Box Relatives

Thoughts about puzzles, math, coding, and miscellaneous

Introducing the Crossword Nexus HTML5 Solver


People seem to agree that JPZ files are the future of crossword solving. JPZs are extremely flexible, well-documented, and supported by the most popular crossword-making software. The problem thus far with JPZs has been solving them. XWord is great but only available for PCs. Crossword Solver is cross-platform, but many are somewhat less than enamored with its solving interface.

Somehow, the state of online solvers is even worse. If you want to embed puzzles in your website, what can you do? You can get a java version and deal with all the overhead and security risks that come there. You can buy Crossword Compiler and they’ll give you a license to use their HTML5 solver, but its interface isn’t any better than Crossword Solver’s, and it can’t handle all of the JPZ features you might want.

We decided to kill two birds with one stone. Introducing the Crossword Nexus Solver (currently in beta). It runs in your HTML5-compliant browser on any platform you may have (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) Just choose a .jpz file and it will render it for you, allowing you to solve it with an interface you’ll like. It can handle wacky JPZ files like Marching Bands no problem. And if you know any CSS you can modify it to run on your website — but we hope to have an “official” version like that out soon.

The best part? The code behind the solver is completely free, released under the BSD-3 License, and available on Github. If you know any Javascript, feel free to fork it and work on improving it. With the whole crossword community behind it, this solver will be improved much faster than it would with just one person. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this becomes.

Huge thanks to Alex Shpak, who did a great job doing the heavy lifting for the coding. Enjoy!


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