How Do You Win the NY Times Spelling Bee? Well, It Depends

How do you win at New York Times Spelling Bee

I think of playing Spelling Bee as sort of like running. There are lots of distances you can try to achieve. “Genius” level is what some would say is winning, which in my mind, is like running a marathon. Sometimes, it’s taken me more time to get to Genius than to run an actual marathon.

With the tried point levels, it gives everyone to strive for. If you have a big vocabulary and want to keep it sharp, hitting genius every day is a reasonable goal. If you are still building your vocabulary or trying to expand it, hitting Great or Amazing each day would be an incredible win. Think of that like running a 10K or a half-marathon. Far enough to give you a work out, but not far enough you will be completely exhausted by the end of it.

Don’t have a lot of time at the moment, well, winning could be hitting “Nice” in the short bus ride you have in the morning. Think of it as more like going all out on a 5K and trying to cram as much fun running in that short amount of time.

Only care about pangrams, have it! Get the pangram and then call it day. That’s the 100-meter dash. The key here is to have a personal goal.

So, no matter whether you want to get all the way to Spelling Bee Queen Bee, or just flex your grey matter in the mornings, it’s relatively easy to find the right goal to win at the NYT Spelling Bee.


  1. Hello,
    I believe the answer posted for the 2021/02/05, Fri puzzle is in error. The answer posted was, “dolefully”, but the is no “y” in the puzzle. I am not sure what the puzzle rules are. So, I might be in error. I believe the answer should be, “doleful”.
    Please, advise.

    • If you hit the Help button in the Spelling Bee page, you’ll get some email addresses that maybe go more directly to NY Times puzzle editors. You may want to send that suggestion to (I’m not connected with NYT at all; I’m just another fan like you.) Hope that helps.


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