Bee Roots for 2024-04-04

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: I/DMNOTW
  • Words: 35
  • Points: 147
  • 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, ...)
1DI6Not-too-smart person, compound
1DI4Flintstones pet, or T. Rex family abbr.
1DI4Archaic word whose only surviving use is “by [means] of” (hard work)
1DI5“Same here” or “same as above”
1DO8Sovereign authority over a country or people (Canada was a … from 1867 to 1951)
1DO6Spotted game tile (“bones”)
1DO8Scents & smoke travel in this direction, compound
1ID5Slang phrase particular to a language (“raining cats & dogs”), noun
1ID5Stupid person (village …)
1IN4Enter (go … the room), preposition
1MI4Computer music protocol, calf-length skirt, or noon in French
1MI7Central part of a large city (in Manhattan, roughly between 34th and 59th)
1MI4Intention (I changed my …), noun; or dislike (I don’t … a little rain) or heed (… your manners), verb
1MI4Smaller version (as in Cooper car), slang abbr.
1MI51/60 dram, UK music ½ note, or calligraphy short vertical stroke
1MI6Underling, as seen in “Despicable Me”
1MI6Small fish often used as bait
1MI4Breath candy or its flavor or plant source, noun; or create coins, verb
1MI4Catcher’s glove, or Sen. Romney
1MO6Action by which things change position, or parliamentary proposal; noun
1NI6Stupid person, compound rhyming insult
1NO6Vague idea, or small sewing accessory
1OM4Leave out, verb
1ON5Veg that makes you cry when cut (for some, this is the "dreaded root veg")
1TI5Lacking courage or confidence, adj. (… as a mouse)
1TI4Shade of color, noun; or darken car windows, verb
1TO6New Zealand small bird (Magnum, P.I star 1st name + breast, slang)
1TW4Identical bro or sis
1TW4Silly person (also, start of a social media platform name)
1WI5♀ whose spouse has died (black … spider)
1WI4Natural movement of air, noun, or what you do to tighten the spring on a wristwatch
1WI6Glass-paned wall opening you look through
1WI6Separate chaff from grain, or narrow down to the best (… out)
1WI4Someone who overuses fermented grape juice, slang
1WO8Non-brass musical instruments you blow (oboe, bassoon, flute, etc.); compound

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