Bee Roots for 2024-05-21

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/BEFINU
  • Words: 53
  • Points: 210
  • Pangrams: 2

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, ...)
1BE7Straight, direct course between 2 points, compound (think this puzzle’s name)
1BE6Happen to someone (said about something bad)
1BE6Acceptance that something is true, esp. in religion, noun (negative form is a pangram)
1BE4It rings
1BE5Southern pretty ♀ (Scarlett O'Hara, e.g.)
1BE5Be in a horizontal resting position, or say something false
1BI5Holy book (starts with Genesis)
1BI4Liver secretion, or anger
1BI4Invoice, or actor Murray, noun/verb
2BL4,5Russian pancake
1BL4Primary color, neither red nor green
1BL8Flower shaped like something that rings, in the primary color that isn't red or gree, compound
1BL7Commercially important tuna variety, compound pangram made from sky color + fish's dorsal appendage
1BL5Bet as if you had better cards than you do, verb/noun; or a steep bank
1BU6Thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or another gas (the kids loved blowing soap …s)
1BU4Light-producing globe, head of garlic, or what you plant to get a tulip
1BU4♂ cow
1EL5Small, delicate, impish; as a Keebler worker, adj.
1EN8Weak (…-minded), adj.
1FE6Weak (…-minded), adj.
1FE4Perceive by touch; or experience (emotion)
1FE6Cat adj./noun
1FE4Cut or knock down (a tree or opponent, e.g.)
1FE6Veg & seed used in cooking, esp. Italian
1FI4Folder of related papers, or tool for smoothing edges (fingernails, e.g.), noun/verb
1FI4Add material until the container or hole is at capacity
1FL4Run away from danger, NOT a bug that causes itching
1FL4Blunder/botch/bungle, informal verb/noun
1FL4Chimney duct, NOT a seasonal illness
1FL5Dryer lint, noun, or what you do to a flat pillow (… up)
1FU4Gasoline or oil, e.g., noun; or add it to a tank (… up)
1FU7Bring to reality (… your dreams), or carry out a duty (… your obligations)
1FU4At capacity (I can’t finish the meal, I’m …), adj.
1FU6Pouring tool that’s wide at top & narrow at bottom, noun; or guide something through something else
1IN6Add material until the container or hole is at capacity
2LI5,7Printed slander, noun
1LI4Bank hold on a mortgaged property, NOT tilt
1LI4In place of (in … of flowers)
1LI4Cereal Mikey prefers, board game, or “death” antonym
1LI8What a palm reader checks to see when you’ll die, or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” friend assistance, compound
1LI4A queue, what you wait in for your turn
1LI5Cloth napkin fabric
1LU4Use oil to reduce friction and make something work better
1LU4Soothe (… into a false sense of security), verb; or a pause in activity, noun
1LU4Doozy, or “To Sir With Love” singer
1LU4Moon, French (Debussy’s “Clair de …”)
1NI6Small, tentative chew, verb; or a snack, noun
1NU6Small knob or lump
1NU6(About a young woman) old enough to marry
1NU4Having no legal or binding force; invalid
1UN8Acceptance that something is true, esp. in religion, noun (negative form is a pangram)

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