instrument

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