March 25, 2010


Cross is a tray-packing puzzle designed by renowned Singa-porean puzzle inventor 'Pit' Khiam Goh and made by John Devost. The design is a variant of Pit's Stealth tray puzzle that was designed after Walt Hoppe caught a false solution in the original design. I recently had the chance to give it a try through John's puzzle library. Thanks John!

This is a gorgeous-looking puzzle: the woods that John used are beautiful, as you can see (photo by John). The finish of the pieces is superb as well, they have a remarkably smooth, almost buttery finish that is quite pleasing. Interestingly, John made te puzzle pieces out of burr scraps produced by Jerry McFarland. How environmentally conscious of them!

The four dark pieces in the corner are stationary: the task is to fill up the cross shape that remains with the six pieces.

I had a fun time solving this one: it isn't too tricky if you have seen puzzles with a solution of this nature before, but otherwise you could spend a while before you discover the 'trick'. Even though I had seen puzzles with solutions like this before, it still took me a good 20-30 minutes to figure it out.

I had a brainy friend over for dinner and suggested that he give this one a try. I was curious how difficult he would find it. At first I was worried that he wouldn't finish before dinner was ready (I feel guilty when I give somebody a puzzle that is too hard for the time allotted), but he figured it out right before! I think it took him about 20 minutes as well, with some slight hints.

As far as puzzles go, I haven't gotten too into tray packing puzzles. I think what bugs me about them is that you can't display them in their solved state without revealing the solution, so they are always in partial disarray. However, I think this disarray is more tempting for a guest to solve: they'd rather solve something that is messed up than risk messing up something that is already solved.

All in all, this is a very nice puzzle. Great quality construction and fun from a puzzling point of view as well. Congratulations to Pit on a clever design!


  1. Great blog brian, well done! I had forgot you had tried this's never been released publicly by 'Pit';)

  2. Thanks, John! Its cool to have the chance to try an unpublished work like this.


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