Bee Roots for 2024-05-17

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: T/BCDEJO
  • Words: 30
  • Points: 137
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Ballet Focus

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, ...)
1BE4Borscht veg
2BO4,6Cowboy or winter shoe
1BO6Baby foot covering
1CO4Foolish old ♂, or water bird
1CO4Dove shelter, NOT a jacket
1DE4Money you borrowed
2DE6,8Extract the essence of something by heating or boiling
2DE6,8Make sad or dispirited; depress
2DE6,8Notice (Do I … a hint of lemon in this cake?)
1DO6Small round mark, noun/verb (… the i's and cross the t's)
2DO4,5Be uncritically fond (she …s on her grandkids)
2EJ5,7Force or throw something out; escape from a disabled fighter plane
1JE6Rapid stream of liquid or gas forced out of a small opening, noun/verb
1JE4Ballet jump (French)
1JO6Write something quickly, verb; or very small amount, noun
2OB6,8Something that can be seen and touched, noun; express disapproval or disagreement, verb
1OC5Group of 8 (musicians)
1TE4Short stick that holds up a golf ball, noun/verb
1TO4Appendage at the front of your foot (most have five per foot)
2TO4,6Short horn sound; noun/verb
2TO4,5Reusable bag, noun; or schlep, verb

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