Bee Roots for 2024-05-03

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: L/ABCFIK
  • Words: 49
  • Points: 222
  • 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, ...)
1AL5Archaic exclamation of regret or dismay; from list word for “absence of”
1AL7Grass for hay, or Little Rascal
1AL5Criminal’s excuse
1AL6Acid opposite in chem. (soluble base)
1BA7Rod-shaped microorganism
1BA8Restore dirt dug from a hole, compound pangram
1BA4Fee to avoid prison, noun; scoop water out of a ship, or abandon, verb
1BA7Court guard
1BA9Russian ▷-shaped guitar
1BA4Hesitate or be unwilling to accept an idea or undertaking; or illegal move by a pitcher in baseball
1BA4Where Cinderella lost her slipper, noun; or squeeze or form into a spherical shape, verb
1BI8Holy book (starts with Genesis)
1BI4Cheat someone out of $
1BI4Invoice, or actor Murray, noun/verb
1BI8Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1BL4Reveal a secret by indiscreet talk
1BL5Color that reflects no light; color of the 8-ball
1BL9Exclude from membership, usually by secret ballot, compound
1CA5Secret political faction
1CA6Jewish mysticism; usually starts with K (but that spelling has never been allowed in the Bee)
1CA4Baby cow
1CA4Phone, name, summon, or shout (out)
1CA5Arum plant referred to as a lily
1CA8Invitation to return for a second audition, compound
1CI5Short microscopic hairlike vibrating structure found in large numbers on the surface of certain cells; (anatomy) eyelash
1CL5Heel sounds on tile, verb; or NPR “car” show guy 2
1CL5What you do to a web button or link, verb; or NPR “Car Talk” guy 1; the quality of allowing this is a pangram
1CL5Steep rock face (white ones of Dover)
1FA6Front part of head containing eyes, nose, & mouth 😀; noun/verb
1FA4Don’t pass a test
1FA4Autumn, noun; or plummet, verb
1FA8Plan B, compound made from opposite of spring + opposite of front
1FI6Of or due from a son or daughter, adj.
1FI4Add material until the container or hole is at capacity
1FL4Soft, loose flesh on a person’s body; fat
1FL5Derogatory term for press agent
1FL5Swing (arms) wildly
1FL4Anti-aircraft fire (the bomber pilots wore … jackets)
1FL5Slang for movie, or propel with sudden sharp finger movement (a lighter, switch, or Tiddlywink, e.g.)
1IL5Hip bone
1KI8Game that’s a cross between soccer & the one the Yankees play, compound
2LA5,6Latin for lips, or lips of vagina
1LA4Absence of (talent or imagination, e.g.), verb/noun
1LI4Tongue off (as an ice cream cone, e.g.), verb/noun
1LI5Purple flower or shade

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