The New York Times Spelling Bee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The New York Times Spelling Bee
Developer(s)Frank Longo, The New York Times Company
Publisher(s)The New York Times Games
Platform(s)Browser, Mobile app
Release2014 (print); May 9, 2018 (browser)
Genre(s)Word game

The New York Times Spelling Bee, or simply the Spelling Bee, is a word game distributed in print and electronic format by The New York Times as part of The New York Times Games. Created by Frank Longo, the game debuted in a weekly print format in 2014. A digital daily version with an altered scoring system launched on May 9, 2018.


A partially completed version of the August 8, 2021 puzzle. The sole pangram of this puzzle was "inflect".

The game presents players with a hexagonal grid of 7 letters arrayed in a honeycomb structure. The player scores points by using the letters to form words consisting of four or more letters. However, any words proposed by the player must include the letter at the center of the honeycomb. Each letter can be used more than once. Scoring points leads to progressively higher praise for the player's effort, such as "Solid", "Amazing", and "Genius". Each puzzle is guaranteed to have at least one pangram, which awards the player the largest number of points when found.[1][2] If the player finds all of the possible words in a given puzzle, they achieve the title of "Queen Bee".[3]


Spelling Bee was created by Frank Longo following a proposal from Will Shortz, who was inspired by the puzzle game Polygon from The Times.[1][4] The game launched in its print format in 2014 as a weekly feature in The New York Times Magazine.[4] The game's digital version debuted on May 9, 2018.[1] The cartoon bee mascot, Beeatrice, was designed by Robert Vinluan for the digital version.[4] As of August 2021, the game is maintained by Sam Ezersky, who is responsible for constructing the daily puzzle, which goes live at 3 A.M. Eastern Time every day.[1][4]


Since its online debut in 2018, Spelling Bee's popularity has grown and the game has received praise from other game makers in the media industry. Pat Myers of The Washington Post wrote that, despite being a lifelong promoter of The Washington Post, she found herself in "the thrall of the New York Times Spelling Bee game".[3] Nilanjana Roy of the Financial Times praised the game as one of the best ways to pass the time and connect with friends during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.[5] Jim Memmot of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle similarly praised the game as a pleasant pastime during the COVID-19 pandemic.[6]

In addition to its reception among critics, the game has also spawned a significant following on social media, with players posting their scores and discussing each day's word selections on Twitter.[4][7][8] Several online tools have been created to provide daily hints and analysis of the puzzle, among them one by science fiction author William Shunn.[9]


The same concept was adapted to the Catalan language by a non-profit in November 2021. The website, called Paraulògic [ca], went viral in Catalonia a month after its launch.[10][11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Lippman, Laura (February 19, 2020). "The NYT Spelling Bee Gives Me L-I-F-E". Slate Magazine. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  2. ^ "Spelling Bee: Why I'm Completely Obsessed With The Best Puzzle On The Internet". Grazia. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Myers, Pat (February 18, 2021). "Style Invitational Week 1424: We Bee back — a neologism contest". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e Amlen, Deb (October 16, 2020). "The Genius of Spelling Bee". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  5. ^ Roy, Nilanjana (April 17, 2020). "What are the best wordplay games for lockdown?". Financial Times. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  6. ^ Memmott, Jim. "The New York Times Spelling Bee game makes sense during these scrambled times". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  7. ^ Amlen, Deb (December 27, 2019). "The Decade in New York Times Crosswords and Games". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  8. ^ Pfeffer, Nancy (June 25, 2021). "Flight of the Spelling Bee Player". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  9. ^ Amlen, Deb; Frere, Jackie (December 9, 2021). "How the Hivemind Conquers Spelling Bee". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
  10. ^ Avià i Nóvoa, Blai. "Què és el Paraulògic, el joc lingüístic que ha revolucionat Twitter?". VilaWeb (in Catalan). Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  11. ^ "Paraulògic, el joc lingüístic online que s'ha fet viral". Diari Ara (in Catalan). Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  12. ^ "El Paraulògic no vol salvar-te". Núvol (in Catalan). Retrieved December 18, 2021.

External links[edit]