Bee Roots for 2024-05-18

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/ABIRUY
  • Words: 37
  • Points: 161
  • 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, ...)
1AB4Be next to; share a common border
1AR9Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system, adj.
1AR4Creative activity: painting, music, literature, dance, etc
1AT5Large open-air or skylight covered space surrounded by a building, common in ancient Roman houses; an upper cavity of the heart
1AT5Flower oil for perfume
1BA4(Put a) worm on a fishing hook; verb/noun
1BA9An uncivilized or primitive person
1BA5What you use to hit the ball in games such as baseball or cricket; flying mammal
2BR4,6Badly behaved child; or a type of sausage (…wurst)
1BR4Very dry champagne
1BU7Cheese made from mozzarella and cream
1BU4Hit with head or horns (… heads with), verb; or slang abbr. for your rump, noun
1IT4Really small, slang; usually paired with rhyming B word
1RA6Gregarious, plant-eating mammal with long ears, long hind legs, and a short tail (famous ones include Bugs and Roger)
1RA5Indian yogurt veg dip
1RA6Uncommon; steak served with red inside
1RA5Sewer-dwelling rodent
1RA7Machine gun sound
1RI6What a frog says (I'm not kidding - it's really a Spelling Bee word)
1RU5Long deep track made by the repeated passage of the wheels of vehicles
1TA5Striped cat with a distinctive M on its forehead
1TA5Dark, thick, flammable liquid distilled from wood or coal
1TA4Open filled pastry, noun; or sharp taste, adj.
1TA6Fish sauce, or tooth buildup
1TA5Worn & shabby, or of poor quality; Scottish
1TA4Not slack, as a rope, adj.
1TI5Jeweled, ornamental ½ crown
1TI5Shin bone
1TR5Characteristic, often genetically determined (left-handedness, e.g.)
1TR4Use it to carry drinks
1TR9A river or stream flowing into a larger river or lake, pangram
1TU4Biggest brass instrument; Sousaphone is a modified one that can be used in parades
1TU5Derogatory adj. for someone who’s overweight (think bathing basin with a rubber duckie)
1TU5All together, musically (Italian); Little Richard “Wop bop a loo bop” song
1TU4Ballet skirt, or S Afr Bishop Desmond
1YU4Circular tent of felt or skins

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