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 (two years ago) link

Also is using considered cheating.

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

And Spelling Bee helped me with Learned League yesterday!

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

yet “peen” is included 🤔

flopson, Wednesday, 18 August 2021 18:30 (two years 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 (two years ago) link

Note to self: DITTOheads are IDIOTs.

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

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

flopson, Thursday, 26 August 2021 05:37 (two years 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 (two years 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 years 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 years ago) link

QB = queen bee = you find every possible word


I love this game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, got to QB for the first time

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

I was surprised they accepted wiggy

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

got QB today too ^_^

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

NYT Spelling Bee After Dark

Great-Tasting Burger Perceptions (Old Lunch), Friday, 5 January 2024 15:09 (five months ago) link

Sam Ezersky, for it is he, is even more frustrating when he’s creating crosswords so I’m glad that spelling bee keeps him busy enough

Roz, Friday, 5 January 2024 16:37 (five months ago) link

tried ROBOCOP and BRITPOP yesterday but i guess sam is no fan of either

scanner darkly, Sunday, 7 January 2024 18:03 (five months ago) link

The first word I saw when I opened this game today was alchemical, and I thought that was pretty good, and I was disappointed.

Hans Holbein (Chinchilla Volapük), Monday, 8 January 2024 03:24 (five months ago) link


Roz, Monday, 8 January 2024 03:28 (five months ago) link

Thirded. And I usually try to get QB with hints but after one too many "IDK what this thing is" clues I just gave up.

Captain Sisko and Ebert (Leee), Monday, 8 January 2024 03:30 (five months ago) link

big words today

mookieproof, Monday, 8 January 2024 08:17 (five months ago) link


Roz, Wednesday, 10 January 2024 13:02 (five months ago) link


CthulhuLululemon (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 10 January 2024 18:36 (five months ago) link


mookieproof, Friday, 12 January 2024 15:35 (five months ago) link

I feel if The Bear can win all the Golden Globes we can at least have a COOKBRO

Andrew Farrell, Friday, 12 January 2024 15:44 (five months ago) link

okay not accepting MONOACID is ridiculous even by sam’s standards

scanner darkly, Sunday, 21 January 2024 17:12 (four months ago) link

The other day we were mad that it didn't take CETACEA

Jordan s/t (Jordan), Sunday, 21 January 2024 17:30 (four months ago) link

and i guess NONACIDIC is such an obscure word too. not
sam must’ve failed chemistry since he hates it so much

scanner darkly, Sunday, 21 January 2024 18:44 (four months ago) link

Ah, the daily ritual of Bee annoyance, what Sam will and won't include.

I love the smell of grievance in the morning

Wine not? (Ye Mad Puffin), Sunday, 21 January 2024 19:11 (four months ago) link

three weeks pass...

Allow me to grouse about a word that is not accepted today:

Selune Gomez (Leee), Tuesday, 13 February 2024 16:05 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Last night's real words that were not accepted: BARDO and DOBRO.

Jordan s/t (Jordan), Tuesday, 27 February 2024 20:53 (three months ago) link


Roz, Friday, 1 March 2024 13:08 (three months ago) link

came here to post the same sentiment. i mean it’s one thing to cherry pick what’s accepted and what’s not, but this is pretty ridiculous

scanner darkly, Friday, 1 March 2024 18:30 (three months ago) link

(i haven’t finished the bee yet but opened the spoilers because i knew exactly which words you meant lol)

scanner darkly, Friday, 1 March 2024 18:31 (three months ago) link

Just out of devil's advocacy, have you really ever said, or written, EFFABLE?

Or, like, vincible, couth, plussed, sheveled?

alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 1 March 2024 19:05 (three months ago) link

Selune Gomez (Leee), Friday, 1 March 2024 20:22 (three months ago) link

sam is a force of nature and we mere humans can attempt to rationalize his decision making but the point of this game is precisely the lack of any rhyme or reason when it comes to what’s accepted and what’s not

scanner darkly, Friday, 1 March 2024 21:19 (three months ago) link

ppl love knowing the name of the dude who randomly deleted some words from the list of words

cozen itt (wins), Friday, 1 March 2024 21:37 (three months ago) link

Scanner darkly, I have said before that if anyone else curated the list, the list would be just as arbitrary (just in a different way). What is obscure, what is obscene, what is a variant spelling.

Sam is okay with pipit, pippin, tallit, cabala, and dildo. He likes the acacia and acai combo, plus cacao cocoa coca.

The game is not (and has never been) "every word." Even Scrabble isn't "every word"; it's "every word in the official dictionary," which may mean the US Scrabble dictionary or SOWPODS or whatever.

alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 1 March 2024 22:29 (three months ago) link

it’s not arbitrary at all, it’s a character study of sam ezersky in chiaroscuro

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Friday, 1 March 2024 22:45 (three months ago) link

^ best use of "chiaroscuro" in ilx history; thanking u

alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 1 March 2024 22:57 (three months ago) link

i doff my cap sir

anyway that's why i like the paper one, because there is a word list, but (as i have probably bored you with already on this thread) you are actively encouraged to count other words not on the list if you deem them acceptable (by whatever your own criteria are), so actually every paper spelling bee becomes a character study of YOU!

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Friday, 1 March 2024 23:04 (three months ago) link

Gutted that I tapped out at Amazing on Friday. Ended my 26 day Genius run. On my birthday, even!

avoid boring people, Sunday, 10 March 2024 21:30 (three months ago) link

did sam forget to turn in his homework or

mookieproof, Wednesday, 20 March 2024 12:02 (two months ago) link

wha happen

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 20 March 2024 12:10 (two months ago) link

my app refuses to update with wednesday’s

mookieproof, Wednesday, 20 March 2024 12:21 (two months ago) link

ok sam is just plain trolling us with that pangram at this point, right

scanner darkly, Thursday, 28 March 2024 23:58 (two months ago) link

My thoughts exactly.

Astarion Is Born (Leee), Friday, 29 March 2024 00:28 (two months ago) link

Trolling through the tulgey wood

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Friday, 29 March 2024 18:14 (two months ago) link

Pangram was good but they should have accepted ummagumma

cozen itt (wins), Friday, 29 March 2024 18:21 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

once again i am asking for CAVITATE

go watch a fuckin submarine movie sam

mookieproof, Wednesday, 22 May 2024 18:18 (three weeks ago) link

xp to ummagumma, felt the same about aoxomoxoa a day or two ago, lol

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Wednesday, 22 May 2024 20:24 (three weeks ago) link

No ABATTOIR or OBVIATOR and so many damn pasta terms but no ARRABBIATA sigh

Roz, Friday, 31 May 2024 16:06 (two weeks ago) link

come on, sam

scanner darkly, Thursday, 6 June 2024 16:46 (one week ago) link


scanner darkly, Thursday, 6 June 2024 17:02 (one week ago) link

lol yeah you can have it one way, but not the other apparently

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 6 June 2024 17:06 (one week ago) link

this was a tough one. i didn't get to queen bee rank.

adam t. (abanana), Friday, 7 June 2024 04:58 (one week ago) link

genius rank i mean

adam t. (abanana), Friday, 7 June 2024 04:59 (one week ago) link

what today? yeah on the tougher side. the pangram is v v satisfying tho

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Friday, 7 June 2024 10:36 (one week ago) link

I mean Thurday's YACILRT. Lots of long words that aren't common.

adam t. (abanana), Friday, 7 June 2024 14:04 (one week ago) link

i keep trying CRAIC to no avail

mookieproof, Friday, 7 June 2024 14:08 (one week ago) link

Thursday's had 4 pangrams. I got the first two easily, and the third after trying variations on the second, but the 4th only came to me after seeing the first three letters in the comments

Dan S, Friday, 7 June 2024 23:50 (one week ago) link

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