Bee Roots for 2024-02-01

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: U/BDEHLM
  • Words: 49
  • Points: 242
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Britannica

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, ...)
1BL4Primary color, neither red nor green
1BL8Flower shaped like something that rings, in the primary color that isn't red or gree, compound
2BU6,7Thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or another gas (the kids loved blowing soap …s)
1BU6Part of a plant that will become a flower, noun/verb
2BU4,6Light-producing globe, head of garlic, or what you plant to get a tulip
1BU4♂ cow
1BU6vagrant, noun; get by asking or begging, verb
2BU6,7Move, speak, or act in a confused manner; or a dating app
1BU9This puzzle’s logo, compound
2DE6,7Believe true even when you know better
1DU6Add sound, usually in a different language than the original, to video; or, give an informal name or nickname
2DU4,5Slang for “guy” (Aerosmith “… Looks Like a Lady”), noun; dress up elaborately, verb
2DU4,6Pistol fight at dawn
2DU4,6Not shiny, adjective/verb
2DU4,6Stupid, or unable to speak (struck …)
1DU8Free weights, or slang for a stupid person, compound
1DU6Soft-nosed bullet that expands on impact, lollipop brand with a doubled name, or slang for stupid person
2EL5,6Dodge, or fail to be grasped
1HU6Chaotic din caused by a crowd of people, rhyming compound noun
2HU6,7Football team field meeting
1HU4Color or shade
2HU4,6Base of ship, or skin of nuts
1HU6Make a low, steady continuous sound like that of a bee
2HU6,7Showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance (eat … pie), adj/verb
2LU4,5Use oil to reduce friction and make something work better
2LU4,6Soothe (… into a false sense of security), verb; or a pause in activity, noun
1LU4Doozy, or “To Sir With Love” singer
2MU6,7Bring into a disordered or confused state, or cope (… through) despite lack of experience, planning, or equipment; starts with wet dirt
1MU4Pack animal that’s an offspring of a ♂ donkey & ♀ horse; or a backless shoe
2MU4,6Think over, heat cider or wine, verb; or actor Martin
2MU6,7Speak indistinctly & quietly
1MU6Loose, brightly-colored Hawaiian dress with a double name

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