Bee Roots for 2024-05-20

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/AMNTXY
  • Words: 33
  • Points: 124
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: Pinterest

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, ...)
1AM4A supply of bullets, slang abbreviation
1AN7Study of the names, shapes, sizes, and connections of your body parts (Gray's …)
1AN5Irritate, vex, irk
1AN4Soon, poetically
2AN7,8Word opposite in meaning to another ("bad" is an … of "good")
1AT4Basic unit of matter, “… Ant” superhero, noun/adjective (… bomb)
1AX4Long threadlike part of a nerve cell along which impulses are conducted from the cell body to other cells
1MA6Wealth that’s an evil influence, per the New Testament & Milton
1MA4Hellman’s sandwich spread, slang abbr.
1MO5♀ parent, slang
1MO4Sound of pain or sexual pleasure (Harry Potter’s ghost “…-ing Myrtle”)
1MO4Water ditch surrounding a castle
1MO5Mother, familiar
1MO41–channel sound abbreviation, or glandular fever “kissing disease” abbreviation
1MO7Singular tag for famous people (Cher, Moses, Socrates, Beyoncé)
1MO8Sound that is unchanging in pitch (“She spoke in a … that put me to sleep”)
2MO4,5NASA Apollo missions landed on or circled it
1MO4Irrelevant, in law (it’s a … point), adj.; or obscure verb meaning to raise a topic for discussion
1MO5Short phrase encapsulating beliefs of an institution (Marines’ “Semper Fi”)
1NO412:00, midday, 🕛
1OA4Grain that is Quaker's specialty
1ON4Preposition when mounting an animal or boarding a large vehicle
1ON4Semi-precious agate with parallel bands
1OT7Turkish Empire; or low, upholstered seat or footstool without a back or arms
1TA6Skin “ink”
1TA5Group of any rank, such as a species, family, or class (biology)
1TA8Branch of science concerned classification of organisms, pangram
1TO6Ketchup & ragù fruit
1TO4Broadway award, or Maj. Nelson on "Jeannie"
1TO4Animated film or character, slang abbr. (car…)
1TO4Short horn sound; noun/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