Bee Roots for 2024-01-26

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: O/CFINTU
  • Words: 47
  • Points: 215
  • 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, ...)
1CO5Spherical or nearly spherical bacterium
1CO7Tropical fruit in Mounds & Piña Colada
1CO6Nest for butterfly larva, noun; or wrap up like one, verb
1CO6Burial box
1CO4Style someone’s hair, verb/noun
1CO4Metal $, noun; or come up with a new phrase, verb
2CO7,10Create a mixed drink, potion, or wild story
1CO5Ice cream holder shape
1CO6Duck or other meat cooked & preserved in its own fat, French
1CO4Foolish old ♂, or water bird
1CO6Soft fabric or its plant source
1CO5Tally, verb; or title for Dracula & Monte Cristo, noun
1CU6(Time or date) limit, or interruption in supply (removing financial support, e.g.), compound
1CU6Cardboard person (how you make one), or spy intermediary, compound
1FI7Book with made-up stories
1FI6“Done” in Italian
1FO4Center of interest or activity, noun; adjust a camera to get a clear image, verb
1FO4Type face; in some churches, it holds water for baptism
1FO4What you cover with a sock
1FO5(Literary) source (of knowledge or water, e.g.)
1FU8Purpose, math expression, or “work properly” as a verb, pangram
1FU5Japanese mattress, or sofa that can be unfolded into a bed
2IC4,6Symbol (you tap on phone screen, e.g.), adverb form is a pangram
1IN4Collection of facts and tips, abbr.
1IN4Enter (go … the room), preposition
1IN9TurboTax company, or know by feeling rather than evidence
1IO5Atom or molecule with a net electric charge
1NO10Book with made-up stories
1NO412:00, midday, 🕛
1NO6Vague idea, or small sewing accessory
1NO4In grammar, a person, place or thing
1NO8Labor org. (Teamsters, AFL-CIO); or in math, what you get from putting sets together
1NU6Papal ambassador
1ON5Veg that makes you cry when cut (for some, this is the "dreaded root veg")
1ON4Preposition when mounting an animal or boarding a large vehicle
1OU6Set of clothes, or to provide with one, compound (compound)
1TO4Bean curd
1TO5Carbonated water often mixed with gin
1TO4Animated film or character, slang abbr. (car…)
1TO4Short horn sound; noun/verb
1TO4Promote, or offer horse racing tips
1TU7College fee
1UN7Priestly anointing with oil; “extreme” on deathbed
1UN5Labor org. (Teamsters, AFL-CIO); or in math, what you get from putting sets together
1UN4Archaic preposition (Handel’s Messiah “For … us a child is born”)

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