The Cross-Puzzle comes from the German manufacturer Philos, which has a large variety of wooden puzzles, chief among them a nice selection of interlocking ones, like the one above.
The puzzle consists of 9 pieces interlocked in groups of three. You need to take it apart and reassembling it to fully solve it. The design itself, more specifically the cross shape, has been used in several different interlocking puzzles before, but the actual concept of interlocking groups of three pieces is kind of clever and a novelty, at least for me.
The puzzle would be too simple if each of the three groups had the same orientation for its pieces. However, when you first try to take it apart you’ll be surprised by how the pieces actually interact with each other. Each group has three pieces, like I mentioned above, and one of them has twice the thickness of the other two, so in fact it looks like each group carries four pieces instead of three. Another interesting feature is that one of the pieces slides out on the opposite side of the other two (as seen below).
The construction of the puzzle, unfortunately, is not as perfect as others in the Philos range. The wood is made from several layers glued together and seems low quality, apparent by the way the pieces connect, which not being perfect takes away some of the challenge, since you can clearly see the edges of each piece.
This is not a difficult puzzle by any means. Even if it were flawless it wouldn’t have been too much challenging. It’s classified as a level 1/4 in the package and 7/10 by PuzzleMaster, which I tend to agree. I didn’t have much trouble to take it apart, even though it took me a bit more time reassembling it. Like most interlocking puzzles, spacial awareness skills are a must and the reassembly always requites a bit more focus and dexterity. Since I’ve noticed the way the pieces were connected as I was taking them apart, the reassembly was relatively easier.
The Cross-Puzzle is certainly a very interesting puzzle. The concept is fresh and original, but the construction could’ve been much better with proper wood. Nevertheless, it’s worth a try if you fancy interlocking puzzles.