Goh Pit Khiam, a Singaporian puzzle designer, entered the IPP competition in 2008 with a packing puzzle called CROSSROAD. I was lucky enough that my puzzle friend Bernhard Schweitzer had a spare copy available and for 25 Euros it changed hands.
The puzzle arrived with a kind of laser cut transportation device which looks really cool. This packing puzzle has a non-standard frame laser-cut with little obstacles which leads to the fact that placing the 5 pieces (3 identical pieces, one slightly different piece and a cross-shaped piece) in a regular manner into the frame (almost) impossible. The instruction says “Place the 5 pieces all the way flat into the provided tray”. Easier said than done! As with the SANDWICH puzzle from Vaclav Obsivac I sketched down the dimensions of the frame without obstacles and tried to lay down a pattern which fits, however, it does not fit into the real tray with obstacles. After about 45 minutes I achieved the instruction target but actually knew that this is not the intended solution because I used quite a bit of force and was lucky that no piece broke. I sent my solution to a Revomaze member asking for confirmation that my solution is not correct and shortly afterwards got it confirmed. I then needed almost an entire week to find the intended solution which I discovered more or less by luck. I already laid the correct pattern outside the tray in my initial stages but was not able to realize it inside the tray. In addition I tried to solve the puzzle a second time the day after and although knowing the final pattern I needed another hour to succeed again….My difficulty rating is therefore 10 out of 10 (at least for me).
I have to state that Goh Pit Khiam invented a masterpiece! It is brilliant, awesome, striking, whatever you can describe a puzzle with superlatives. I am confident this has to be the best packing puzzle ever! It is a “Must Have” for every collector and more or less serious puzzler who likes REAL challenges! Unfortunately there are none around anymore. I know that CROSSROAD was used as an exchange puzzle at the IPP in San Francisco so may be some attendees will sell their puzzle in the future.