Box Relatives

Thoughts about puzzles, math, coding, and miscellaneous

HTML5 Solver Feedback


At this point the HTML5 Crossword Solver is basically done, so I’m taking it out of its brief “beta” phase. There is now a recommended way to embed it in websites, like I’ve done above. And it will even automatically resize itself if you shrink your window — go ahead, try it out! Once again, I can’t thank Alex Shpak enough for coding all of this up.

But Alex S. can only take me so far. Now I need your help. I would really, really appreciate it if you would take five minutes or so and solve a puzzle in the solver, either the embedded one above, or one of your own JPZs at the official site. Is there anything in the interface you can’t live without? A “check” feature and timer come to mind, but maybe there’s something else. Are there any keyboard shortcuts that are missing? Do all the keys behave like you’d expect them to? The hope is that this will be everyone’s go-to interface for JPZ solving, so if there’s a reason you would be hesitant to use this, I want to know about it. (Or, if you just LOVE it, you can leave a comment saying that too.)

I can’t thank you enough for doing this. Together we can make this the best crossword solver there is!


  1. A few things off the top of my head…

    1) Absolutely need an option to skip/not skip filled boxes. I always want to type in the whole word and not have to think about which letters have already been entered.
    2) Clue font size above puzzle should be bigger
    3) Clue text above puzzle should include the clue number + direction
    4) Letters are not centered in grid cells and sometimes overlap/touch the grid cell numbers
    5) Cursor remains hidden when the “Crossword solved!” alert dialog appears
    6) Add an option to check a letter, a word, or the whole puzzle for incorrect letters and (optionally) highlight or mark those letters
    7) Optionally highlight/mark revealed letters
    8) Puzzle loses focus after clicking to reveal a letter/word/puzzle and needs to be clicked on again

  2. Thanks, Adam!

    (1) I can certainly do. I can put it in the settings menu. For (2) — were you using the embedded solver? The fullscreen solver has a fairly big font. (3) may be tricky because for, say, Marching Bands puzzles, the directions aren’t “Across” and “Down” so they can’t be abbreviated as easily. (4) I can look at but again I think is less of a problem in the fullscreen solver. I’ll look into the others too. Much appreciated!

  3. Okay, I’ve already fixed the two most important ones (IMO) from your list — #1 and #8. They’re not live in the embedded crossword above, but they are in the fullscreen solver. #6 is next on my to-do list.

  4. 1. i’d like it for enter and shift-enter to go to the next/prev entry in the current clue list.
    2. shift-arrow goes to the correct entry, but not the square i want in that entry (first empty square, not first square).

  5. Joon —
    (1) is easy. For (2), you mean you’d like it to always go to the first square? That’s easy too, but I’m not sure *I* want that …

  6. Thanks – the format is really smooth! Enjoyed the colour choices and tools. Especially liked skipping over letters already in place. Were I to make any edits, they might include tools to allow:
    a) curser to immediately go to first unsolved up/down clues after the end of each respective list is reached, and
    b) a keystroke toggle to switch between up/down clue section for solvers who pick and chose as soon as word is filled in.

    (Apologies if these have already been addressed)

    • Thanks for the feedback, Babs. Can you explain what you mean by #2, and how I can go about adding that kind of thing?

      • Hi Alex,
        Can you hear that – just slapped my noggin!
        In a feeble attempt to describe this feedback, went back up to your puzzle about, AND found that by moving the arrow keys – was able to do exactly that – toggle between the ‘active’ up and down clues!

        “To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge” Socrates

  7. awesome. thanks so much, Alexes!

    I think the only thing I use in a particular stand-alone program that I didn’t see here was being able to hit Tab on the last across clue and have it take me to the first down clue.

    (also the other 3 behaviors when Shift-Tab is thrown into the mix … mutatis mutandis and all that.)

    • Yep, those behaviors were left out because they’re a pain to code and (IMO) don’t add that much. Glad that’s your only complaint.

  8. Can the HTML player incorporate non-standard features, like circled letters or gray squares, or non-standard grids:

    • Circled letters and gray squares, yes. The non-standard grid in the link isn’t possible, but that’s a limitation of JPZ moreso than the solver.

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