Bee Roots for 2024-01-21

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/ADIMNO
  • Words: 52
  • Points: 270
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Wikipedia

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, ...)
1AC6African or Australian wattle tree
1AC4Trendy smoothie berry
2AC4,6Below 7 on the pH scale (amino …, sulfuric …, hydrochloric …)
1AN8South American snake that can grow very large
1AN7Atom or molecule with a net electric charge
1CA5Bean source of Hershey Bars
1CA6Alligator with name similar to British Caribbean islands (George Town) (alt spelling is the same)
1CA4♀ sleeveless undergarment top, slang abbr.
1CA4Clothing that helps you hide, slang abbr.
1CA6Leggy French dance
1CA6Unposed photo, or frank; adj. (Smile! You’re on “… Camera”)
1CA5Member of the dog family, noun
1CA5Tropical “lily”
1CA6Wheeled artillery
2CA5,7Nikon rival, or accepted (Church) lore, noun, adverb form is a pangram
1CI4“Hi” or “Bye” in Italian (“… bella”)
1CI6Noisy 17–year insect
1CI8Aromatic spice made from the peeled, dried, and rolled bark of a Southeast Asian tree
1CO41st part of popular soda brand name
1CO5Spherical or nearly spherical bacterium
1CO5Hot winter drink with marshmallows, or the powder it’s made from
1CO6Nest for butterfly larva, noun; or wrap up like one, verb
1CO4Concluding event, remark, or section, especially in music
1CO5Sequence of 3 nucleotides in DNA
1CO4Metal $, noun; or come up with a new phrase, verb
1CO4Prolonged unconscious state
1CO5Paid jokester, or “… book” with superheroes
1CO5Curly punctuation mark that separates phrases
1CO7Give an order
1CO8Soldier specially trained to carry out raids
1CO6Ordinary, or shared (in …), adj.
1CO5Self-owned apartment with an HOA, slang abbr.
1CO6Penis wrapper that prevents pregnancy and STDs
1CO5Ice cream holder shape
2IC4,6Symbol (you tap on phone screen, e.g.), adverb form is a pangram
1IN6Subspecies of cannabis plant
1IN7Bulk-mail postage stamp substitute, or other distinguishing mark
1IO5Atom or molecule with a net electric charge
1MA7Stone paving material; last name of Brit surveyor John Louden
1MA9Nut used in candy from Hawaii
2MA5,6Craze, noun (Beatle-…)
1MI4Flaky rock that breaks off in sheets
1MI5Parrot someone’s speaking & mannerisms, verb; or the person doing it, noun
1MI7Small, handheld video-capturing device used by TV reporters
1MO10Craze, noun (Beatle-…)
1NI6Vitamin B3
1NO7Wanderer; or member of a people without a permanent home, who travel to find food, livestock pastures, or work, adj. form is a pangram
1NO6Military slang abbr. for a senior enlisted person (sgt., e.g.) expressed as a negation

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