Bee Roots for 2024-06-13

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: N/GHILTY
  • Words: 48
  • Points: 297
  • Pangrams: 1
Source: ClassicStock/Getty Images via

Table content

root #answers coveredanswer's first two lettersclue for root (answer may need prefix, suffix, tense change, alt spelling, ...)
11GILive performance by or engagement for a musician or group, especially playing pop or jazz; noun/verb
21GISilly laugh; verb/noun
31GIFish breathing organ
41GIClear alcoholic spirit flavored with juniper berries; or card game, noun/verb; or device for separating cotton seeds from fibers, noun/verb
52GLGive out or reflect small flashes of light, verb/noun
61HIMark text with a yellow pen, verb; or a memorable event (her visit was the … of my day), compound noun/verb
71HIWhat Jack & Jill went up
81HIDoor fastener to frame that lets it swing open & closed, noun/verb
91HI♂ horse/♀ donkey hybrid
102HIClue, suggestion, noun/verb
111HIStrike with a hand, tool, or weapon, verb/noun; popular song or movie
121IGCatch fire, or cause to do so
131INA baseball game is divided into 9 of these
151LIIllumination, noun/verb (Let there be …)
161LIIt precedes thunder
171LISingsong accent
181LIA queue, what you wait in for your turn
192LIDryer fluff
141LYBe in a horizontal resting position, or say something false
201NICause slight but persistent annoyance or worry (a …ing suspicion or doubt)
211NINear, archaic (“Repent, the end is …!”)
222NIOpposite of day, adj. form is a pangram
231NIWhat you use when you don’t want to sleep in the dark, compound
242NINumber of justices on Supreme Court
251NIFoolish or silly person
263THSkinny, adj. (… Mints)
272THUnnamed object, noun (person, place, or …)
291TIThin ceramic wall, counter, flooring, or roofing square
301TICash register or drawer, noun; “up to,” preposition; or prep soil for planting, verb
311TIMove into a sloping position, or fight windmills (… at)
321TISilvery-white metal, atomic number 50 (Cat on a Hot … Roof)
331TIColor slightly (…ed with pink), verb/noun
342TISlight prickling or stinging sensation, noun/verb
352TIShade of color, noun; or darken car windows, verb
362TIVery small, adj., “Christmas Carol” kid
371TIGive 10% of your income to the Church
281TYFasten with string or cord, verb/noun

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