Back in around September 2022, frustrated with the limited scope of the New York Times’ Spelling Bee word puzzle, I began screenshooting pictures of perfectly good words that the game deemed unacceptable. In October of 2022, hoping to impress someone, I started texting that person these screenshots, and in so doing realized that I wished to show off my talent for finding unplayable words to the wider world. From thence springs Speling Bee, which is basically just screenshots of a bunch of words I really think ought to have been NYT Spelling Bee-acceptable…but weren’t.
In part because it makes me feel less petty, I’m turning this grudge hobby into a game/fundraiser for bees. How to play/donate is simple: just go through the blog and examine my 34 marvelous words and their marvelous definitions, and while you do so, keep a tally of all those words you agree SHOULD have been valid enough for the New York Times. Then simply count up the end result, and donate that amount of dollars to whatever bee charity/nature conservancy charity you would like to support. (Some bee-supporting charities are listed at the end of this post, just as suggestions.)
Happy end of 2022 to you! Let the speling commence!!
Selected—and Amazing—Words that the New York Times has Rejected (in order basically from most to least valid):
Everyone uses this word. It's a real word.
It's not just a brand! It's like a concept now, right??
It's a printing thing AND an art medium! Come on!
It's the outdoors in olden timey. Google said so.
Ok but the NUMBER of times this has been an answer in the New York Times' OWN CROSSWORD. #thehypocrisy
The singular of a corn! SUCH a real word!!
How is this not in word list. What is wrong with word list.
Very obviously a word.
If something can be impeccable, something else can be peccable. MOVING ON.
It's in The Rake's Progress libretto so I don't have to know what I means. MOVING. ON.
It's a word, dangit.
It's real!! I dare you to say it's not real. People use it and stuff!!!
It's British for a word! #honourthesourcematerial
Ok but it's a time-honored sci-fi genre full of sexy robots and angst just give me this NYT
Something that has ankles. Done.
One of the most beautiful, useful, well-loved* words of modern-day American English, neglected, discarded, invalidated.
*well-loved mainly by me
Who hurt you, NYT?
What IS word enough for you, NYT??
Such an incredibly valid word.
It's a person who really likes beans. I don't understand the problem.
Every world should be Koalaworld. Create the reality we all wish were ours, NYT Spelling Bee.
Man who likes cake, is made from cake, and/or identifies as cake. Where is the issue here?
Part of a cat.
Part of a pack.
Part of a trio.
Palpitationalnessfulness. Why aren't you buying this?
Using a niffler! Obvi!
Pal with whom one bocces! Duh!
Alien species who destroy Earth for an intergalactic freeway and no one likes their poetry. It's common usage!!
Ok so this one (as opposed to all the others) is a little dicey, because it's an ointment that "protects" you from dragon fire in Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown, so I admit it's a teensy bit nichey, but for the sake of consistency COME ON NYT!!
...Let's none of us pretend Miles O'Keeffe's hair didn't happen.
And finally, for your consideration:
This is it. The best of the best. There were others--oh, were there others--but this list represents the most reasonable and undeniable of the words the New York Times Spelling Bee did not see fit to credit.
Shaking. My. Head.
And here is a list of charities that support bees and other pollinators:
The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund: https://www.beeandbutterflyfund.org
The Bee Conservancy: https://thebeeconservancy.org
Bees for Development: https://www.beesfordevelopment.org
National Wildlife Federation: https://www.nwf.org
Planet Bee Foundation: https://www.planetbee.org
Project Apis: https://www.projectapism.org
Xerces Society: https://xerces.org