North American Tiddlywinks Association

NATwA founded • 27 February 1966

  • Publication title: Newswink
  • Whole number: 20
  • Publisher: North American Tiddlywinks Association
  • Publication date: 22 November 1986
  • Publication location: Falls Church, Virginia USA
  • Editor: Rick Tucker
  • Page side count: 16, plus 2 pages for the NATwA Address List
  • Preparation: PC-Write software on MS-DOS personal computer
  • Production: Black-and-white on 8½” by 11″ white paper, plus paste-up illustrations and inserted photocopies from other sources
  • NATwA Archives artifacts: Original PC-Write files; original printed pages with illustration paste-ups; original photoduplicated printed pages; digitized images of original printed pages
  • Date updated: 17 August 2022
To do:
  • (2022-08-17) Restructure elements in Elementor Pro to have article sections and #hashtag-ids for each section
  • (2022-08-17) Add tw-divider widgets between articles
  • (2022-08-17) Add table of contents in Toggle widget 
  • (2022-08-17) Add list of people mentioned
  • (2022-08-17) Add abbreviations used

[+template:(Tucker Tw ID • [+xmp:title+] — publisher • [+iptc:source+] — title • [+xmp:headline])+]
Newswink Twenty

An official publication of the North American Tiddlywinks Association

Rick Tucker, editor · 22 November 1986 · Falls Church, Virginia

[+template:(Tucker Tw ID • [+xmp:title+] — publisher • [+iptc:source+] — title • [+xmp:headline])+]

From the Editor

by Rick Tucker

There has been some excitement in the winking world this past year. Two important books were published this year: the Oxford English Dictionary Supplement covering words from Se to Z; and Steve McKee‘s The Call of The Game. Newswink‘s cover page reproduces some of the winks entries from the OED Supplement. McKee’s book is an exciting, in-depth look at the game and its diverse personalities, but in the grander scheme of things the OED Supplement is of greater significance. See the book reviews elsewhere in this issue.

England endured yet another tour of an American team in November of 1985. Fortunately English winkers are aplenty and high-spirited. We decided to give them a chance at their own Singles this year, so we’re only sending Larry Kahn (and possibly Dave Lockwood) over this time. If Larry wins the English Singles this month, it will be his third in a row, and the trophy is then his to keep. World Singles also are expected during the tour.

NATwA’s 20th anniversary was noted in February of this year. In comparison, ETwA isn’t that much older: it will be 30 in 1988. And later that same year, 1988, tiddlywinks (or, to be precise, Tiddledy-Winks) will be 100 years old.

If you’ve ever wondered how much your old Marchant winks sets are worth now that Italian winks are the officially approved winks, wonder no more. I bought two sets of middle-sixties vintage Marchant winks in red boxes with rules at an antique show this year. The price: $10 for both.

To my dismay, I have not received the past two issues of Winking World published by ETwA. During the tour of England last November, Cantabrigians teasingly informed us that there was evidence suggesting winks action at Cambridge (and Oxford) in 1947, eight years prior to the founding of the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club in 1955. I’ve yet to hear the exciting details.

By the way, I dropped a lot of names from the address list while revising it for this issue. If I left off someone that should still be on it, please tell me. Also send address corrections.

And so it goes. Drop me a line sometime.

NATwA Secretary-General
Larry Kahn
10416 Haywood Drive
Silver Spring, Maryland 20902 USA
Home: (301) 681-9345
Work: (301) 670-2367 (ORI)

Newswink Editor
Rick Tucker
5505 Seminary Road # 1206 N
Falls Church, Virginia 22041 USA
Home: (703) 671-7098
Work: (703) 883-6699 (MITRE)

In This Issue

Winking Around the OED

by Rick Tucker

What do the following winkers have in common?

Bill Renke, Sunshine, Drix, Rosemary Wain, Andy Tomaszeuski (sic [⨳ should be: Tomaszewski ]), F. R. Shapiro, Mr. Lockwood, Alan Dean

They’re all mentioned in the latest Oxford English Dictionary Supplement! The Se to Z  volume of the OED supplement was published in early 1986 by Oxford University Press. Fred Shapiro’s contributions to the OED editors over the past 7 years finally have come to fruition, at least for the winking world. To be fair, Fred has sent the OED thousands of citations covering words in many fields, and is acknowledged in the prefaces as a major contributor to both the current OED supplement and the previous one. Nevertheless, the argot of winkdom (oops, that’s not in the OEDS), is defined definitively in the OED supplement. It is rather convenient that the major winking words fall between the letters Se and Z and are therefore within one volume of the OED supplement series.

The winking words appearing in the Se to Z OED supplement are:

squidge, squidger
squop (and squallop), squopper
tiddler, tiddlywink, tiddlywinker, tiddlywinks (and Tiddledy-Winks)
wink, winker, winks

And as a sidelight, a winks-related citation appears in the entry for Triple Crown, mentioning Bill Renke and the Zoo team! The legendary Hythnlbtwoc team is cited, along with NATwA, in the entry for squop.

You may wish to purchase a copy of the Se-Z OED supplement for $150, but as a preview, look throughout this Newswink for reproductions of some entries.

A Week in the Life

Some of you may remember the inquisitive freelance journalist dogging you back at the 1983 Continentals at MIT. Well, Steve McKee’s book, The Call of the Game, just hit the bookstores this month. The 13 of its 338 pages devoted to winks are far from superficial; McKee was keenly observant in his two days entrenched in winking with us. He even partook in a full game on the second day, with Brad Schaefer against the Lockwoods:

Walking away from my 6-1 drubbing, … I had to fight an irrational urge to turn around and challenge him again—with dreams of wiping his ass all over the felt.


By Sunshine

Dave’s “Remembrances” in Newswink 19 listed some of his most memorable games and invited other winkers to share some of their experiences. Here is my response—9 tournament games and also some magical/amusing winking moments.

Memorable Games

Feb 67: Last game of my first tournament, against undefeated top pair Severin [⨳ Drix ⨳] and [⨳ Richard ] Garson. After playing conservatively all day, I blitz. Five go in, then #6 from 9 inches goes right in too—I jump into the air—but the wink bounces out and lands next to our opponents. Jeff [⨳ Wieselthier ⨳] and I manage a 2-5 after the pot out.

Oct 72: HOTT in Boston, playing with Dean [⨳ Solomon ⨳] against Sev and Andy T[⨳ omasezwski ⨳]. Incredible positional game of counter-strategy. Late in the game we have a two turn sequence in which both pairs have a wink 1/2 inch away from an enemy-held undefended double–but cannot afford to attack because of pressure exerted elsewhere. Eventually we lose 3-4 in a game in which everyone felt satisfied with the score.

Feb 74: Continentals. Magical match for me and [⨳ Bill ⨳] Gammer[⨳ dinger ⨳] (10-2 for 64 points) and for surprise champion HYTH. A late key game was against the Zoo’s Bill R. and Craig [⨳ Schweinhart ⨳]. I have five winx near pot, one squopping when they land near me. I opt to blitz for 3rd time in match, sink 5 then bring in my last wink, barely missing the dot on the mat 13 inches from cup that I was aiming for. Bill and Craig miss their 9 inch squops away from pot, I miss long to 13 inches on other side, again in a deserted area. I make my 2nd attempt and we take a crucial 6-1.

June 74: Singles. Though I’ve played many enjoyable games with Bob [⨳ Henninge ⨳], in tourneys and at our homes, the one I remember best is one of my least favorite games. I start out miserably with one color but have the other totally free and irrelevant. I intentionally make it look like I’m setting up bristols and an incompetent fringe attack (missing bombs and approaches), then run for the pot against an unsuspecting Bob. The trick works and I score a 7-0.

Dec 75: Easterns. Playing with Sev against the new Mr. Bill show. Bill G. is irrelevant, Bill R. goes off the table twice, and when Sev bounces one in, the blitz is on. I free a temporarily captured wink and suddenly Sev has a 4 inch with his last wink, 5 Bill winks are on the edge of the table and a 7-0 is all but official. However, Sev clears the pot by several inches and lands in Bill country. Bill R. pots out, I bring in a boondocked wink, Sev again impressively clears the pot from 4 inches, and Bill G sinks an 18-incher to make the 7-0 official.

Feb 76: Continentals. With Carl vs. Mary and Betsy. I blitz with green but Betsy [⨳ Smith ⨳] makes a 15 inch squop with a large red to catch me 15 inches from the pot.

“You’re my last wink. But now you’re gone. They’ve taken you away You’re underneath that big red wink. I’ll never get to play Green wink can you hear me? Green wink can you see me? Are you somewhere under there. Please free him God, oh hear my prayer.”

Delay tactics help preserve a 4-3 win.

May 76: Singles. I trail Dave [⨳ Lockwood ⨳] by 3 1/2 going into the last game and I see little chance in scoring 5 1/2 in a normal game. I hope to keep one color pottable. I have several squops with yellow, including a big on big 12 inches from cup that looks like a good candidate for testing Jon Mapley theory [ed.: “No Wink Unpottable”]. Dave opts not to squop this wink for insurance. I break for pot, sinking the 12 incher but miss a second hard to pot off a wink near cup. Dave squops me but later fails to double me, leaving me with a Good attempt. I blast his squopping wink far away and take first. My second color is in good position, not having gone off on the Good. It takes me 2 shots to sink my last (from 7 inches) for a 6-1 and the title.

May 77: Pairs. With Ferd [⨳ Wulkan ⨳] vs. Dave and Bill G. We have solid control midway through game but master strategist unleashes an insidious fringe attack that looks stupid to both of our partners but which I realize is turning the game around. I manage to convince Ferd to do a shot that looks equally foolish but was the only way I could see to stop the flow of the game to Bill and Dave. We hold on to a very satisfying 5-2.

Oct 81: Haverford Pairs. With novice Barb [⨳ Pease ⨳] against Ken M[⨳ oraff ⨳]. and Rick [⨳ Tucker ⨳]. Ken and I have blitz threats, I choose to go first. My 6th wink is none other than Muenster about 9 inches away. He misses once but lands safely and makes the return trip from 7 inches. As I lined up the 2nd pot, I knew I wanted to make it “for Muenster”. I felt more nervous before that shot and more satisfied after he went in than for a similar pot for the 76 Singles title.

Special Winking Moments

Potting: Having done a fair amount of my own magical potting, I remember being stunned by watching Larry [⨳ Kahn ⨳] pot 3 winks from simple distances (6 inches to 12 inches) in the 4th round—because I SAW that each shot was absolutely PERFECT, that the winks leapt into the pot as if there was a string drawing them there. (I missed my next shot.)

Squopping: Larry again. I’ve enjoyed witnessing the effects of Larry’s talent being amplified by the command voice of Severin or Arye [⨳ Gittelman ⨳]. Like coming over the pot to bridge the edge of a pile and the defending wink from 18 inches away or swallowing my last wink from 2 feet away as if it were 1 inch away or probably just about any shot he wants/needs to make.

Color Order: Alan Dean in a 4-color scramble squop game. Alan color-ordered me to death—keeping me at 1 free wink but never giving me a turn as he freed me onto myself from nontrivial distances—5 times in a row to create a game-ending sextuple.

Psychic defense: In a triples tourney, Mary [⨳ Kirman ⨳] (one of my partners) has started to blitz. Our sexist opponents (who shall remain nameless) voiced shock that a girl thought she could succeed in a blitz against them. One attempted a counter-blitz, but when his 1st pot attempt went backwards, he stopped his annoying chatter and meekly stared at a not-at-all surprised Mary (who soon potted out).

Boondocking: Larry freeing one of my winks towards himself—and sending it off the table and barely into his mouth (wink not swallowed).

Potting technique: At OAKBYTE after a strategy session, Winke tries a blitz. Bill lines up each shot, concentrating intensely, then starts to shake and giggle, then makes his shot. Takes about 30 seconds/shot and doesn’t miss a shot.

Pile bombing: At MIT practice. Bob is shooting in 4th round with his only wink at our very solid very defended very large pile. My partner turns briefly, Bob drops his squidger on pile. Our partners are very impressed with the extensive damage his small wink wreaked. Bob and I say nothing, score is still 6-1.

Line potting: Moishe shoots in a large green from the line, hits a small green near the pot—and propels it into the pot. And, his squidger broke on the shot.

Circular squops: Twice with Bob, once a 2-wink pile, once an 8-wink pile with none free.

Squidger finding: Bob finding one at the top of Taughannock Falls after a winxend in Ithaca.

STOMP! USA Invades Britain

by Larry Kahn

The US All-Star team celebrated Thanksgiving in England this year by turning the top British players into a bunch of turkeys. The team achieved a near sweep of all the events, making this one of the most successful tours ever.

The team consisted of the top 3 Americans, Larry, Dave, and Arye, and was rounded out with Jim, Rick, and Charles, all top 10 players. (Are there more than 10 NATwA players these days?)

The one blot for the US occurred Friday before the ETwA Singles, when Arye was done in by Alan and possibly a new mat, 30 1/2 to 18 1/2. This was Britain’s first successful World Singles challenge; it turned out to be the shortest reign to date.

At the ETwA Singles, the US dominated the finals, sending all 6 players in the field of 12 and taking the top 3 spots (Larry, Dave, and Arye). Does 4th place really deserve a challenge to the World Singles or is it time to revise the rules? The total inter-association record was 66-16 (4.95) in favor of the US. This is inflated due to qualifying rounds, but even in the finals the mark stood at 25-11 (4.43).

Next up was an obvious win for the US team against the Cambridge squad, but they put up a good fight and only lost 47-16. Averaging mostly 2 was a good achievement for Cambridge. Possibly more impressive was that around 30 people showed up for the meeting.

The final weekend saw 4 matches crammed into 2 days. On Saturday the US overpowered the British All-Stars 70-35, even after losing the first round 9-12. Dave and Jim led all pairs with 31 points in the 5 games.

That night saw the 5th World Pairs take place as Larry and Arye held off a very determined Dave and Alan Boyce in 7 games, 29-20. Dave and Alan had the early lead at 16-12 but a dinner break revitalized Arye and he and Larry won the next 3 games. Dave played almost at his limit for most of this match and a few of Alan’s errors proved costly.

On Sunday, the Individual tournament ran simultaneously with the World Singles. As it turned out, maybe the Individual should have been delayed an hour or two because in the World Singles Larry completely overwhelmed Alan Dean, 25-3 in the first 4 game match. Meanwhile, the Individual (minus Larry, Alan Dean, and Dave) was held and Rick emerged the winner, followed by Arye and Alan Boyce.

In the 120 games that were strictly US against Britain singles or pairs, the US held a commanding 94-26 edge with a 4.82 ppg. Not too bad for a bunch of scruffy Yanks.

England 1985: A Personal Perspective

by Rick Tucker

A six-winker American all-star team assembled in Cambridge in the middle of November 1985 to commence a whirlwind winking tour of England. Dave Lockwood jetted in from Bahrain (via New York?); Rick Tucker, Jim Marlin, and Larry Kahn from Washington or Baltimore; and Charles Frankston and Arye Gittelman from Boston. Both Dave and Jim are old-hands at winking eye-to-eye with the Brits as both were on the 1972 MIT World Champion team. However, neither Rick nor Arye had ever winked in England before.

I arrived a bit late on the first day of the English Singles. I hadn’t seen any winker, American or English, before I entered the Old Hall at Queens College, Cambridge. There was no mistaking the excitement in the air. The Old Hall was quite definitely the most resplendent venue of any match in which I’ve played. There was some amusement due to dim light late on Saturday in my match with Keith Seaman. At one point it was discovered that a blue wink near a blue-controlled pile was actually a green wink which could easily take over the pile and change the course of the game! The last few games of Saturday were played in a nearby building across the Mathematical Bridge not far from where Chancellor Kohl was visiting.

The new Italian winks not only have similar greens and blues, but their coefficient of friction is higher, and it changes in humidity. I found that the Swirl squidgers that I have been making for years are not good for use with the Italian winks because they stick during my stroke, particularly for squop-style shots. During the tour, I switched to a Delrin squidger. After I returned to the States, I bought some new varieties of plastic and made squidgers from fiber-based phenolic (FBP). The FBP seems to be a good material for use with the Italian winks; polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is also good. The Sunday Times seemed enamored by the high-techness of winks:

They play tough. Their squidgers may be of Plexiglas, Teflon or Delrin, emery-sanded and carried in zippered synthetic pouches.

Well—I’m glad that my squidger case made The Times; next time maybe I will.

The England tour was the first time Americans had played on the latest, greatest mats. The new mats are a tad gray, but not as gray as the old two-plies that were standard until 1972. No complaints from me.

After their 1-2-3 finish in the Singles in Cambridge on the first weekend, the American team played the 30-year-old Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club (CUTwC) on Wednesday. Then to Oxford on Saturday for an international team match. The results are best summed up by Veronica Horwell in The Sunday Times on 1 December:

Britain was heavily drubbed at tiddlywinks by the official North American team in the international at Wadham College, Oxford, yesterday. Sadder still, Cambridge University, mother of modern tiddlywinks, lost at home to the American players earlier in the week.

The winking highlight of the 10 days for me, along with being a finalist in the Singles, was winning the Individual tournament on Sunday in Oxford. In an individual tournament, each winker plays with each other winker as partner during the course of the match. Never mind that Larry, Alan, and Dave were involved in a distraction over in the corner of the room at Wadham College.

In the course of the tour, members of the Cambridge Club announced that there is evidence of a Cambridge-Oxford tiddlywinks match in 1947, preceding the 1955 founding of CUTwC. The source of this discovery was a newspaper article. Details were to follow in Winking World, but no WWs have crossed the Atlantic to date. [An aside: I saw the following headline recently: “Atlantis found in the Pacific”.]

CUTwC is reported to have 148 members!

Whereas most words in the winking lexicon are most assuredly English, boondock is an American contribution. Yet while we clip the word to boon the Cambrians take the other tack and dock their opponents’ winks! I finally found out what a John Lennon Memorial Shot (or Lennon) is; it’s called a boondock and squop over here. I encountered some other language conflicts; when I heard English winkers calling for a torch, I couldn’t imagine what they wanted to burn.

While in England, I managed to avoid eating at the “American Hamburger” restaurant on Oxford Street in London, but I did succumb to chicken pizza which mysteriously is absent in America. I was lured to a few shows, notably Starlight Express and Daisy Pulls It Off. All in all, it was a whirlwind tour and it was over much too soon.

Brad Has Highest PAIRS Average!

by Sunshine

Individual Pairs IV was held 11 October 1986 at Jim Marlin’s new DC home. Joining the ever present DC 4 were, once again, Bob Henninge and Sunshine. Boston sent regrets.

Were there 8 players, then each winker would have played 1 game with and 2 against everyone else. With only 6 players there are 3 singles games and 8 games with singles versus a pair. In 3 of the 4 such matches held to date, only 6 players participated. In all 3 the singles player won only 2 of the 8 games.

After 3 rounds of IP IV, all 6 players had both won and lost at least one game. After 4 rounds Larry had a 6 1/2 point lead—but 4 players were within a single point in the battle for 2nd. In the 6th (of 7) round it was up to Sunshine to bring Larry back to the pack. Despite the willingness by the other 4 players to jump up and down if he needed a pile shaken, the best Sunshine could manage in the singles game was a vertical wink judged to be squopping a pile of 3—and, eventually, a single point. 2nd place remained to be decided, and Bob overcame Brad with a last-game, hotly-contested 5-2 victory. Brad did, however, have the best record (yes, better than Larry’s) as part of a pair—having gone 4-0 for 19 points when partnered but only 0-2-1 when solo.

And for irrelevant statistics buffs, Sunshine reclaimed first place in career games from an absent Severin Drix.

                   Match IV Results     Four Match Totals
                   W-L-T  Pts        W- L-T   PPG Best Finish (Pts)
Larry Kahn         6-1    35        24- 4    5.14  1, 1, 1, 1 (40)
Bob Henninge       4-3    27 1/2    13-15    3.29  2          (27 1/2)
Brad Schaefer      4-2-1  25 1/2     9-11-1  2.98  3          (25 1/2)
Sunshine           4-3    23 1/2    16-12    3.79  2, 2, 2T   (29 1/2)
Jim Marlin         2-4-1  22         8-12-1  3.21  3          (25 1/2)
Rick Tucker        2-5    16        13-15    3.09  4          (24 1/2)
Arye Gittelman                       8- 6    4.00  2T         (29 1/2)
Charles Frankston                    3- 4    3.21  5          (22 1/2)
Singles            2-6    25 1/2     6-18    2.73  5          (25 1/2)

ETwA Singles 1985

by Larry Kahn

⨳ Transcription Information ⨳

Names mentioned: Larry Kahn, Dave Lockwood, Arye Gittelman, Rick Tucker, Alan Dean, Charles Relle, Jon Mapley, Charles Frankston.”

In what was probably the strongest tournament field ever, Larry outlasted Dave and Arye to successfully defend his 1984 ETwA title. It was a very exciting match, and for this year at least, the Americans dominated. All 6 members of the American all-star team made the finals, and the USA swept the top 3 places.

A humongous crowd of 40 winkers showed up and they were split into the four obvious colors (divisions). The seeding (seedy?) committee did an accurate job (except for Rick, and we could have told them differently) as 11 of the 12 seeds made it into the final, Rick beating out Tony Brennan for the last spot. Seven of the twelve finalists were former National Singles winners.

There were too many “big” games to report on every one. Like so many tournaments in the past, Larry jumped out to an early lead and at the end of round 6 was 3 up on Arye. In this round, Alan once again dealt a severe blow to Dave by getting a 7. Round 7 saw the Dave-Larry game, tightly played but with Dave again winning the battle but not the war with a 5. Alan picked up a much needed 6 and Arye only got 1 from Charles Relle.

At this point Larry still had a 3 point lead but his last 4 games were against Nick Inglis and (gulp) Charles Relle, Alan, and Arye. Dave, though 5 back, finished against the bottom four places, so it looked like he might have the inside track. Rounds 8, 9, and 10 saw no changes for the Americans as Larry and Arye got 17 and Dave 18. However, Jon Mapley was quietly sneaking up on Alan for the important top finisher.

Going into the last round, Larry had 54, Dave and Arye each had 50, Alan 44, and Jon 40. An American would win, but which one? Larry played Arye while Dave had Charles Frankston. Arye got up on Larry midway through the game, but Larry battled back and by the end of regulation it was close. At this point Larry tried to guarantee a 2 to force Dave to get a 6. This strategy ended up working, and in the 5th Larry potted a necessary 6 incher for the 2. Unexpectedly, Arye missed an easy pot ending the game. Now Larry had a gift 4 and the tournament. Dave finished out his game with Charles, getting 5 and second place. Meanwhile, Alan, not realizing Jon was hot on his tail, ended up on the short end of a 6-1 against Charles Relle, allowing Jon to sneak ahead of him by getting a final round 6.

Statistically, there wasn’t much of the rabbit-bashing effect in this match. The top 3 had 2-1 records against the top 4 with 12, 13, and 14 points. Among the top 6, Larry had 23 in 5 games, followed by Dave and Arye with 20. The US really cleaned up against Britain, going 25-11 for 4.43 in the finals, and 41-5 for 5.35 in the prelims.

On Squidgers

by Charles Relle

Schoolchildren writing essays are sometimes told to cross out the first paragraph as it is bound to be irrelevant. I am going to start quite on purpose with remarks irrelevant to my title. It was a great experience to welcome and play against the visiting American team last autumn, to reform old friendships and to make new ones. It was good to meet and greet my fellow editor and historian Rick Tucker, though he turned out to be the most elusive of our visitors. I was glad to have a copy of his fine production Newswink 19. I think, however, that on a subsequent tour, we should try to have one purely social gathering. Inevitably time is short, but the tour did have something of a whirlwind quality, and perhaps next time Etwa should deliberately arrange a day or evening off.

But now to my subject: Newswink 19 contained articles on “Squidgers of the Past and Future” and “Squidgers of the Rich and Famous“. I did not expect to be mentioned under the latter title, whatever the semantic value of the word “and”, but perhaps I can throw a little light on squidgers of the past, for as far as I know I was the first player to use a modified squidger, and this was in 1961, during my second term at Cambridge. It had already occurred to me that it was useful always to use the same squidger, and I was lucky in that my first set contained an unwarped Cambridge blue squidger, which I used regularly. My next step was to file it down (in fact I scraped it with a penknife) until rather less than half the squidger was left, with one rounded and one smooth edge. I used the rounded edge for all shots. All the squidgers I have made and used have been on this pattern, with a few expections [sic, should be: exceptions].

The Cambridge blue squidger eventually broke, and I replaced it in the late sixties with another standard squidger not from a set. It is white, and I still have it. I keep it for sentimental reasons, as from wear it is no longer round and cannot be used. I then had another white squidger on the same pattern, and now have a dark blue. Not being a scientist, I do not know whether the dyes used to colour squidgers affect their rigidity, but I find red and green less easy to make into satisfactory squidgers than other colours.

Other people, in Cambridge and elsewhere, followed what I believe to have been my lead in the early sixties, and in October 1964, Winking World 6 printed an article, by the pseudonymous “Aeacus”, on Tiddlywinks equipment that included some remarks on squidgers. They are very general, and have little to tell us today. One sentence is perhaps worth quoting: “The only sure conclusion is that, within the limit of the law, the size and thickness of the squidger are a matter of personal preference.” We can hardly disagree!

Winking World 7 contained a long article on winks equipment, this time by Phil Villar. Some of his remarks on squidgers are worth repeating: “Standard squidgers are about 1.45 inches in diameter. However, many players prefer squidgers of about 1.25 inches. Sometimes a smaller squidger gives more direct control of pressure and position … When firmly held, a larger squidger gives better control of horizontal direction.”

His final sentence makes interesting reading: “It seems that it will not be long before players insist on using their own carefully selected winks and wide range of home-made squidgers.”

Nowadays it seems that most people use the “Southampton Squidger”. Winking World 21 (October 1972), describing the MIT tour, reads: “One of the reasons for our ability to play the delicate shots of the game must be the use of the superb ‘Southampton Squidger’ which more and more of our best players are using. Keith Seaman developed the technique for making this squidger in the metal work shop at Ealing Grammar School, and he and Mick Mooney perfected it at Southampton. A number of these squidgers were taken back to America by the MIT players.” These are the pattern for Rick Tucker’s superbly made squidgers, and for others of the same double-convex shape.

In case Rick ever writes an article entitled “Squidgers of the Poverty-Stricken and Obscure”, I submit a list of my own squidgers and their uses (all measures are approximate):

  1. 1″ orange: made of the same material as “set” squidgers; used for squops close to the pot. This is sanded down on one side to somewhat less than half its original thickness.
  2. 1″ Orion, made by Rick Tucker. I use this for potting small nurdled winks. 1″ yellow, origin unknown, but of the same material as Walmsley’s squidgers and winks. Boiled and flattened, as in the Kahn treatment, otherwise untreated. It has a square edge profile, and I use it for boondocks.
  3. 1 3/16″ white. A hard plastic, origin unknown. This is my spare bristol squidger. It is very thin with a square edge.
  4. 1 9/32″ dark blue, from Walmsley material: this has been boiled and flattened, then sanded down on both sides until very thin, then sanded down by the Tucker method so that it is convex all round both edges. Home-made, very precious, my prime bristol squidger. I think I use the bristol technique more often than most, and prefer this size of squidger. This squidger, and # 4 and # 2 above, are useful for making piles go in two directions, especially near the pot.
  5. 1 15/32″ blue Swirl, made by Rick Tucker. For potting and squopping. I used this a lot in 1985, especially on the rather fluffy ROB2 mats. For 1986 and 12319 mats, I have gone back to my own make, which are lighter and to me preferable on a firmer surface. However, the Swirl, being symmetrical, is still in my armoury as a pile-splitter.
  6. 1 5/32″ dark blue set, boiled, flattened and sanded to slightly under half its thickness. If you make a squidger in this way, sand away the originally concave side, or it will warp. The squidger may warp anyway, in which case boil it again and clamp it between two flat surfaces for 24 hours. Now my main squidger for potting and squopping.
  7. 1 15/32″ set green treated as # 7 above and a reserve to it.
  8. 1 3/4″ black, Italian, with Pot engraved on it in gold letters. Boiled, flattened and sanded down like # 7 above, it is used for bringing in and similar long shots. It was bought at the Games Centre in Oxford Street.
  9. 1 3/4″ purple, 1/8″ thick, square edge: I use this for pile-breaking or for tapping winks out of piles.
  10. 1 3/4″ brown, 3/16″ thick, square edge: this was originally for bringing in, and so I could have a squidger of the maximum legal thickness. Now I use it for tapping winks out of piles, like # 10 above, and for pile breaking if the top wink is only just over the wink I want to move. This squidger is also useful if I want to think out my next move, as when I pick it up the opponents always ask for a shot judge.
  11. 2″ PVC made by Rick Tucker. I use this for bringing in, and for boondocks.

Most of these squidgers I use very occasionally; # 9, # 7, and # 4 are my principal weapons.

Addenda to Newswink 19:

  • A blue Schiller squidger owned by Bob Savitzky was transferred to Fred Shapiro in 1974 and lost in 1980.
  • ETwA’s rules no longer restrict squidgers to be made of plastic.

New Improved Perimeter Rule

by Sunshine

Over the years one frequently discussed (but to little or no effect) possible rule change involved the age-old question of “What to do when a wink is shot off the table?” In some Congresses the debate centered on loss of turn versus loss of shot, other times around penalizing the shooting of opponent winks off the table. Finally a rule change was suggested that was acceptable for experimental play at the Bostinentals this year. The rule had been used in “home” games for over a year. The rule was also used (as a matter of course) at April’s Kahntinentals and several other

When a wink is shot off the table the opponents of the shooter choose where to place each wink (of any color) on the perimeter of the table (no closer than 4 inches to any other wink). If only one wink was sent off, no turn is missed by the shooter, but if more than one of any color is sent off, a turn is missed.

This rule does punish brutal boondockings—if one shoots an opponent wink with more force than skill it will appear only 18 inches from the pot and often close to the action. Folks who can boondock to the edges of the mat will have earned an advantage. If one shoots one’s own wink off the table, it’s likely to find itself on a baseline—but without a loss of turn (or shot). Many offings are the results of bad luck (rolls, bouncers off the cup) and not bad play—and a loss of turn and a far-away wink was often a very unjust penalty. The loss of turn has been kept for those hopefully rare instances of two or more winks leaving the table. (However, some “house rules” do call for loss of turn for airwinks—winks that go off the table without any contact with mat, pot, or stationary wink.)

The rule will often affect play—changing how winkers execute boondocks—and often result in winks being less boondocked. And, in one Bostinental game, Sunshine secured a 4-3 victory with a 5th round 18 inch pot instead of having to sink one from 36 inches away at the baseline.

Future discussion is sure to come–especially for matches involving both NATwA and ETwA.

Letters to Newswink

Dear Newswink,

What a thrill to receive Newswink Nineteen, even if I had to really hunt just to find my name in it—and never displayed very prominently like in the good old days (e.g., Ferd Buys Truck). Thanks for keeping it going!

How about someone collecting Tiddlywinks dreams? I think it would make a great regular feature or one-time column. I’ll start by contributing a very recent one of mine:

Some group of people, not even winks-related, decided to secede from the United States. The first task was to come up with a new flag. It consisted of the regular stripes, but the field in the upper left corner didn’t contain stars. Rather, it had a winks pot in the center, surrounded by various gods and goddesses each carrying winks toward the cup.

I wish I could remember my many other winks dreams. The impetus of potentially seeing them published in an international journal like Newswink could make the difference, however.

Hope to see all you winkers some time soon.


Bostinentals 1986


An old NATwA tradition was that most of NATwA would descend on Boston or Ithaca for the Continentals on Presidents Day weekend. On 2/22/86 (old-style George Washington’s birthday), most of non-Ithacan NATwA assembled for the Bostinentals. 21 games were played on Saturday, 7 more on Sunday by 23 winkers—including 2 first games (Nancy R. and Leslie L.), 3 relative newcomers (only 5 to 9 years), and 18 veterans with 13 to 20 years of experience (as winkers). NATwA itself celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Until 1984 this match was for the NATwA team championship. In 1985 it was Eyes vs. Glasses. This year Larry Kahn and Bob Henninge chose up sides–and unlike in most such events, the sides turned out to be evenly matched. A typical round went 15-13 or 14-14 with each side winning two hard-fought games. By taking two of the last three games, Larry’s unnamed side ended up with slightly more points than Bob’s also unnamed squad. However, no one was watching the scoreboard. Mostly folks arranged and played friendly evenly-matched games. A number of seldom-seen-in-recent-years winkers of the early 70’s put in appearances (Bozo (Gerald Linden), Martha Simon, Betsy Smith, and Larry Rosenberg) and one game looked very much like a 1973 Somervillains intrasquad game. Additional fun was supplied by the NATwA songbook and Ferd’s newspaper and photo collection. Over half the winkers appeared on Sunday for more winking fun. The match also introduced a new rule for affecting winks shot off the table (see “New Improved Perimeter Rule” in this Newswink).

Statistical highlights included Moishe’s best performance in recent memory as he led all winkers with a 4.5 ppg. L and Sue Crapes both started out undefeated in 4 games. Ferd matched his win total of the previous 3 1/2 years by winning 6 games, despite playing 5 times against former partner/teammate Bob, who managed to play with 8 different partners in 10 games. And Ferd tied the all-time ppl record by scoring 3’s in his only three games.

After Saturday’s play a number of winkers were reported having what resembled the yearly Continental Congress.

Rat Basketball vs. Winks

On a rainy day in August 1986, winkers from around the nation converged on the Boston Museum of Science to participate in its Science of Sports exhibition. When not watching a trained rat salivate while dunking a basketball, L, Susan Assmann, Moishe, Ross Callon, Larry Kahn, and Rick Tucker amused onlookers, mostly avid museum personnel.

… Tidbits

U.S. Customs officials are limiting the French and Australian athletes to five cases of beer apiece. This breaks down to pumping aluminum at the rate of eight cans a day, hardly enough to restore the carbohydrate burn off of a third stringer on the tiddlywinks team.
AP, 25 April 1984 (via Fred Shapiro)

Mr. Hakansson warns parents of electronic games that are too trivial, using complex technology for games that would be more appropriate with “pencil and paper or tiddlywinks.”
Christian Science Monitor, 15 December 1980, page 17 (via Fred Shapiro)

Satisfying Cable’s Vast Appetite for Programming: Notes R. Joseph Fuchs, an analyst at Kidder, Peabody & Co.: “I can foresee a channel offering tiddlywinks for aficionados.”
Dun’s Business Month, November 1981, page 84 (via Fred Shapiro)

King Kahn

by Dave “The Dragon” Lockwood

I am reminded of a book I read when I was a kid. There was this dog named Prince Tom III. First, he went to obedience school and became a great champion. This added some titles to his name so he became Champion Dog Prince Tom III, P.E., V.G.D.. He picked up some more championships and these allowed him to add letters after his name similar to academic credentials. Finally his owner decided to train him as a field dog. No one thought a show dog could ever adapt to hunting but Prince Tom III proved them wrong and became a champion at this as well. He ended up with a name of Champion Dog Prince Tom III P.E., V.G.D., S.D.C., F.W.M., W.K.S.M., T.C.O.T.Y., S.D.D., C.P.E., N.D., O.D.C., etc.

May I introduce the reigning top dog of the winking universe, Mr. Lawrence ‘Horsemeat’ Kahn, B.S. in Ocean Engineering, M.S. in the same, World Singles Tiddlywinks Champion (6 times), World Pairs Tiddlywinks Champion (4 times), World Tiddlywinks All-Stars Champion (2 times), ETwA Singles Tiddlywinks Champion (2 times), NATwA Singles Tiddlywinks Champion (3 times), and NATwA Pairs Tiddlywinks Champion (8 times). He holds all of the above titles at the present time. The two titles that he doesn’t hold are the ETwA Pairs (it’s tough enough to get over once a year when you don’t work for an airline) and the World Masters Singles (an omission he expects to rectify at the earliest opportunity).

The superlatives we use in this article would have been more restrained if it wasn’t for the destruction of Alan Dean that Larry effected in World Singles 23 on 1 December 1985 at Oxford. Alan had achieved the long-desired goal of all British winkers on the 22nd of November in winning the World Singles title from Arye Gittelman, 30 1/2 to 18 1/2 (2 1/2-4 1/2, 3-4, 4-3, 6-1, 6-1, 3-4, 6-1). This was the ninth British attempt in 22 matches. It was Alan’s third attempt after losses in 1973 and 1979. Jon Mapley had four tries (1980, 1981, 1983, and 1984); Charles Relle (1982) and Keith Seaman (1976) have had one each. To be succinct, Larry beat Alan 25-3 (6-1, 6-1, 6-1, 7-0). The match was similar to Alan’s other two defeats in that Alan took 3 points in the final four games in the match. The significant difference in this one was that Alan didn’t get his big first game (3 points against Bill Renke in 1973 and 6 points against Dave in 1979). Larry’s win was the first four game victory in World Series

The match is devastatingly simple to describe. The first three games saw Larry squidge in better than Alan (largely due to the antiquated flip style still practiced by Alan) and then create a huge pile that Alan would shoot at. The first and third games witnessed the creation of 19-wink piles while the second reached 21. If Alan had followed the same pattern in the fourth game, he would have reached the fifth round. Instead, the game developed numerous piles from which Larry was able to extract one color and pot out. The seven was clinical. I’m sure Alan would like me to say that no one would have beaten Larry on that day, but Alan’s make-or-break style was particularly ill-suited to Larry’s stunning shot-making display. I will say that Larry never missed anything crucial (and Alan was on the pile many times) and that I have never seen him play better.

So Larry becomes the first player to regain the World Singles crown. Both Drix and Lockwood have failed in attempts to do so. Next up is Jon Mapley, who edged Alan for the top Brit spot in the ETwA Singles. This match will produce the first five-time loser since both participants have lost four.

Kahntinentals III

by Sunshine

Six winkers gathered in Silver Spring on 26 April 1986 for the third edition of the Kahntinentals or Individual Pairs (IP)—theoretically a match for eight players—a seven round robin with everyone playing one game with each winker as a partner and two games against everyone. This match now appears on the winking calendar twice a year!

Bob and Sunshine once again joined the DC homeowners—Jim and Brad playing in their second IP and Larry (host) and Rick in their third. In the two year history of the match a few “traditions” have already developed. In the two out of three category are such noteworthy events as:

  • Everyone losing an hour shortly after the match
  • Bill Renke hoping to come but not being able to at the last moment
  • Jim arriving late, thus setting up an exciting post-match replay
  • PPW being exactly 5.5 and there being no 7-0’s
  • Bob and Sunshine somehow failing to play together despite the format
  • Pairs defeating singles in six of eight games (having less than eight players results in such games)

This year’s match was rather a close one—everyone won at least three out of seven games, and even Larry lost a game (something he neglected to do last August). In fact, much improved Jim only needed a 7-0 last game victory to claim first place. However, Larry and * somehow squeaked by with a 6-1 over Bob and Jim to preserve a few three-time traditions:

  • Larry coming in first (yawn)
  • Sunshine sneaking into second

Other excitements included heavy bookie action during the lunch break (Larry was a prohibitive 1-3 favorite to score at least six during the break), a dinosaur museum for Aaron and Sue, experimentation with a variable time limit of 15 + 2.5 * N minutes (N = number of winkers), use of the new improved perimeter rule, and the traditional Chinese feast.

Larry    6-1  37 pts 
Sunshine 4-3  26 
Jim      4-3  25 1/2 
Bob      3-4  24 1/2 
Rick     3-4  22 1/2
Brad     3-4  19
(Singles 2-6  20 1/2)

A group of young Shiite men are conversing at a sports club outside the city, and others play soccer, lift weights and concentrate on a game called kairem, a sort of sophisticated Arab version of tiddlywinks.
— The New York Times, 24 July 1984, page A2, re Bahrain (via Fred Shapiro)

Mr. Miller twice describes PC-class machines as toy computers. Where has he been the last few years? Was NASA playing tiddledywinks when they used dBase to track the recovery of Challenger’s fragments?
— Letter in PC Week, 4 November 1986, page 61.

Lima beans were always a challenge when I was a kid. Freshly buttered, they would cool to brick-hardness in minutes. One tap with the fork tines tiddlywink-style would send them flying. One point if you hit another plate. Three points if you sank one into a glass of milk.
— Christian Science Monitor, 27 November 1985, page 47

World Singles Title Loaned to Britain

by Larry Kahn

After 21 matches (9 USA vs. Britain), the America’s Cup of winks finally changed hands as El Supremo (Alan Dean) took the title from Arye during the first match of the 1985 USA tour of England. However, Alan had only a week to enjoy being “the best winker on the planet” according to the Cambridge Evening News before being brought back to earth by Larry.

The Alan-Arye match was close up until about the 6th game. Arye had the disadvantage of playing on the new mats without practice but still managed to win the first two games, 4 1/2 and 4. In retrospect, these probably were a big factor in the loss since he had some bad shots in rounds that turned big wins to close wins.

Alan then started playing better and had a 4, 6, and 6 to put him up by 21 1/2 to 13 1/2. Arye was now getting desperate and made some questionable decisions late in game 6 that led to him getting only a 4 win instead of something larger. This left the match at 24 1/2 to 17 1/2 for Alan and the final game was one of those perverted  strategy types that Alan finally won, 6-1. The final score of 30 1/2 to 18 1/2 was not really indicative of how close the match was.

The final score of the next match was completely indicative of how that match went as Larry played just about perfectly for the whole match while Alan was left feeling rather helpless even though he didn’t play badly.

The first three games were identical even down to the location of the major pile. In each game, Larry had the early position due to better bring-ins, one monster pile would be built, Alan would attack well but Larry would make every shot to prevent Alan from blowing the pile. Larry’s only mistake came when he accidentally freed Alan’s wink onto the pile but immediately recovered on the following series. These three games ended 6-1 for Larry.

The final game was somewhat more spread out and after Larry squopped Alan out he was able to maneuver a controlled potout and when he got the 7 it was the first time a World Singles had been won in 4 games, 25-3.

Uhis was a truly dominant win by Larry; Alan must have felt helpless as all of his good shots were immediately countered. At one point he commented to Arye, “Doesn’t he ever miss?” The answer was—no, not today.

Dave doubled as referee and film director as he videotaped a large portion of the match. It’ll be interesting to see the tape—hopefully Dave will bring it next time he visits the States.

… members voted to send themselves and their wives to a Las Vegas convention. “That’s where they have all those shows with semi-nudity,” she said. “Of course, they wouldn’t admit they’d even go, but I don’t think they’ll stay in their hotel rooms and play tiddlywinks.”
— UPI, 9 May 1984 (via Fred Shapiro)

Cusick told the joint Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board inquiry that properly scraping rust off the hatch covers “was like playing tiddlywinks on ice on a lake.”
— UPI, 18 February 1983 (via Fred Shapiro)

Pages 17 and 18 of Newswink 20 contain the NATwA Address List as of 12 November 1986, which is not provided online.

Lester C. Thurow, an economist with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Reagan’s economic program holds major risks for the economy.

“Given that we have just one economy with which to play tiddlywinks, it does not make sense to count on the tiddlywink coming down in the right spot.”
— AP, 20 May 1981 (via Fred Shapiro)

[+template:(Tucker Tw ID • [+xmp:title+] — publisher • [+iptc:source+] — title • [+xmp:headline])+]