Bee Roots for 2024-01-28

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: N/EILPUV
  • Words: 35
  • Points: 159
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Vermont Public

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, ...)
1EL6Hour before noon
1EN5World weariness (French)
1EN7Exist, verb; or not on tape (TV show), adj.
1EV4Number that can be divided by 2 without a remainder, or flat & smooth; adj.; or to make or become that (… out the edges)
1IN5Concave belly button, slang
1LI4Bank hold on a mortgaged property, NOT tilt
1LI4A queue, what you wait in for your turn
1LI5Cloth napkin fabric
1LI6Police suspect group, or what you do when waiting your turn, compound
1LI5Exist, verb; or not on tape (TV show), adj.
1LU4Moon, French (Debussy’s “Clair de …”)
1LU6Wolf adj.; or plant with deeply divided leaves and tall colorful tapering spikes of flowers
1NE4Hawaiian goose & state bird
1NI4Number of justices on Supreme Court
1NI7Bowling variation with 1 target less than standard; compound
1NI6Teat that babies suck on
1NU4Having no legal or binding force; invalid
1PE4Backside of a hammer
1PE6♂ sex organ
1PE5Tube pasta, vodka optional
1PI4Evergreen tree with cones, noun; or to long for, verb
1PI5Poster of a sex symbol ("model" or "girl"), or how you tack it to the wall, compound
1PI8Tube that transports oil & gas, compound
1PI6Fosse musical about Charlemagne’s son, or apple variety
1UN6Number that can be divided by 2 without a remainder, or flat & smooth; adj.; or to make or become that (… out the edges)
1UN7Flat, adj.; or straightening tool with bubble, noun
1UN5Tool for writing with ink, noun/verb; or small enclosure for keeping animals, noun/verb
1UN6Heap, stack (dirty laundry, raked leaves, etc.), noun/verb
1UN5Thin piece of metal with a sharp point at one end, used especially for securing fabric, noun/verb
1UN6Bride’s face covering
1VE4Tube that returns blood to the heart
1VE5Event location (booking a wedding …); seek to move a trial by requesting a change of …; noun
1VE6Very small body tube that returns blood to the heart from capillaries
1VI4Climbing plant (Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through The Grape…”)
1VU7Fox adj., pangram

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