Rackenfracker #1: Academy Awardle

Our puzzlers has a first game, it's O-S-C-A-R.

Just in time for Sunday’s ceremony, a variety cryptic.

We’ll always provide a PDF option for our fellow ink-stained wretches who prefer to solve on paper, but we also want to make it as easy as can be for online solvers.

This is a jigsaw: You have to figure out where in the grid the words go. In Squares.io, the ✏️ after each clue lets you record answers as you find them. In Puzzazz, that’s the Clue Options button in the 💡 menu. Solve in these note spaces, then place in the grid when ready. (If you download the .ipuz and open it in Squares or the Puzzazz app, it will correlate clues with specific entries, so don’t be fooled. This doesn’t happen with the “solve in-browser” link.)

Many people to thank who assisted with this puzzle: We’ll talk more about our ride-or-die crew of John, Andy, and Bill in future posts, but we’d 100% be stuck without them. We were fortunate to get test solves from Jack Keynes and dianyx, and absolutely clutch technical assists from Alex Boisvert, Steve Mossberg and especially David from squares.io, who flipped the switches on a feature or five to make in-browser solving work for this curious specimen. (We also have a webmaster to thank but let’s wait until we’ve actually followed all of his advice before associating him with the site.)

In this variety puzzle, each of six grids includes an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences-approved starter guess, and builds toward an entry they also selected. Further “guesses” are supplied by the clues, which are provided alphabetically by answer for all grids combined. All guesses are valid five-letter words.

Colored squares in each grid show a logical progression: Green squares indicate that a letter in that row’s word appears in the final word in the same position. Yellow squares indicate that a letter in that row’s word appears in that grid’s final word, but in a different position. Gray squares indicate that the letter is not used in the final word. Repeated letters within a word are allowed.

These are “hard mode” grids, meaning that in subsequent guesses, all correctly guessed letters must appear, yellow letters must appear in different positions, and gray letters are not reused.

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