Bee Roots for 2024-05-19

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: O/BEILMZ
  • Words: 37
  • Points: 126
  • Pangrams: 2
Source: HuffPost

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, ...)
1BI5Large community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat, for example forest or tundra
1BL4Gelatinous mass, or 1950s alien horror film
1BL5(Of a plant) produce flowers
1BO6Type of “head” doll that nods when moved
1BO4Heat water to 212°F or 100°C
1BO4Cotton seed target for weevil
1BO4Western string tie
1BO4It explodes, noun/verb
1BO5Frozen dome-shaped dessert
1BO4Breast, slang
1BO6“Owie” you kiss & make better, mistake, or what 2 ghosts say
1BO4Sound of explosion or subwoofer
1BO5Alcohol, especially hard liquor
1BO4Stupid, rude, or insignificant person, especially a man (originally, name of a famous clown)
2IM8,10Able to move freely or easily, adjective/noun
1LI5Uncertain waiting period (in …), a place for a soul not in either Heaven or Hell, or a dance where you bend backwards to pass under a bar
1LI4Chauffeured, stretched car, slang abbr.
1LO4Brain section, or part of ear most commonly pierced
1LO4Wolf, Spanish
1LO4Hang out or droop, as a dog’s tongue
1LO4Cloth weaving device
1ME4Office note abbr.
1ME5Voice between soprano and alto
1MI5Old stencil duplicator, abbr. (missing –graph suffix)
2MO6,8Able to move freely or easily, adjective/noun
1MO4To work hard (archaic); homophone of bris snipper
1MO4Burrowing blind rodent, or embedded spy
1MO4Mobster’s ♀
1OB4Double reed orchestra-tuning instrument
1OL4Mixture, or spicy Spanish stew, NOT margarine
1OL5Skateboard jump, or Stan’s slapstick partner
1OO4Slowly trickle or seep out, verb/noun
1ZO6Walking corpse, or a mixed drink with several kinds of rum or liqueur
1ZO4travel quickly, or change between close-up and long shot, or a popular video conferencing platform

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