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Top 10 Hardest and Easiest Spelling Bee Words, July 15-21

Note: If you plan to play Spelling Bee’s Past Puzzles from the last week, this list may contain spoilers.

This week, tantara — or the blast of a horn or trumpet — was the word least found by players of Spelling Bee, while whipping was the word most found.

This data is based on visitors to Spelling Bee Buddy, a tool that shows hints and statistics for each word as you play Spelling Bee, and covers Saturday, July 15, to Friday, July 21. (Users of the tool are among the puzzle’s most dedicated solvers, so these percentages are probably higher than they would be for all Spelling Bee players.)

Here are the meanings of the least-found words that were used in (mostly) recent Times articles.

1. tantara — the blast of a horn or trumpet:

But the day was not yet replete with wonders, because before Zelikman could reply there were shouts from the rear and then the blatting tantara of an inhuman horn. Gentlemen of the Road (April 1, 2007)

2. orotund — full, strong or bombastic:

Submit to the orotund, incantatory language of the 1982 book in which Audre Lorde invented a genre she called “biomythography”? Self-Study, Becoming American and the Art of Translation (Feb. 25, 2023)

3. tontine — a somewhat macabre investment vehicle in which people jointly pool their money, and the survivors receive the share of each person who dies:

Popular culture embellished the tontine’s nefarious reputation. Works by Agatha Christie, Robert Louis Stevenson and P. G. Wodehouse all featured tontine members plotting to kill one another in hope of a big payoff. Lingering legal questions need to be resolved, according to today’s tontine enthusiasts. When Others Die, Tontine Investors Win (March 24, 2017)

4. nonart — things that aren’t, well, art:

The objects are displayed on pedestals made of buckets, flower pots, furniture or other traditionally nonart materials. What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week (July 27, 2017)

5. titivated and 6. titivate — spruce up or make attractive:

An Englishwoman living in Prague, she works as a translator — not of novels but of operating instructions for power tools. Determinedly drab, she is allergic to any form of artifice or titivation. Moral Questions Lurk Beneath a Ghost Story in ‘Melmoth’ (Oct. 9, 2018)

7. mammon — wealth that has a corrupting influence:

In so doing, it effects a partial reconciliation between America’s Christian heritage, with its deep skepticism about the possibility of serving God and Mammon, and America’s boundless opportunities for getting rich. In “Gatsby,” money is clearly corrupting once you have it, because the having imbues you with the “vast carelessness” of Tom and Daisy Buchanan or the cold-eyed manipulative spirit of the men who use Gatsby as their front. — Opinion: Ross Douthat on ‘The Great Gatsby’ (June 20, 2023)

8. arcana — mysterious or specialized knowledge, language or information:

The Italian thinker, who died in 2016, was a professor, a novelist — who wrote, most notably and at one time inescapably, “The Name of the Rose” — a semiotician, a columnist and a connoisseur of arcana. ‘Umberto Eco’ Review: Remembering a Literary Explorer (June 29, 2023)

9. monocracy — government ruled by one person:

The changes, Sarkozy insisted, strengthen the power of Parliament and will make the president more accountable. But his critics, including the main opposition party, the Socialists, said they would increase the power of the already semiroyal president, creating a “monocracy.” Sarkozy Ekes Out Victory on Constitutional Changes (July 22, 2008)

10. viand — a choice dish:

In addition to a number of supposed tonic beverages, à la Gray’s Papaya, Boulevard Drinks offers a single viand, a slender hot dog warmed on a griddle with your choice of sauerkraut, cheese sauce, red stewed onions, chopped raw onions and a Texas-wiener-style meat sauce with finely minced onions mixed in. Dog Ziggity: New Jersey’s Own Hot Dogs (Sept. 24, 2013)

And a bonus: arrant — total or extreme:

It constitutes a dismissal of eager and innocent articulateness. And as such, it is an arrant and thoughtless injustice that must be stopped. Opinion: A Language Test That Stigmatizes Black Children (Oct. 7, 2022)

The list of the week’s easiest words:

Each morning, you can see which of the day’s Spelling Bee words are stumping the hivemind (without spoilers!), and track your remaining words, by visiting Spelling Bee Buddy.

Customized hints that update based on your progress in today’s puzzle.

Posted on 22 Jul 2023 15:20 link