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 month ago) link

Also is using considered cheating.

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

And Spelling Bee helped me with Learned League yesterday!

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

yet “peen” is included 🤔

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

Note to self: DITTOheads are IDIOTs.

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

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

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

QB = queen bee = you find every possible word


I love this game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, got to QB for the first time

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

I was surprised they accepted wiggy

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

got QB today too ^_^

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

ALOHA, HOLA and FINITO all seem fine to me but the other day MAHATMA was the only word i was missing to get queen bee and that annoyed me

flopson, Saturday, 4 September 2021 02:32 (two weeks ago) link

it didn't take fief for me!

My mistake, it took it.

I was also annoyed that it didn't take FIENDING

Kind regards, Anus (the table is the table), Saturday, 4 September 2021 13:29 (two weeks ago) link


flopson, Saturday, 4 September 2021 14:56 (two weeks ago) link

Hoo boy, the pangram today...

Carte Blanchett (Leee), Saturday, 4 September 2021 16:50 (two weeks ago) link

i was gonna say, this is the first time i got genius and THEN got the pangram

meanwhile we're not taking NONCONJOINING, which is a perfectly common enough term that i have used when booking hotel rooms (i haven't really but let's pretend)

i wasn’t surprised it didn’t take GIGGING

flopson, Saturday, 4 September 2021 19:58 (two weeks ago) link

this species of bird junco and this plural of a word I had already found jinni were the ones I couldn't think of today

Dan S, Sunday, 5 September 2021 00:59 (one week ago) link


donna rouge, Sunday, 5 September 2021 01:07 (one week ago) link

there were some words I never would have thought of today Tori, the plural of torus, and tortoni - a dessert featuring frozen sweetened condensed milk, whipped cream, coconut maroon crumbs, slivered almonds and chopped maraschino cherries?

Also torii, the gate of a Shinto shrine, I know what it stands for but haven’t ever seen the word beforelink

Dan S, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 01:16 (one week ago) link

EFFABLE isn't accepted today (being the antonym to INEFFABLE, not something cruder), but that just makes me wonder what the threshold is for words to be accepted. I have a strong feeling that it's just what Sam arbitrarily decides (see: that one time COPE wasn't accepted).

Carte Blanchett (Leee), Monday, 13 September 2021 20:48 (five days ago) link

here’s the autoreply they send when u email them

Thanks for solving and taking the time to offer us a word suggestion today!

Every Spelling Bee puzzle is hand-curated to focus on relatively common words, with a couple of tough ones here and there to keep it challenging. We occasionally miss words, and always appreciate our solvers letting us know. As a reminder, proper names and words that contain hyphens or apostrophes are not part of our word list.

In fairness to our wide-ranging audience, Spelling Bee generally avoids terms that are hyper-specific to any background or professional field, such as terms that might be familiar to, say, a physician or geologist, but not people outside of that area of expertise. We also do our best to ensure that any inappropriate or offensive terms will be omitted.

We welcome your feedback, and this inbox is monitored to take all relevant and appropriate suggestions into consideration, but we are unable to respond to individual inquiries.

If you have any questions unrelated to a word suggestion, want to share an experience or need assistance with any of our other puzzles, please reach out to us at our Games Care email address: nytga✧✧✧@nyti✧✧✧.c✧✧. You can also follow our editor Sam Ezersky for additional Spelling Bee updates and discussion.


The New York Times Games Team

flopson, Monday, 13 September 2021 23:47 (five days ago) link

So HABOOB and NENE are known to non-specialists. Okay.

Tracer Hand, Monday, 13 September 2021 23:54 (five days ago) link

:) I like the word haboob!

Dan S, Monday, 13 September 2021 23:57 (five days ago) link

Yeah the specialist line is nonsense tbf but lookit the fun is in the try

fix up luke shawp (darraghmac), Monday, 13 September 2021 23:59 (five days ago) link

today I was surprised that they didn't accept the word billable, tried it a couple of times to make sure, but let it go

Dan S, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 00:05 (four days ago) link

oh wait, they did accept it! sorry

Dan S, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 00:06 (four days ago) link

two words I couldn’t get today both ended in double vowels bailee, libelee - which is a future reminder

Dan S, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 00:09 (four days ago) link

also surprised the puzzle today also accepted an anatomical word and two related words, one entirely linguistic and the other both anatomical and linguistic

Dan S, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 01:08 (four days ago) link

labia, labial, bilabial link

Dan S, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 02:31 (four days ago) link

sung to the tune of matchmaker, matchmaker

Okay I give, I subscribed. Questione: How do you know how many possible words there are? Does it tell you when you've found them all?

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 17:05 (four days ago) link


Queen bee scote also 2x the "amazing" score which you can click into to see on the app which gives you some idea

fix up luke shawp (darraghmac), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 17:06 (four days ago) link

i use to check how close i am to QB

flopson, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 17:12 (four days ago) link

My preferred site is

Carte Blanchett (Leee), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 17:25 (four days ago) link

Two of words I didn't get (I looked already) were SUCH obvious crossword puzzle answers, I forgot both of them pop up ALL the time but no one has literally ever used them in a sentence ime.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 18:24 (four days ago) link

pangram today was bullshit imho

flopson, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 19:11 (four days ago) link

My preferred site is

― Carte Blanchett (Leee), Tuesday, September 14, 2021 1:25 PM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

too many ads. also a bit too much info

flopson, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 19:13 (four days ago) link

I got the Pangram today and can't remember what it was lol

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 19:59 (four days ago) link

Agreed, kind of a lackluster set of letters today, even though I'm with a word two of the pangram.

Carte Blanchett (Leee), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 22:54 (four days ago) link

it was the first word I thought of in this puzzle for the first time

Dan S, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 01:04 (three days ago) link

I usually start with 4-letter words beginning with the first word in the alphabet. Today most of the words had only 4 letters.

The 5-letters were hard

Dan S, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 01:15 (three days ago) link

the 6-letter words also

three of the 5-letter words (starting with kn-) and separately the two 6-letter words were related to each other in spelling

Dan S, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 01:38 (three days ago) link

the pangram was a compound word, for the 2nd or 3rd time since I've been doing this puzzle

Dan S, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 10:26 (three days ago) link

I missed knoll, which kept me from QB, and as a Cocteaus fan, that kind of stung.

Carte Blanchett (Leee), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 15:51 (three days ago) link

Ooh today's is much meatier.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 16:58 (three days ago) link

finding today quite difficult tbh.

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 19:04 (three days ago) link

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