Thursday 19 December 2013

Dancing Shoes

Dancing Shoes. 

You can probably tell why the puzzle bears this name.

Goh Pit Khiam. Goh has designed well over sixty puzzles to-date, including the highly sought after (and no longer available) Tenary Burr first made by Brian Young and most recently by Eric Fuller. For some of Goh's other puzzle designs, click here

Tom Lensch. Limited availability as far as I am aware. Priced at US$66/- plus S&H. 

Type & Classification

2D Packing

12.5cm (Length) x 12.5cm (Width) x 1.9cm (Height)

Materials & Construction
The frame is made of Maple while the four individual lighter pieces are made of Tulipwood. The dark piece is Kingwood. Construction, fit and finish is very good. Good size puzzle and handling of the loose pieces is comfortable.

Dancing Shoes won the Puzzler's Award at IPP33 in Tokyo, Japan this year. This award goes to the design entry that had garnered the most votes from the IPP33 attendees. This was Goh's first puzzle design award but unfortunately he was not present in Tokyo to collect his prize in person.

I first handled this puzzle at IPP33 during the two days judging process of the design entries. Given I had to go through around sixty puzzle designs, I didn't have the time (nor stamina) to try to solve it. Since Goh and I both live in Singapore, I was pretty sure I would be able to get my hands on a copy from him to play with at some subsequent date.

Just several weeks back, Goh contacted me to ask if I wanted a copy from him as Tom had sent over to him several copies which had just been newly made. Of course I said a resounding yes! 

The object of Dancing Shoes is the fit all five loose pieces flat into the tray. The tray itself is rather unusual in that the four corners have an L-shaped protrusion . At first glance, you might think that you can arrange the five pieces outside the tray to get the correct formation and then try to fit the pieces one at a time into the tray. Well this is what I tried initially only to discover (and I should really have known better) that this is impossible. The pieces won't fit in the way you want them to.

This is a packing puzzle with a twist; you need to think beyond the traditional methods of solving, which obviously will not work here. I am not good with packing puzzles so I grappled with Dancing Shoes for quite a while before finally hitting upon the solution. However I had the benefit of seeing how a couple of Goh's other puzzle designs work so I had an idea to the possible solution for Dancing Shoes. 

Difficulty Level
Challenging enough but not unduly difficult. It's not a puzzle that would frustrate one to wits' end (although it possibly might for some people). Its one of those puzzles that spur you to puzzle on because everything is there in front of you, doesn't seem to look that difficult, yet the solution is somehow rather elusive! 


Another great puzzle design from a prolific puzzle designer. Good quality too. Well deserving of the IPP33 Puzzlers' Award and definitely a must-have for the collector.or packing puzzle enthusiast. 


  1. "It's not a puzzle that would frustrate one to wits' end (although it possibly might for some people)."
    Well that would be me then!! Blush!! I'm really terrible at packing puzzles - maybe I should get one of these to torture myself?


  2. Yes, you should Kevin, I think this is one of the nicer and more unusual ones. Don't worry, its not as difficult as you might think

  3. I agree the puzzle is not that difficult, especially if you have solved some of Goh's other puzzles such as Retrofit. Very elegant solution, though, and beautifully made by Tom. I didn't buy one because I already have Retrofit.

  4. George, ah yes, that was the word I was trying to search for to describe the solution...'elegant'