Category Archives: NYT Spelling Bee

NYT Spelling Bee 12-27-20 final

Hello from Day 39 of the current California COVID constant curfew. The earliest we’d emerge from this is tomorrow, but according to the LA Times today, we’re not close to being out of the woods.


Meatier misses

AGAR: A gelatinous substance obtained from various kinds of red seaweed and used in biological culture media and as a thickener in foods.
APPARAT: The administrative system of a communist party, especially in a communist country. Oh, I knew this!
ARGOT: The jargon or slang of a particular group or class.
ARHAT: (in Buddhism and Jainism) someone who has attained the goal of the religious life.
ATTAR: A fragrant essential oil, typically made from rose petals. Somehow, this also is spelled otto.
GRAPPA: A brandy distilled from the fermented residue of grapes after they have been pressed in winemaking.
HOAR: Grayish white; gray or gray-haired with age.
PARATHA: (in Indian cooking) a flat, thick piece of unleavened bread fried on a griddle.
TROTH: archaic, formal Faith or loyalty when pledged in a solemn agreement or undertaking.

It bears reminding that TORTA was not in the word list.

Today’s summary

Final score: 17 words for 91 points.
Genius minimum: 85 points.
Pangram: wait a second, did I not yet get the pangram?


Final score: 19 words for 114 points.
Additional words: BIKINI and BEEKEEPING.

NYT Spelling Bee 12-26-20 final

Hello from Day 38 of the current California COVID constant curfew. The rules are set to expire tomorrow, and I don’t know yet of any extension.

I’m laughing at myself for yesterday’s missed pangram that would have put me over the edge to genius level.

I had tweeted this:

And when I looked at yesterday’s answers today, I saw that NONDAIRY was a pangram. Unbelievable.

The other pangram was ORDINARY.

I also missed ONIONY.

Meatier misses

DRAY: A truck or cart for delivering beer barrels or other heavy loads, especially a low one without sides.

DRYAD: (in folklore and Greek mythology) a nymph inhabiting a forest or a tree, especially an oak tree. It’s been a while since this has come up. I didn’t remember it then, and that hasn’t changed.
NINNY: A foolish person.

Today’s summary

Final score: 47 words for 198 points.
Genius minimum: 194 points.
First word: GRAPH

NYT Spelling Bee 12-25-20 final

Hello from Day 37 of the current California COVID constant curfew. I finally missed a genius level completion. I thought that there were words that should not have been omitted that were. I set up timed tweets to share.

I missed the more difficult EUNUCH, TEETHE, and THENCE. Also YECCH, which is just YECH with an extra C.

Meatier misses

TETCHY: Bad-tempered and irritable. It’s like touchy?
UNTUNE: To put out of tune.

Today’s summary

Final score: 21 words for 83 points.
Genius minimum: 91 points.
First word: DAIRY
Pangram: I did not find the pangram.

Like Donnie Darko!

Others that will post on time delay. I’ll update this later with those.

NYT Spelling Bee 12-24-20 final

Hello from Day 36 of the current California COVID constant curfew. It’s hard for me to believe that we’re more than five weeks into this. As I have mentioned before, the last day of the current rules is Sunday, but with ICUs exceeding capacity, I’d be shocked–shocked–if they didn’t extend the restrictions.

Yesterday I missed the easy MOAT, MONO, and TOMATO. It’s funny that I missed MONO because Calah and I are watching Are You the One?, and we joke that everyone’s going to leave there with mononucleosis. Each of us is upset that they only have two seasons now on Netflix when there four more that have aired but aren’t yet available.

As is typical with reality TV shows, the first season was better than the second season. They can figure it out in the third season, but we don’t have the third season! I’ve also witnessed so much clapping in between words, and I didn’t even know that that was a thing.

Meatier misses

MAHATMA: (in South Asia) a person regarded with reverence or loving respect; a holy person or sage. I didn’t realize this was not a proper noun.
OOMPAH: Used to refer to the rhythmical sound of deep-toned brass instruments in a band. I had OOMPA, but it didn’t go. Must be an anti-Dahl bias.
PHOTOMAP: A map made from or drawn on photographs of the area concerned. Um, what?

I think I get it. Like when you’re traveling to Paris in 2012 and want to know here the Eiffel Tower is and where the Arc de Triomphe is, so you ask at the front desk of the Hôtel Original, and the tourist map has the photos of the interesting places?
POMPANO: An edible butterfish that lives in shoals along the east coast of North America.

I’ve seen worse photoshop jobs
Better ‘shop job

Today’s summary

Final score: 26 words for 96 points.
Genius minimum: 92 points.
First word: CENT
Pangram: CHUTNEY (courtesy of Calah who unsolicitedly provided that answer)

This one was worth a shot.
The party don’t start till I walk in!

NYT Spelling Bee 12-23-20 final

Hello from Day 35 of the current California COVID constant curfew. Did you hear that all the markets in DC are sold out of carbonated drinks? It’s true! People are burping their way through Lafayette Park saying, “Pardon me.”

Yesterday I missed the easy AMMO, ANON, KNOLL, KNOWN, and MONO.

Meatier misses

KOAN: A paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.
KOLA: A small evergreen African tree which is cultivated in the tropics for its seeds (cola nuts).

Kola tree from

MAKO: A large fast-moving oceanic shark with a deep blue back and white underparts. Reread. It’s underparts, not underpants.


Today’s summary

Final score: 26 words for 111 points.
Genius minimum: 103 points.
First word: MAMMON my new favorite NYTSB word. I don’t want to miss it again.
Pangram: PHANTOM

No E for no effort!

NYT Spelling Bee 12-22-20 final

Hello from Day 34 of the current California COVID constant curfew. I haven’t heard of any extension of the lockdown for beyond Sunday.

Yesterday I missed ACAI and TACT as easier ones.

Meatier misses

ACACIA: A tree or shrub of warm climates that bears spikes or clusters of yellow or white flowers and is frequently thorny.

The Lion King tree gets me again!

CAVA: A Spanish sparkling wine made in the same way as champagne. I don’t know my wines.
PICCATA: Cooked in a sauce of lemon, parsley and butter.

Chicken piccata from

Today’s summary

Final score: 27 words for 75 points.
Genius minimum: 68 points.
First word: ALLOW


Final score: 28 words for 81 points.
Genius minimum: 68 points.
First word: ALLOW
Most recent word: MAMMON, the word that I wrote a long thing about the other day.

NYT Spelling Bee 12-21-20 final

Hello from Day 33 of the current California COVID constant curfew.

Yesterday I missed GIGGLE, HILL, OLLIE.

I also missed LIEGE and EPILOG.

Measly misses

There’s not much I have to write about these misses. I understand that EPILOG can be spelled that way. I don’t think of it that way. I’m used to books starting with a prologue and ending with an epilogue. Is the one I’m used to just the British spelling over the American spelling? I feel like that’s not the situation because these books are American books.

Today’s summary

Final score: 15 words for 86 points.
Genius minimum: 75 points.


Final score: 16 words for 91 points.
Genius minimum: 75 points.
First word: CITY

NYT Spelling Bee 12-20-20 final

Hello from Day 32 of the current California COVID constant curfew.

Yesterday I missed not too many. APRON, NONPOLAR, PLANAR, ROAN.

Meatier misses

MAMMON: From lexico: Wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion. It was taken by medieval writers as the name of the devil of covetousness.
From etymonline: personification of riches and worldliness, mid-14c., from Late Latin mammona, from Ecclesiastical Greek mamōnas, from Aramaic mamona, mamon “riches, gain;” a word left untranslated in Greek New Testament (Matthew vi.24, Luke xvi.9-13), retained in the Vulgate, and regarded mistakenly by medieval Christians as the name of a demon who leads men to covetousness.
From me: New Testament? We have this word in the Passover Seder when we talk sing Dayenu (it would have been enough) when it never really would have been. It’s a list that follows the pattern of: even if just [thing a] was given/was done for us but [thing b] wasn’t, it would have been enough. Then [thing b] replaces [thing a] and [thing c] replaces the original [thing b]. It starts out with something to the effect of: Even if we were only brought out of Egypt and no plagues were brought on our oppressors, it would have been enough. Of course, it wouldn’t have been enough because with there’d be nothing slowing them down when trying to catch us again. Later it has the line to the effect of Even if were only given their wealth (מָמוֹנָם)–MAMONAM–and the Red Sea hadn’t been parted, it would have been enough. Of course, dead to rights if the latter hadn’t happened.
POMPANO: An edible butterfish that lives in shoals along the east coast of North America.

That fish is huge and mean-looking! Or that man is tiny.

Today’s summary

Final score: 16 words for 66 points.
Genius minimum: 62 points.
First word: PIPE

Getting the Not in word list box at almost completely faded way took longer than I’m willing to admit.

NYT Spelling Bee 12-19-20 final

Hello from Day 31 of the current California COVID constant curfew. The ICUs are at or beyond capacity, but isn’t this the perfect weather to barbecue?

(So it’s clear, the answer is no! Stay inside, please! Keep to yourselves so we can get through this thing!)

Yesterday I missed some annoying ones. One of those was ANNOY. Others were ATTABOY, BALLBOY, BATBOY, BLATANTLY, NANNY, NYLON, ONLY, and TATTY.

I missed all these -BOY words, but today there are so many -MAN words that aren’t in the word list.

Meatier misses

LOBLOLLY: A pine tree of the southern US that has very long slender needles and is an important source of timber. I’ve missed this before, and I’ve forgotten it again already.


TALLBOY: A large can in which beer or another drink is sold, typically holding 16 or 25 fluid ounces. Oh, yes. Who hasn’t had one of these when just out of view of the starter? My next tee shot will be in the loblollies.

Today’s summary

Final score: 27 words for 100 points.
Genius minimum: 93 points.
First word: NORMAL

University of Hawaii at Manoa going mano a mano!
seriously, bro…

In other news, I got LLANO today!

NYT Spelling Bee 12-18-20 final

Hello from Day 30 of the current California COVID constant curfew. And Chanukah has now drawn to a close. No more lighting a lot of candles each night. And now that I think about it, how bad is it to be a birthday candle manufacturing company right now? Nobody should be having big birthday parties during the pandemic, and once it’s over, who’s going to be breathing on cake and then serving it to friends?

Yesterday I missed some silly answers. EGGNOG, HOMONYM, HOMONYMY, HONEYMOON, MEMO, MONONYM. I know all these words.

Fun word from today’s bee

BANYAN: An Indian fig tree whose branches produce aerial roots that later become accessory trunks. A mature tree may cover several acres in this manner.

First off, I didn’t know it was a fig tree. Second, I didn’t know that it’s more than just a cool-looking thing with roots hanging down that I used to visit as a child at Beverly Gardens Park and was not allowed to swing from the not-yet-attached roots that were hanging from branches.

Google Maps Street View of the tree at Beverly Gardens Park in Beverly Hills

The LA Times wrote about it almost a quarter-century ago: “Planted sometime between 1910 and 1914 by the long-defunct Rodeo Land and Water Company, the regal pioneer has since grown to a near-record height of 65 feet; its stately canopy’s circumference easily stretches to twice that. It ties with two other giant specimens, in Santa Barbara and Hawaii, as the largest ficus of their kind.

But from the (and covered elsewhere, but how can a blog with banyan in its name not know about banyan trees?), “Banyans are strangler figs. They grow from seeds that land on other trees. The roots they send down smother their hosts and grow into stout, branch-supporting pillars that resemble new tree trunks.

So exactly what tree was planted? And if they had moved a banyan tree, what was the tree before it was taken over by this thing? It’s so creepy! Like when someone gives you a hug (remember hugs?) and the hug goes on for too long and is too tight, imagine that person never letting go, and even when you return home, never leaving your side until at some point that person just replaces you? It’s like The Talented Mr. Ripley but one you can believe–or not!

On the topic of that movie, Calah and I watched it in two installments. The first installment was on April 30. We paused the film close to midnight to get something refill on food, and when we tried to start it up again, it was gone. Netflix had removed it. Pay attention to what’s leaving Netflix before starting a movie on the last day of a month!

Today’s summary

Final score: 32 words for 163 points.
Genius minimum: 160 points.
First word: LOONY
Pangram: NOTABLY