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 (one year ago) link

Also is using considered cheating.

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

And Spelling Bee helped me with Learned League yesterday!

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

yet “peen” is included 🤔

flopson, Wednesday, 18 August 2021 18:30 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

Note to self: DITTOheads are IDIOTs.

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

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

flopson, Thursday, 26 August 2021 05:37 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

QB = queen bee = you find every possible word


I love this game

Dan S, Sunday, 29 August 2021 03:27 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

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

Dan S, Sunday, 29 August 2021 22:44 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

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

Dan S, Monday, 30 August 2021 23:28 (one year ago) link

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

Dan S, Tuesday, 31 August 2021 03:42 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

Yes, got to QB for the first time

Dan S, Wednesday, 1 September 2021 00:07 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

I was surprised they accepted wiggy

Dan S, Wednesday, 1 September 2021 00:36 (one year ago) link

got QB today too ^_^

flopson, Wednesday, 1 September 2021 02:13 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

Yes to the first word, but the words that aren't included aren't specific to yesterday's set (I was thinking tuatara, for example).

Shartreuse (Leee), Tuesday, 18 April 2023 20:01 (one month ago) link

Lol my wife has started doing this and we usually collab at the end of the night, it's pretty ridiculous as far as real English words that are not allowed ("hipping" was one recent one, but I know there have been a few even better examples, like some science-y words) vs the arbitrary non-English ones that are.

So far I've learned that they love Italian words (and some Indian, and obviously some Japanese) but hate Spanish.

change display name (Jordan), Tuesday, 18 April 2023 20:05 (one month ago) link

not all of it though, just some arbitrarily chosen words

scanner darkly, Tuesday, 18 April 2023 20:21 (one month ago) link

For Spanish, I know that NADA is accepted (granted it's pretty well assimilated into English now) but IIRC maybe HOLA too?

Shartreuse (Leee), Tuesday, 18 April 2023 20:24 (one month ago) link

HOLA is not accepted:

scanner darkly, Tuesday, 18 April 2023 20:32 (one month ago) link

After months of not really playing and generally being bored with this, I started it again recently. How is ALLUVIAL not a word? It's definitely a word. I learned it in geography class!

trishyb, Friday, 21 April 2023 15:08 (one month ago) link

It is a word! Sam just thinks it's obscure, probably.

Sid Bream My Baby (Leee), Friday, 21 April 2023 16:15 (one month ago) link

lol i emailed sam about this very word right before checking the thread

scanner darkly, Friday, 21 April 2023 16:45 (one month ago) link

Yesterday's CI word is pretty outrageous.

Today is a slog.

Sid Bream You My Love (Leee), Sunday, 30 April 2023 15:58 (one month ago) link

CINQUAIN is somewhat useful in scrabble because QUA and QUAI come up often.

Today is the first time in a month that I didn't get queen bee in before looking at the hints.

adam t. (abanana), Sunday, 30 April 2023 21:02 (one month ago) link

seriously, what’s up with repeated letters? four of the letters were present yesterday - and this was also the case for Apr 29 and Apr 30 bees

and the freaking Y again, both yesterday and today.

scanner darkly, Tuesday, 2 May 2023 16:52 (one month ago) link

still annoyed about NACELLE

donna rouge, Tuesday, 2 May 2023 17:03 (one month ago) link

Otoh a lot of Star Trek nerds have probably been clamoring for NACELLE.

Sid Bream You My Love (Leee), Tuesday, 2 May 2023 17:06 (one month ago) link

NACELLE annoyed me too, and like a lot of the Spelling Bee esoteric words I'm not sure I'll remember it in the future. I'm slowly learning to remember some though, and can make it to genius every day plus one or two words, without looking at the letter count stats and first-two-letter cues

I'm still amazed by how many four-letter words I miss. I try to focus on them first. They should be the easiest

Dan S, Tuesday, 2 May 2023 23:44 (one month ago) link

Yesterday had LOLLOP again.

Ice cubist (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 3 May 2023 02:24 (one month ago) link

lol you're goddamn right i got nacelle

mookieproof, Wednesday, 3 May 2023 02:32 (one month ago) link

I don't give myself more than a half an hour or so to do this. Today there are three seven-letter words starting with G which are obvious on being given descriptive clues from the comments and are words I'm familiar with, but which I probably wouldn't get on my own: GALETTE, GLOTTAL, GAVOTTE.

Dan S, Wednesday, 3 May 2023 23:37 (one month ago) link

Carly Simon would like a word with you, Dan S.

coolgnoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 4 May 2023 10:40 (one month ago) link

today the last words I got, only with the aid of clues in the comments, were NUNCIO and UNDID

Dan S, Saturday, 6 May 2023 00:42 (one month ago) link

sorry, I meant for them to be hidden

Dan S, Saturday, 6 May 2023 00:42 (one month ago) link

lol thanks though, the first was the only one I hadn’t got

Roz, Saturday, 6 May 2023 02:41 (one month ago) link

may never get over VLOG being an answer the other day

that's just trolling

mookieproof, Saturday, 6 May 2023 02:57 (one month ago) link

also trolling: using same 5 letters as we had 2 days ago and 1/3 of the answers also appearing 2 days ago

scanner darkly, Monday, 8 May 2023 17:02 (one month ago) link

Like the grudgingly memorized sequence laic laical lilac acai acacia?

coolgnoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 8 May 2023 17:25 (one month ago) link

yep, and don’t forget iliac

scanner darkly, Monday, 8 May 2023 17:37 (one month ago) link

Oh yeah, I'm hip to that one too.

coolgnoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 8 May 2023 18:14 (one month ago) link


Dan S, Monday, 8 May 2023 22:13 (one month ago) link

Sigh. Another day with good old laic laical lilac acai acacia iliac

Plus a bonus callaloo

coolgnoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 11 May 2023 07:14 (four weeks ago) link

I'm familiar with this from doing the clone at . If you get four of AEIRST there's around 10 words you always have to make.

adam t. (abanana), Thursday, 11 May 2023 08:53 (four weeks ago) link

I am an old print-centric creature and we used to speak of Etaoin Shrdlu.

Also Matt Fixative and his colleague Ruby Lith.

If you understood any of that, you probably need bifocals

coolgnoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 11 May 2023 12:08 (four weeks ago) link

I think today's finally accepts a word for the first that Sam had previously rejected.

Sid Bream You My Love (Leee), Thursday, 11 May 2023 16:49 (four weeks ago) link

Raffia and teff.

Minor victories in a cascade of idiosyncratic wordz

coolgnoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 11 May 2023 17:36 (four weeks ago) link

Callaloo is good not bad, I thought I had remembered it was previously rejected which would have been annoying

michel goindry (wins), Thursday, 11 May 2023 17:39 (four weeks ago) link

This is largely a game of plant and food words, afaic

Random Restaurateur (Jordan), Thursday, 11 May 2023 17:45 (four weeks ago) link

Plants, Italian food, birds, Judaica

coolgnoscenti (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 11 May 2023 17:47 (four weeks ago) link

unexpected crossover right now, with the may 14 crossword and may 13 bee. 78D.

formerly abanana (dat), Sunday, 14 May 2023 05:21 (three weeks ago) link

Wow after having several dalliances with the acacia / acai / iliac group we are back to the equally tedious cacao coca cocoa group.

I have been in love with the English language more or less since birth. It has riches beyond measure. Shakespeare, Milton, the Bible, Jane Austen, the lyrics of Queen.

And yet still I sometimes wake up at 4 AM and perversely occupy my stupid obsessive brain with coming up with yet more shapes of pasta and yet more dumb birds.

sane clown posse (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 17 May 2023 12:57 (three weeks ago) link

I have stopped doing the Bee for a while. It's very freeing.

trishyb, Wednesday, 17 May 2023 13:14 (three weeks ago) link

bee is awful

flopson, Wednesday, 17 May 2023 18:34 (three weeks ago) link

I think it's having an adverse affect on my spelling as I make up words to see if it will take them.

Random Restaurateur (Jordan), Wednesday, 17 May 2023 18:36 (three weeks ago) link

Pangram today that’s not in the word list despite being so non obscure it has its own fkn emoji

michel goindry (wins), Tuesday, 23 May 2023 09:52 (two weeks ago) link

What was it?

Hans Holbein (Chinchilla Volapük), Thursday, 25 May 2023 00:35 (two weeks ago) link

I was pleased to put in the hip musical genre 'boogaloo' yesterday.

Random Restaurateur (Jordan), Sunday, 28 May 2023 20:41 (one week ago) link

I eventually guessed infinitude, but only then tried out finitude as a reflex. It is not a word I've ever encountered before

Dan S, Monday, 29 May 2023 00:15 (one week ago) link

the paper version this week contains an “S”!!


Tracer Hand, Monday, 29 May 2023 14:08 (one week ago) link

Frustrating today to have "capacitive" rejected while playing on a capacitive touchscreen.

Hans Holbein (Chinchilla Volapük), Wednesday, 31 May 2023 05:23 (one week ago) link

once again pissed off that CAVITATE isn't a 'real' word

i mean has the guy even seen 'hunt for red october'

mookieproof, Wednesday, 31 May 2023 05:27 (one week ago) link

xps alembic ⚗️

michel goindry (wins), Wednesday, 31 May 2023 06:10 (one week ago) link

My job is to get genius on the NYT spelling bee every day and my bf’s job is everything else

— dj fuck (@eggshellfriend) May 28, 2023

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 31 May 2023 10:36 (one week ago) link

Yes that was annoying, also "capitate". And cavatappi! I thought all pastas were fair game.

Random Restaurateur (Jordan), Wednesday, 31 May 2023 16:25 (one week ago) link

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