Bee Roots for 2024-02-04

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: A/CEINTY
  • Words: 60
  • Points: 311
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: The Strategist

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
1AC6Foreign pronunciation (Ricky speaks with a Cuban…), or stress marks on letters (à é ì ó ù)
2AC6,7Vinegar adj., or acid it contains
1AC4Teen facial zits
1AN7Belonging to the very distant past (the … Greeks built the Parthenon)
1AN4$ to join a poker game, or “before” prefix
2AN7,8It picks up TV or radio signals
1AN4Opposed to (prefix), NOT uncle’s wife nickname
1AN5Childish or playful tomfoolery, usually plural
1AT6Succeed in getting, or reach; verb (… nirvana), noun form is a pangram
1AT5Unfinished room below roof; garret
1CA5Succulent plant with a thick stem that usually has spines, lacks leaves, and occasionally has brilliantly colored flowers
1CA6Leggy French dance
1CA4Walking stick, or striped peppermint Xmas crook
1CA6Dog family, or pointy tooth
1CA5Tropical “lily”
1CA5Shrewd; or soup tin adj.
1CA4Tilt, or “I am unable to do so” contraction; hypocritical and sanctimonious talk
1CA7Medium-length narrative music for voice & instruments, from Italian for “sung”
1CA7Army or scout water flask
1CA7Mexican or Spanish bar, or the Mos Eisley bar on Tatooine in “Star Wars”
1CA5Furry pet that purrs
1CA7Hot chili pepper
1CE8Whale & dolphin noun or adj. from Latin order name
1CY4Greenish-blue (ink cartridge)
1EA5Consume food
1EN5Make a bill into law
2IN5,7Stupid, silly, ridiculous (… questions or comments); adj.
1IN6Recite a spell or a prayer; chant or intone, verb, usually occurs in its -ation noun form
1IN8Cause to begin, or admit into a secret society; verb; or novice, noun
1IN6Present from birth (… behavior), adj.
1IN6Not damaged or impaired in any way; complete (I left with my dignity …), adj.
1NA4Indiaan flaat breaad
1NA4Grandma, slang; or Peter Pan dog
1NA5♀ goat, or nursemaid
1NA6Swimming or floating adj. from Latin
1NA5Well dressed, adj.
1NI6Vitamin B3
1TA5Musical direction meaning “silent”
1TA5Understood without being stated (… agreement), adj.
1TA4Diplomacy, sensitivity
2TA6,9Action planned to achieve a specific end (negotiating …)
1TA5Smear of corruption or pollution, noun/verb
2TA6,6Brown chemical in tea & wine used to preserve leather, noun
1TA5Worn & shabby, or of poor quality; Scottish
1TE8Persistence, determination (pangram)
2TE6,7Person a landlord rents to
2TI5,7Pre-Olympic god, largest Saturn moon, or industry bigwig
1YE5Matchmaker or gossip, Yiddish

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