A flexible, responsive, and easy-to-use crossword component for React apps.


npm install --save @jaredreisinger/react-crossword
  # or #
yarn add @jaredreisinger/react-crossword


See also the styleguidist docs for Crossword.

import React from 'react';

import Crossword from '@jaredreisinger/react-crossword';

const data = {
  /* ... puzzle data (see below) ... */

export default function MyPage() {
  return <Crossword data={data} />;

Clue/data format

To make crosswords as easy to create as possible, with the least amount of extraneous and boilerplate typing, the clue/answer format is structured as a set of nested objects:

const data = {
  across: {
    1: {
      clue: 'one plus one',
      answer: 'TWO',
      x: 0,
      y: 0,
  down: {
    2: {
      clue: 'three minus two',
      answer: 'ONE',
      x: 2,
      y: 0,

At the top level, the across and down properties group together the clues/answers for their respective directions. Each of those objects is a map, keyed by the answer number rather than an array. (This is done so that the creator has control over the numbering/labelling of the clues/answers.) Each item contains a clue and answer property, as well as row and col for the starting position.

The Crossword component calculates the needed grid size from the data itself, so you don't need to pass an overall size to the component.


One other major difference (and advantage) to this crossword component is that it is very "stylable"... as many of the styling properties as possible are exposed so that you can create any look you want for the crossword. The Crossword component offers the following properties to control colors and layout:

property default description
columnBreakpoint '768px' browser-width at which the clues go from showing beneath the grid to showing beside the grid.
gridBackground 'rgb(0,0,0)' overall background color (fill) for the crossword grid. Can be 'transparent' to show through a page background image.
cellBackground 'rgb(255,255,255)' background for an answer cell
cellBorder 'rgb(0,0,0)' border for an answer cell
textColor 'rgb(0,0,0)' color for answer text (entered by the player)
numberColor 'rgba(0,0,0, 0.25)' color for the across/down numbers in the grid
focusBackground 'rgb(255,255,0)' background color for the cell with focus, the one that the player is typing into
highlightBackground 'rgb(255,255,204)' background color for the cells in the answer the player is working on, helps indicate in which direction focus will be moving; also used as a background on the active clue

Also, several class names are applied to elements in the crossword, in case you
want to apply styles that way:

element class name
entire crossword component; encompassing grid and clues crossword
answer grid grid
all of the clues clues
header and clues for one direction direction
direction header ('across' or 'down') header
an individual clue clue

(No class names are currently applied within the grid, as the SVG layout is very

Player progress events

In addition to providing properties for styling, there are some properties to
help your application "understand" the player's progress:

property description
useStorage whether to use browser storage to persist the player's work-in-progress (true by default)
onCorrect callback function that fires when a player answers a clue correctly; called with (direction, number, answer) arguments, where direction is 'across' or 'down', number is the clue number as text (like '1'), and answer is the answer itself
onLoadedCorrect callback function that's called when a crossword is loaded, to batch up correct answers loaded from storage; passed an array of the same values that onCorrect would recieve


Initially written as a replacement for @guardian/react-crossword, to make custom styling and puzzle-definition easier.

There are several things about the Crossword component from @guardian/react-crossword that are less than ideal, in my opinion:

  • the styles/formatting are baked in
  • semi-unrelated functionality like the "anagram helper" is baked in
  • the data format for clues/answers is horrendous

This is an attempt to create a less-opinionated component that's much easier to drop in to an arbitrary React page.