Tomtit in the tilth -- the NY TIMES SPELLING BEE thread

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ITT we will:
- Crow about your QBs.
- Carp about perfectly cromulent words that are not accepted.
- Curse Sam for thinking that "heptane" is a common word.

No ses or ers need apply.

wildleee questionable baking substitutions (Leee), Thursday, 12 August 2021 21:25 (three months ago) link

Also is using considered cheating.

wildleee questionable baking substitutions (Leee), Thursday, 12 August 2021 23:14 (three months ago) link

Two pangrams today, and I've only been able to find one...

wildleee questionable baking substitutions (Leee), Tuesday, 17 August 2021 18:14 (three months ago) link

And Spelling Bee helped me with Learned League yesterday!

wildleee questionable baking substitutions (Leee), Wednesday, 18 August 2021 18:20 (three months ago) link

Pineal (as in the gland, which Descartes believed was the seat of the soul) missing from yesterday’s bee

flopson, Wednesday, 18 August 2021 18:29 (three months ago) link

yet “peen” is included 🤔

flopson, Wednesday, 18 August 2021 18:30 (three months ago) link

i tried pineal, too! i know it from the movie From Beyond where stimulating the gland causes you to...see into other dimensions and turn into an insane monster? i'm fuzzy on the details

orifex, Wednesday, 18 August 2021 19:28 (three months ago) link

Note to self: DITTOheads are IDIOTs.

wildleee questionable baking substitutions (Leee), Wednesday, 25 August 2021 22:31 (three months ago) link

I don't have a NYT games subscription so I've been doing instead.

adam t. (abanana), Wednesday, 25 August 2021 23:42 (three months ago) link

thank you for sharing that! it doesn't work on my laptop for some reason, but it will be a great diversion for times when I just have my phone

I finally gave in and got a 1-year NYT Games subscription last week, and have enjoyed doing the crossword and spelling bee each day

Dan S, Thursday, 26 August 2021 00:01 (three months ago) link

It didn't let me type into the game, either, so I think it just doesn't support physical keyboards.

wildleee questionable baking substitutions (Leee), Thursday, 26 August 2021 00:49 (three months ago) link

got 1 point from genius in today's puzzle then got completely stumped. brutal

flopson, Thursday, 26 August 2021 05:37 (three months ago) link

Yeah, the letters weren't very fun, I just managed to reach genius but mostly gave up thereafter.

wildleee questionable baking substitutions (Leee), Thursday, 26 August 2021 06:01 (three months ago) link

Trying to hit 400 points today (QB almost certainly out of reach), but I've probably topped out at 67/392.

wildleee questionable baking substitutions (Leee), Saturday, 28 August 2021 18:16 (two months ago) link

What is QB? I got to 349 points and 59 words and stopped. I like these ones where you can find a lot of words

Dan S, Sunday, 29 August 2021 01:48 (two months ago) link

QB = queen bee = you find every possible word


I love this game

Dan S, Sunday, 29 August 2021 03:27 (two months ago) link

I usually stop a few words after genius but I got QB a few times the past week. Yesterday was too much like work tho.

KPH, Sunday, 29 August 2021 20:30 (two months ago) link

embolize should have been included as a word in today's puzzle

Dan S, Sunday, 29 August 2021 22:44 (two months ago) link

The other day “unceded” was not on the word list, which surprised me as it’s a word I hear or read almost daily here in British Columbia. But perhaps it’s too uncommon in the US.

Other missing words from recent puzzles

I’ve never made it to queen bee. Closest I’ve come is the other day when I was only missing tomtit.

I’ve played this game every so often since it started but just in the past few weeks have I gotten more obsessive about it.

Hans Holbein (Chinchilla Volapük), Monday, 30 August 2021 05:40 (two months ago) link

I admittedly don't want to shell out for a Games sub so I just play until it stops me, which usually takes about a minute lol

Kind regards, Anus (the table is the table), Monday, 30 August 2021 17:08 (two months ago) link

does anyone else have words that evade your grasp no matter how many times they show up in a puzzle, even though it's a word you're already familiar with? e.g. i appear to be totally incapable of entering MELEE in any puzzle that has M, E and L in it

donna rouge, Monday, 30 August 2021 17:23 (two months ago) link

I'm sure I have loads, but the one I can currently think of is DITTO, hence the mnemonic I posted upthread.

Moz Jabroni (Leee), Monday, 30 August 2021 17:28 (two months ago) link

feign and deign a couple of days ago were impossible for me

Dan S, Monday, 30 August 2021 23:28 (two months ago) link

got a few semi-obscure words today but couldn’t get lantana

Dan S, Tuesday, 31 August 2021 03:42 (two months ago) link

he's that guy who does the youtube record review, right?

Pretty easy QB today which was a relief after yesterday although not accepting wiggity is wack.

KPH, Tuesday, 31 August 2021 23:30 (two months ago) link

Yes, got to QB for the first time

Dan S, Wednesday, 1 September 2021 00:07 (two months ago) link

the hardest word for me today was a common four-letter word, I just couldn’t think of it

Dan S, Wednesday, 1 September 2021 00:20 (two months ago) link

I was surprised they accepted wiggy

Dan S, Wednesday, 1 September 2021 00:36 (two months ago) link

got QB today too ^_^

flopson, Wednesday, 1 September 2021 02:13 (two months ago) link

came upon wight just by accident, don’t think I’ve ever heard it used in a sentence except on Game of Thrones

Dan S, Wednesday, 1 September 2021 03:35 (two months ago) link

Sigh, add THIGH to the list of common words I always overlook (and which was the one word I missed yesterday).

Moz Jabroni (Leee), Wednesday, 1 September 2021 15:24 (two months ago) link

Loanwords beef: NADA is a frequent answer (and I think that we've seen FINITO before), but not HOLA (meanwhile, ALOHA is accepted).

Moz Jabroni (Leee), Thursday, 2 September 2021 18:02 (two months ago) link

I agree with you, but it is worth noting that ALOHA is an enormously common word of a US colony, whereas HOLA is...well, not.

Kind regards, Anus (the table is the table), Thursday, 2 September 2021 19:50 (two months ago) link

Well, Hawaii is a state, but then what about NADA and FINITO? We borrowed those straight from Spanish, and furthermore, HOLA is extremely common in several American states too.

Moz Jabroni (Leee), Thursday, 2 September 2021 20:19 (two months ago) link

Yeah, I mean, I agree. I was just thinking about possible reasons!

Kind regards, Anus (the table is the table), Thursday, 2 September 2021 20:26 (two months ago) link

Another note: ALOHA, NADA, and FINITO are all valid words in Scrabble. HOLA is not.

Kind regards, Anus (the table is the table), Thursday, 2 September 2021 20:28 (two months ago) link

the pangram hasn't usually been the hardest word for me to get, but today it was

Dan S, Friday, 3 September 2021 01:20 (two months ago) link

i have a whole ran abt this ill prob unleash itt but compound word pangrams (like today’s) are super annoying and unsatisfying

flopson, Friday, 3 September 2021 02:05 (two months ago) link

I think I've found at least one other compound word pangram made of two 4-letter words in the last couple of weeks, but can't think of what it was at the moment. I liked expanding plane to biplane, and also discovering the suffix -ize to expand demon to demonize and demonized

Dan S, Friday, 3 September 2021 02:17 (two months ago) link


I think there is some validity to the argument that NADA and maybe even FINITO are words that an American English speaker might use as slang, without feeling like they are borrowing a word from Spanish. HOLA might be just as likely as those to be used by an English speaker, but I think said speaker would be more likely to feel like they are using a Spanish word for effect. It is admittedly a slim distinction but I think I can grasp their rationale. Not sure where ALOHA fits into that - it seems to be sort of in the middle of that scale, with the caveat that a lot of Americans might use it without even being able to identify it as being from another language (thinking it's just Hawaiian slang).

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Friday, 3 September 2021 17:18 (two months ago) link

it feels slightly diminishing to even think along these lines and it’s a failing of the game imo. not saying i know how to fix it. the crossword has worked out a way to include proper names, foreign words, slang mottos like BALLISLIFE and more while also maintaining a famously rigorous clue style that allows for very precise solving. it’s hard to discern a personality behind spelling bee. its dead ends don’t describe the outline of anything in particular. “is it american” is one of the least interesting things i can imagine a puzzle forcing me to think about.

Tracer Hand, Friday, 3 September 2021 20:31 (two months ago) link

i agree with all that, i guess that's why I don't think Spelling Bee is really in the same ballpark as crosswords

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Friday, 3 September 2021 20:45 (two months ago) link

The itch that SB scratches that the crossword doesn't is that iterative variation thing where you're going through -ED or -ING words. I don't need a personality from it (though complaining about the omissions/inclusions is now part of the appeal, not to mention the culture), and the anagramming itself is extremely fulfilling -- and if I'm being pretentious (and wrong), it makes me feel like I'm Nabokov.

I will say, though, that after some days that are a slog, and seeing my score at 0 with the new day's letters feels like an endless ratrace.

Moz Jabroni (Leee), Friday, 3 September 2021 21:55 (two months ago) link

As always with any puzzle or game of this nature the gatekeeping around what is omitted is where it falls down

It should wear this role as lightly as possible given the frankly nonsensical words it does allow through

I think that it is getting the mix badly wrong myself tbh

fix up luke shawp (darraghmac), Friday, 3 September 2021 22:36 (two months ago) link

for the most part when the puzzle doesn't accept a word I'm content to move on. agree with Leee about the anagram aspect of it being fulfilling

Dan S, Friday, 3 September 2021 23:25 (two months ago) link

same but how is FIEF not acceptable i ask you

the lack of footprints to trace back good days and bad is not a feature it's a bug

fief was accepted! I was surprised by that

Dan S, Saturday, 4 September 2021 02:10 (two months ago) link

Ok today's PG is pretty obscure, and I had to cheat to get it.

Nelleee Hooper (Leee), Saturday, 20 November 2021 18:01 (one week ago) link

Agreed. I got it and thought "WTF dude, how can you know that and not know so many other common words?"

Jaq, Saturday, 20 November 2021 18:37 (one week ago) link

I got genius yesterday and today Ive only found six words... is saturday always hard?The crossword was quite hard too.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Saturday, 20 November 2021 22:40 (one week ago) link

Also how is pfft a word and not pepito?

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Saturday, 20 November 2021 22:46 (one week ago) link

NYT's crosswords progress in difficulty, starting on Monday (easiest) to Saturday (hardest). Sunday is longest -- sometimes it's hard, more often it's more gimmicky.

The Bee doesn't seem to adhere to any kind of difficulty progression, meaning that any given day could be really hard -- at least in my experience.

Nelleee Hooper (Leee), Sunday, 21 November 2021 01:01 (six days ago) link

one of the hardest spelling bees ever today

flopson, Sunday, 21 November 2021 01:06 (six days ago) link

don't know how but I got the pangram today, some distant memory of an archaic word

Dan S, Sunday, 21 November 2021 02:11 (six days ago) link

I always have the most trouble with the compound words, got tipoff, but not tiptoe or tiptop

Dan S, Sunday, 21 November 2021 02:15 (six days ago) link

also didn't get potpie

Dan S, Sunday, 21 November 2021 02:19 (six days ago) link

managed to get to genius without the pangram which felt like a real achievement. was v surprised that pfft was accepted

just sayin, Sunday, 21 November 2021 05:40 (six days ago) link

Considerably more palatable today! (Although I know some players don't like the high point total days.)

Nelleee Hooper (Leee), Sunday, 21 November 2021 18:57 (six days ago) link

I got loads really quickly today, easy wins with the IN UN and ING combos

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 22 November 2021 02:51 (five days ago) link

Yep hit QB today (just the last three words with hints - as always, it was the easy obvious words that I had missed!)

Roz, Monday, 22 November 2021 03:07 (five days ago) link

there were only two un-s and one in- unless you count inning and union, which I don't, but 19 -ings!

Dan S, Monday, 22 November 2021 03:10 (five days ago) link

i got QB but it took completely unreasonable amount of time to come up with GIVING/UNGIVING after getting everything else
was a fun one today!

scanner darkly, Monday, 22 November 2021 03:16 (five days ago) link

It was voguing that escaped me (wouldnt it be spelt with an e?). I'm still not at QB yet, but I have 132 points so i guess im not far off?

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 22 November 2021 04:55 (five days ago) link

GAH the only 2 i missed were the 2 in Dan's post lol. Of all words to miss.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 22 November 2021 04:56 (five days ago) link

Today was a bit frustrating for me - got there but it was messy.






Words I didn't get without hints



popcornoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 22 November 2021 12:27 (five days ago) link

woops sorry if that spoils -

popcornoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 22 November 2021 12:27 (five days ago) link

I missed GOUGING yesterday to fall 1 word short of QB -- that one seems to always elude me.

Nelleee Hooper (Leee), Monday, 22 November 2021 18:30 (five days ago) link

I was also peeved tiffin was not allowed. And yet finito was. Que?

Course cunt was the first word I tried wannit.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 22 November 2021 21:04 (five days ago) link

If that worked it would have been in like 9 of the last 15 bees, tbh. That combo of letters has come up a lot.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Monday, 22 November 2021 21:11 (five days ago) link

Nice collection of most commonly used words here: (scroll down to Haven't I seen these words before?).

Nelleee Hooper (Leee), Monday, 22 November 2021 22:23 (five days ago) link

"finito" was our last word to reach Genius (which is our victory condition/stopping point), so i'm glad it worked!

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 13:34 (three days ago) link

the 2 words i was missing yesterday were DEFAT and DEFATTED. fake words

flopson, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 17:28 (three days ago) link

especially since FATTED wasn't accepted!

jaymc, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 17:34 (three days ago) link

DEFAT was the last one i got so sure enough i forgot to do DEFATTED

scanner darkly, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 19:59 (three days ago) link

today’s was kind of a slog for me

donna rouge, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 20:09 (three days ago) link

No tuple, punnet, unpeel and honestly whose nephew is this fraud exactly

fix up luke shawp (darraghmac), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 21:47 (three days ago) link

“unpeel” redundant, surely just “peel” gets you there

but then if that’s so, what on earth does UNOPEN mean

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 22:17 (three days ago) link

whoops sorry all jeez

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 22:18 (three days ago) link

Hahah thank you *yoink* todays one has done my head in.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 22:46 (three days ago) link

I cannot see the pangram on todays for love or money.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 22:47 (three days ago) link

And it seems theyre skating the edge with some answers I'd class as 2 words, which makes it a bit unfair (like pullout for eg)

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 22:52 (three days ago) link

Yeah today was really rough in terms of what it took and what it didn't, not gonna lie. Got the pangram and got to genius but QBing, nope. Then I got so vexed that I peeked and gah, double nope.

popcornoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 25 November 2021 01:31 (two days ago) link

Genius is good going today imo, im at standstill some ways back

fix up luke shawp (darraghmac), Thursday, 25 November 2021 01:57 (two days ago) link

Leave it there, seriously. It's ugly. You're welcome.

popcornoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 25 November 2021 02:28 (two days ago) link

tired of tomtit so wordle is the new hotness

basically hangman with some nice twists, only one word a day, six guesses max.

When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 25 November 2021 17:38 (two days ago) link

nice! got today’s on my 4th guess

donna rouge, Thursday, 25 November 2021 19:06 (two days ago) link


When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 25 November 2021 19:30 (two days ago) link

LOL got the panagram first go today. It just immediately jumped at me.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Thursday, 25 November 2021 22:40 (two days ago) link

omg how on earth did i miss HEMP

scanner darkly, Friday, 26 November 2021 05:24 (yesterday) link

important wordle rule that i just discovered: the word CAN contain two of the same correct letter and it doesn't have a mechanism for telling you that except you guessing.

When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Friday, 26 November 2021 17:19 (yesterday) link


Right now I would say I have no interest in a new word game timesuck

Then again that's also what I said about the Bee when I first saw it. Gah, reusing letters? I will never get the hang of that because it's different from Scrabble

-signed, Currently at a 223-puzzle streak on the NYT crossword

Who just re-upped for Fireball

popcornoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 26 November 2021 20:00 (yesterday) link

not a timesuck! three minutes a day at most!

When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Friday, 26 November 2021 20:13 (yesterday) link

Yes, worth it! Thanks forks - did you also bring up Two Dots? Not words but someone mentioned it and now I am hooked.

Jaq, Friday, 26 November 2021 21:21 (yesterday) link

forks, "not a timesuck" brings up problems of its own, unfortunately.

Some days I actively need to banish time. If I can finish the Bee before getting out of bed, and do the crossword before breakfast, wtf am I supposed to do for the rest of the day? Work at my job, like a savage? Fuck that.

popcornoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 26 November 2021 22:31 (yesterday) link

Got my first QB today :) I did have to cheat a bit on one word, which I completely didnt know so had to cross check via the discussion thread clue people.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Friday, 26 November 2021 22:58 (yesterday) link

congrats! :)

Tracer Hand, Friday, 26 November 2021 23:45 (yesterday) link

is "Two dots" "Two No Touch"? If so, unfortunately that's me.

When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Saturday, 27 November 2021 00:22 (four hours ago) link

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