North American Tiddlywinks Association

NATwA founded • 27 February 1966

  • Publisher • North American Tiddlywinks Association
  • Publication title: Newswink
  • Whole issue number •  9
  • Publication date • 17 February 1979
  • Editors • Charles Frankston and Joe Sachs
  • Print production • 8½” by 11″, photocopy in black and white

Square brackets (“[example]”) used in this transcription denote corrections, annotations, and clarifications added during transcription that are not in the original.

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


Number 9

February 17, 1979

An official publication of the North American Tiddlywinks Association

Winker’s Return Awaited

As of this date, the return of the last remnants of the American summer expedition to the British Isles is expected soon. Bob [Henninge], Severin [Drix], Josef [Sachs] and Buck [Webb] were last seen not more than a block from Victoria Station winding their way down the Laker queue. This correspondent is here only by dint of the fact that he stayed on to tour most of Europe and chanced to take Pan Am back from Amsterdam.

For those who haven’t heard yet, a crew of U.S. winkers (Severin, Bob, MP [Rouse], Larry [Kahn], Charles, Joe, Buck, and Lee (well, he didn’t start out a winker, but..)) roamed the British Isle this summer (oh yes, Lokweed was there too, he didn’t roam though (is he an American winker??)). There was opportunity for several tournaments as well as much touring. I for one am pleased to state that the reported death of English winking seems to be greatly exaggerated. Although many of the British may not share our attitudes towards increasing winking numbers, I feel the British play the game for much the same reason most of us do… it’s fun. I am happy to report the comraderie of winking continues across the ocean. The British showed us fine hospitality. Special thanks to John Mapely [sic, should be Mapley] who met us so aptly at Victoria station with a winks mat in one arm and an American flag in the other. Keith Seaman, Cyril Edwards and Mick Still for the accomodations in London, Geoff and Chris Cornell for the excellent dinner in Cambridge, Steve Welch for fine winking among snow covered highlands, Alan Dean for hosting the most enjoyable All Play All Tournament, Charles Relle for playing cook and chauffe[u]r while giving us the perfect model of a winks patriarch, and Mick Still again for his infinitely expanding floor. This was, of course, the first trip for all us except Dave and Severin, and upon reflection, I can only regret that the abyss between these two great winking communities is bridged so infrequently. I fervently hope that soon some of the British winkers may have an opportunity to sample our hospitality.

Of course, some fine winks was played on this tour. Disappointingly, after all I had heard about El Supremo (Alan Dean for the uninformed), he was certainly not in legendary form during our tour. However, our Pan American correspondent reports that Alan is once again English singles champion, proving that the Supreme Dean cannot be kept down for long. If Alan Dean was not in form though, it would seem the rest of Great Britain was, as one might gather from the following articles.

World All Stars: US collapses at the tape!

Geoff Cornell’s reporting of this tournament in Winking World #31 is so superb, I could not conceive of writing another. From WW #31:

Great Britain v. U.S.A July 15
Venue: Goldsmith’s College, London

The appearance of a Great Britain side may have been a desperate attempt to preserve England’s unbeaten status. More charitably, perhaps, it took account of Steve Welch who travelled down on the overnight bus from Edinburgh. Eight British winkers assembled to give battle with the Americans. The venue? A classroom in Goldsmith’s College! Perhaps the Americans were right to find the tables and mats inadequate, but Cyril [Edwards] had played his cards right: Goldsmith’s College was that day playing host to the South London Cat Show, and the presence of moggies meant that the college bar had an extension into the vacation.

The British side was uncomfortable at first: it was discovered that some of the team had been practising! They soon decided on pairings: Jon Mapley with Dave Rose, Geoff Cornell and Alan Dean; the question of Cyril was resolved by pairing him with Keith, leaving Charles Relle and Steve Welch surprised to be playing together. The Americans were more devious: initially they wanted to change their pairings each round, but eventually they agreed that change was possible between the members of pairs 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 at the end of the second and sixth rounds, and a total change possible at the end of the fourth. If the reader is now bemused, read on: it doesn’t get any clearer! The first four rounds were played to the American 25 minute time limit, the second four to 20 minutes. In general English rules were agreed to, though in any disagreement IFTwA was to be called in. Dave Lockwood, who is IFTwA, said he’d try to be impartial: or else toss a coin!…… so with all that decided, we were away. The flags were unfurled (yes, really!), the press took pictures (before he went somewhere else) and the Americans gave us a winking song. The British stood around looking nonchalant, but fearing a repetition of the exhibition of winks they had been subjected to on the M.I.T. tour of 1972. Against American know-how, at least we had age on our side. Yes, Charles was playing!

Scarcely had the match commenced, fingers flexed, squidgers warmed, rules remembered, that Jon was seen wandering around the other matches. He had potted out. His was not the first wink into the pot: Alan had achieved that from the baseline, but he and Geoff went on to lose 5-2 in a poor opening game. Keith [Seaman]  entered the pot with a long shot under pressure at the end of his game to ensure a 6-1 victory, and with Charles and Steve winning 4-3 the British found themselves leading 18-10 at the end of the first round. Hope began to stir.

Spurred on by his success in Round one, [Dave] Lockweed attempted another pot-out in round two. Five flew in beautifully, but not so the sixth… but at least he got his in before Dave Rose who was matching his pot-out attempt, and so Lockweed and Buck notched up another 5-2. With two other American pairings scoring 4½ – 2½ victories, it was left to Alan and Geoff to produce the only British win of the round, a 4-3 after being snowed under most of the game. The Americans won the round 17-11, and were only two points down after two rounds. Lockweed & Buck [Webb] were, even at this early stage, the only unbeaten pair!

Round three saw the British suffering the same fate as in round two. The American third and fourth pairings had exchanged partners (a fact your correspondent only found out at half-time) and Lockweed continued his winning run, this time with Charles in defeating Cyril and Keith 4-3, although it must be said that their victory was largely due to inane British tactics, and Keith’s ability to pot an opponent’s wink in round five [agreed, simply passing would have ensured 5 for England! -ed]. Lunch, the Americans as if in caricature drinking Cokes, saw them four points in the lead.

Winks on one of the mats had a propensity to roll, whether due to the hard table or the thin mat. Jon decided that this was the round to prove it, sending two off, and placing two on the edges out of his original six. He still got a 5-2 victory however. Cyril & Keith beat Larry & Buck 5-2, and Lockweed’s winning run ended as he missed a vital pot and lost 3-4. Meanwhile Alan and Geoff were enjoying a struggle against Bob and Joe. Altough the British pair were on top the Americans never allowed them to relax, and in
rounds they freed enough of one of their colours to pot for a 4-3 victory. These scores meant the round score was 16-12 to Great Britain, and all sat back with a certain satisfaction as, at the end of four rounds, the score was 56 apiece. Clearly it had been right to play an eight round match.

The Americans decided to change their pairings. The British had just about worked out who their partners were. However, relieved that Cyril was coping so well with Keith, and unable to think of any other permutations, the British decided to soldier on as they were.

It looked a bad move. The new American pairings did well in round five, with two 6-1’s and scoring 3 and 2½ in their two defeats. The results in round six were similar, even though Geoff and Alan had the satisfaction, at the end of another struggle against Bob (this time playing with Buck), of turning the tables and squeezing out a 4-3 victory. But Britain was now thirteen points adrift, 90½ to 77½, with only two rounds to go.

The hour of six had struck. To our visitors a moment lacking in significance. British winking hearts rose: it was opening time! A short trip to the Marquis of Granby, where, sadly, only a gassy Worthington E was available. Need conquered palate, and whilst the Americans sat in the College, reflecting on their comfortable position, the British, clutching their ale, listened to their captain’s pep talk. The Brian Clough of English winking kept it simple. We’ll get 20 points this round, he announced between swallows, and we’ll cruise home in the last round when they’re demoralised. It sounded fine in the pub. All agreed, prevented Cyril from having another, and lurched back to play, lighter in heart, head, and pocket.

Perhaps it was overconfidence that made Severin decide to go for the killer blow. His attempt at a pot-out against Alan and Geoff failed, and they were annoyed at only scoring a 5-2 victory. Cyril and Keith beat Larry [Kahn] and MP [Rouse] by the same score. Charles and Steve scored a 4-3 victory. But gradually all eyes were turning to the other table, where an open game saw Jon’s hold on a pile in enemy territory threatened. Jon decided to pot his way out of trouble. The first, that bridging the pile under threat, flew into the pot, and the other five soon followed. Even better Dave Rose’s six soon joined his partner’s in the pot: a 7-0 victory at a vital time. Britain had gained 21 points to 7 in the round, and led by one point, 98½ to 97½ as the last round began.

In that round Charles and Steve were soon in control and all knew they were heading for a 6-1. Alan and Geoff were similarly placed as their opponents, Lockweed and Charles, disturbed by their 0 score of the previous round, disturbed each other more and played worse. Keith was having a nightmare game, but came good in rounds, potting to a 3-4 defeat; and Jon and Dave played out the last rites against Severin and Joe, losing 4-3.

So Britain took the round 19-9 and the match 117½ to 106½.

After the match a transatlantic winkers’ lament was sung, and the frisbee became a solace. The British looked bemused but happy. All were exhausted. No doubt there have been such turnarounds in winks matches before, some numerically even more surprising, but given the importance of the match, surely none as dramatic as on this occasion. Perhaps writ large was the problem of the side on top tightening up, whilst those chasing were looser—yes, even on Worthington E!

Yes folks, it’s true. In retrospect, the American team must confess, most of its members had not really practiced for the tour. More importantly, the post mortem discussions seem to indicate that we tried too many untested partnerships in too crucial a match. Alas, it’s not clear that could have been helped, since only 4 of the team were able to make it to the practice weekend in New Jersey before. Excuses as they may be however, the match was close. For the number of games and the intensity of play, it was the most dramatic match it has been this writer’s pleasure to participate in, including the photo-finish 1976 North American Continentals. To be even at the end of a full 4 round match is itself significant. To be behind by 13 points and then to win convincingly after 2 more rounds demonstrates a winking spirit that perhaps cannot be attributed to the effects of alcohol alone. The quality of play on both sides throughout the match showed that it was truely [sic, should be truly] world class winks. I for one am thankful of the oppurtunity I have had to participate in this match, and hope to be able to play in the next one as soon as possible.

World Teams: Renaissance back to dark ages?

Again, reprinted from WW #31:

NEWTS v. Renaissance July 16
Venue: Goldsmith’s College, London

For the Americans, this was more important than the International of the previous day. Where has patriotism gone? Renaissance fielded six of the International side, whilst NEWTS had four, and were joined by the formidable [Mick] Still-[Mick] Wiseman pairing who caused the first laugh of the day by being named Pair 1. Cyril [Edwards] opened the proceedings with a request for speedy play, a cause he was to champion with increasing ferocity as the weekend progressed. He had only booked the room from 10-3 … and as the match did not start until 11 and was supposed to be six rounds, reflex winks would seem to be the only solution. Mick and Mick opened their assault by asking their opponents, Joe [Sachs] and Larry [Kahn], whether they were any good. Their reply, that they were pair one, was really no answer to the Micks, who were in that position themselves. Their further reply, a 6-1 victory, was perhaps more telling. Keith [Seaman] had regained his composure after a night’s rest, and he and Cyril won 6-1, and with Jon [Mapley] and Charles [Relle] winning 4-3 NEWTS scored 11-10 in round one. Round two repeated the score, though less comfortably, even though Cyril produced a potting shot that was both successful and unconventional to ensure a 3-4 defeat. Mick and Mick scored 2½ points.

Two rounds were over in two hours. Reality had to be faced. Dave Lockwood wanted to continue playing, but with a liquid lunch beckoning the English, a 20 minute break was decided on, reducing the match to four rounds. The Americans waited behind, annoyed that there should be a time restriction on such an important match. The English went to the pub. As they returned, Cyril obtained permission for a time extension, rendering the six rounds possible. But the annoyance, and the ale, had its effect and the English advanced further ahead. Mick and Mick continued their progress, scoring 3, Cyril and Keith 5, and Jon, playing this round with Andy Vincent, drafted in to replace Charles who had returned home for a more substantial lunch, scored 6. At halfway therefore NEWTS led 36-27.

At this point Renaissance organised their pairings on the English pattern, playing tried partnerships, and their weaker players, Buck [Webb] and MP [Rouse], together. So Dave Lockwood and Joe played together, as did the long overdue pairing of Severin [Drix] and Larry. The English had been anticipating their playing together, not least in light of their challenge for the World Pairs Championships. However the wisdom of their pairing was questioned when they lost 4-3 to Mick and Mick. Their comrades did better, however, MP & Buck beating Jon and Charles 5½ – 1½ and [Dave] Lockweed and Joe winning an enthralling match with Cyril and Keith 4½ – 2½, when in rounds both sides were potting furiously and few winks remained on the mat at the end. This 13-8 round to Renaissance brought them within four points of NEWTS, and this difference disappeared in the next round. Jon and Charles were engulfed by Severin and Larry 6-1, whilst for Mick and Mick the strain of winning had become too great, and they returned to less exalted scores with a 1½ – 5½ defeat by Lockweed and Joe. Although Cyril and Keith scored 6, the changed Renaissance pairings were having their desired effect, and the scores were level on 52½ each as the last round commenced.

When your correspondent returned from a game of frisbee he found Charles all smiles. He had potted out. Fine potting by Renaissance and less fine by Jon left him with all six winks on the mat and only a 5-2 victory. Cyril and Keith lost 3-4 to Severin and Larry, due partly to their missing potting chances. And so the focus of the world of winks turned to the last table where, you’ve guessed, Mick and Mick were playing. Their experience and ability to pot under pressure [Or the USA lack of it -ed] saw them through 5-2, true heroes, winning the match for NEWTS, though perhaps not entirely deserving of their pair one station.

Final score: NEWTS 65½, Renaissance 6½.

World Pairs: US, at last

July 17
Keith Seaman & Alan Dean v. Severin Drix & Larry Kahn
Venue: 35 Hillside Ave. Bitterne Park, Southampton

This was the third world match played in 3 days. Publicity-wise things did not go too well. The American pair and spectators as well as Keith had counted on getting to Alan’s for the match in the rented mini-bus the Americans would subsequently be using in their tour of the British Isles. The bus however was a couple of hours late, delaying the match start until close to 8PM. Unfortunately, the television crew waiting in Southampton decided to give up and go home before this. There was however, a rather good radio interview by a local Southampton station. Interested persons should contact Larry, who brought a tape of it back with him.

It must have been a hard day for Alan, because he taught a full day of school, then fended off the news people for a few hours whilst worrying about where everyone was. Needless to say, with the first game not starting until near 8PM, he was not in best form. This primarily led to a rout of the British pair in 6 games. The games were played with the American 30 second rule in effect. The play by play:

In game 1 (20 minutes), Larry wins squidge off with Red. Alan Carnovsky on 3rd squidge-in. Larry has 6 free after squidge in. Keith goes at a red. At this point it is noticed that color order has been worked and green and yellow exchange colors! Severin describes the game as “cat and mousy”, but doesn’t mind it when he is the cat. More than halfway into game only 1 blue, 1 green and 1 yellow are squopped, each in protected territories. Larry finally makes his lunge for the cup. Misses 4th and Alan gets it on a 5-inch squop. A catfight immediately ensues over squopped red. Severin manages to click boondock the squoppers out from above Larry’s read, but in the meantime an attempted pot off of squop has left Larry close to a green. Keith misses the squop! Larry pots out with 10 seconds left on the clock. Severin misses a 7 incher twice, allowing both Alan and Keith to finish before him. Final score 5-2 USA.

Game 2 (25 minutes commences 8:27 PM), Keith (green again) wins squidge off. Keith and Larry come in well, Severin overshoots somewhat, Alan Carnovskys 3rd! After all squidge in Keith attacks to free only squoped [sic, should be squopped] yellow wink, some 10 inches from the cup. A scramble toward the area ensues, but Larry (red) had more material there to begin with, so the USA is able to keep control in the area. The English now approach more cautiously and some skirmishes develop. After 13 minutes there are 3 greens, 1 yellow, 1 read and 2 blues squopped. “Another cat and mouse game”. Squopping and counter squoping get more intense; piles start to bump against each other and re-conglomerate. Americans stop time with 7.5 minutes to go, during which Alan fails in an attempt to drag the mat off the table. Severin boondocks a wink [should have piddled]. English position starts to look better. Then Alan tries to piddle a green out from under a Yellow-Blue-Blue Mickey Mouse style pile. [The shot was too risky!] Frees both blues. At the end of time on Alan’s turn, 3 mobile blues, no mobile reds, 1 each for English, no double squops on either side, 1 yellow in cup, 2 yellows squopped, 3 greens, 3 reds and 2 blues with 1 almost piddled. However, a series of misses in early rounds loses most of the English mobile winks and hands the Americans a double. Yellow boondocks to get a pottable wink, green tries to set up to pot off winks but is kept busy. Severin, Larry and Alan each pot one. Final point total ends up Blue 7, Red 6, Yellow 6, Green 2. 5½ – 1½ USA leads 10½ to 2½.

Game 3 (20 minutes, commences 9:24 PM) Alan wins squidge off with Green. Bringings [sic, should be Bring-ins] very close to pot, especial[l]y Alan’s all within 6 inches. Sev (blue) hassles Alan, Keith catches red wink and Sev’s attention goes to freeing it. Alan returns to potting stance. Americans debate blitzing. Keith accidentally squops Alan’s squop of a blue. Sev frees Larry’s 6th and Larry commences potting. Misses 2nd. Alan squops it, and a battle ensues around the red wink. The pile changes hand several times, but the Americans do not manage to convingly blow it in regulation play. Severin manages to get atop it in the 1st and blows wide the 13 wink pile containing 4 red, 4 blue, 3 green and 2 yellow in the 2nd round. Blowup only frees 1 red though, leaving a red triple. Blue has only 1 squop[p]ed, but English increase that to 3 squopped by the 4th round. Severin misses pot in the 5th, landing on a Yellow and tieing yellow, but Green jumps off a red to squop a blue. Finals: Green 7, yellow 5, Blue 4, Red 4. 6 – 1 GB trails 9½ to 11½.

There is a break for dinner, with Alan and Barbie [Dean] serving a fine Quiche.

Game 4 (25 minutes, commence 10:37 PM) Keith wins squidge off with yellow. Squop[p]ing starts early with Alan (green) grabbing a blue (Severin) from the line in the 2nd. Red and yellow come close to squop, blue grabs a green from the line. Most winks coming in now get involved (squopped or squop[p]ing) very quickly. Blue knocks a Yellow onto a red on squidge in. A spate of missing on both sides. The battle ground becomes flooded with winks and lots of back and forth squo[p]ping. Alan shows the effects of the day though, and misses more than his share. As time approaches there are no mobile winks and no doubles. Alan tries a very long bristol, but loses the blue. Keith reclaims it though, via a long bristol giving GB a double. The double doesn’t last long however, as squop[p]ing Yellow wink manages to get knocked under a nearby red after a series of shots by both sides. The double gets blown away revealing 2 free blues. At the end of regulation, Blue has 2 mobile, Red 1, Green 2 and yellow none. Blue pots 1 in 2nd and another in 3rd, then boondocks a green. The boondocked green bounces off the cup though, and so doesn’t go far. Keith tries to pot it from 1½ feet, misses, bounces and rolls off the table! Red boondocks a yellow out of a red on yellow on red and almost goes off also. Yellow comes in, rolls over and frees a green from under a red and comes to rest 8 inches from cup. Blue pots 3rd wink in the 4th round and sets up to pot off squop in 5th. Green misses, so red picks up a green. Yellow pots his mobile wink and positions to pot off a squop. Blue declines to pot off his yellow squop and secures it instead with his 5th round shot. Green pots one and then tries to pot the green that had rollled off from the edge of the mat 1½ feet away; Bounces off front of cup. Red misses a pot, and yellow misses a pot off a Blue. Final: Blue 11, Green 9, Red 5, Yellow 4. 5-2 USA leads 16½ to 11½.

Game 5 (20 minutes), Severin wins the squidge off with Blue. Blue bounces one off cup and off mat on a squidge in. Green (Kieth) squops a red and blue succe[s]sively from the line. Fighting starts early around these squops near the cup. Blue gains a triple, but it gets whittled down to blue on green, green, blue. Yellow (Alan) manages to achieve the pile, but can’t piddle from it. Pile changes hands a couple of times in heavy action. Americans boondock to get mobile material near the action 3 times before regulation, GB only once. USA manages to firm up control of pile in rounds. Yellow puts 2 winks in pot rather than attack pile. Green attempts a bristol in the 5th, but loses red onto a blue. Red pots off of blue, then pots another. Yellow misses a pot off a red. Blue (Larry) with none in, pots off a Yellow, then pots himself from out of the pile and piddles another Blue free to end up with 9, Red 9, Yellow 8 and Green 4. 6-1 USA leads 22½ – 12½

Game 6 (25 minutes), Keith wins squidge off with Green. The note takers here started inventing more obscure symboligies, and about all I can really say about the game is that the British were getting desparate. Their hard shots didn’t pay off and they went down quick. GB was squoped out twice before rounds, and squop[p]ed out in the first round. Blue (Severin) freed a yellow (Alan) in the 2nd. Alan then breaks his fingernail in an unsuc[c]essful Goode shot in the 3rd and is unsuc[c]essful in 2 bomb attempts. 6-1 USA wins match 28½ – 1½.

It seemed clear to this observer that Alan Dean was not playing up to par, but refused to acknowledge this fact during the match. His attempts to make shots he probably could have made on other days often led GB down the road to disaster. The observers
agreed however that Keiths technical play was outstanding throughout the match. Larry was also playing the usual high form that NATwA winkers know so well. Severin played competently, but undistinguished. He in fact missed a couple of pots in late rounds, but they usually turned out not to be crucial.

Carnovsky Legend Clarified?

This interesting letter was forwarded to us from Rick Tucker, who has been spending countless hours researching the history and folklore of Tiddlywinks.

Stephen B. Carnovsky
1953 Kemper Circle,
Los Angeles, California 90065
(213) 222-0335

Nov. 21, 1978

Dear Richard;

Tiddlywinks is it?! After all these years (16 of them) still there are repercussions from my big feat. Of course, I have tried in numerous other ways (which we won’t go into at this time) to make my mark on an unwilling world but so far “The crowd-pleasing Carnovsky” seems to have been my most durable, public impression, thanks to Life, the NATwA and you. Keep up the good work. And please, convey my best wishes to Fred Shapiro and the rest of the jocks at Harvard.

Now then; my feat. So long a time passing weighs down the memory but lends wings to the imagination. One must make allowances for both. Sometime in November or early December of 1962, darkness had fallen on Eliot House. The early chill was in the air. Across the Charles, Yale had been defeated. My love life was in a shambles – nothing unusual. Academically, things could have been better – also nothing unusual. Leaving the dining hall that evening, I was naturally reluctant to climb back up to my 5th floor room (Eliot G51) where only work awaited me. So instead, I paid a call on some friends who lived on the 1st floor. How could I have known the finger of fame was pointing at me? I entered a smoked-filled room: the walls, a dirty yellow, the furniture, handed down for many generations of students. In the center of the room, was a table with a felt cover and on it, a little cup, surrounded by little plastic chips. “A poker game?” I wondered. Of course, you know what it was. There were several people in the room, practicing and exercising – “Mens sano; corpore sano,” you know. Among them in particular, were my friends John Kernochan: soon to become Harvard’s ace shooter, and Tom Houston, a deadly squidger. They were in training for a match against Oxford. I was in the right place at the right time. This murky scene was the birth of competitive Tiddlywinks in North America. My face slightly aglow from the heat after the cold outside and my eyes stinging from the smoke—John smoked unfiltered Gaulois’; known to cause cancer in frogs; God knows what they did to him—I stepped up to the table to tiddle my first wink ever.

There is a scene in the motion picture “Thunderball” in which Sean Connery is invited by the villain to shoot skeet. Feigning inexperience, he says, “Oh dear, it looks awfully hard,” or words to that effect. Then, nonchalantly firing from the hip, he knocks down the clay pidgeon. “Oh no, it isn’t hard at all!” says Bond. So it went with me. Having all eyes turned my way, I suddenly knew I couldn’t miss, and possessed of such certainty, played it for all it was worth. Let your history state that I put in 7 shots in a row from the line—a good cabalistic number, though in truth, I think it was 4 out of 5 that I made. And that was that. The name stuck.

I must agree with your analysis that the “Carnovsky” is disadvantageous at the beginning of the game. In the case of my winking career, it was the beginning and the end. I knew I could never top such an act, so I quit. If only other athletes would have such good sense to quit while at the top of their game! Don’t you agree?

I hope this humble memoir helps you fill out the picture. Should you persist long enough in your present mad behavior to finish your compilation of winking history, it would amuse me greatly if you would send me a copy.

May none of your wishes get squidged.


Late Breaking Match Report

Lady Emily Lutyens (Lytton); A Blessed Girl; 1953; pages 97-8
At the age of 17 in 1892:

Terling Place, April 24

I notice that whenever I expect to be happy and at my ease I am always miserable, and when I expect to die of shyness and misery I am quite happy. Last night I went to dinner with Mr. Crawley (footnote: Ernest Crawley, a well-known amateur cricketer.) and he actually talked to me about Paris and things which I understood. I shall feel grateful to him for ever after. I do not know what I said about Paris, but I talked and made long sentences when I might have said what I wanted in two words. Doll Liddell sat on my other side and he even deigned to say a few words to me. I like him, but he always nods when you are talking, and looks as if he had heard quite enough before you havebegun to talk. After dinner we all played the most exciting game that ever was invented, called Tiddleywinks. It consists in flipping counters into a bowl, and being a good number we played at two tables, one table against another, and the excitment was tremendous. I assure you everyone’s character changes at Tiddleywinks in the most marvelous way. To begin with, everyone begins to scream at the top of their voices and to accuse everyone else of cheating. Even I forgot my shyness and howled with excitement. Con darted about the room snatching at counters, screaming and trembling with excitement. Lord Wolmer flicked all the counters off the table and cheated in every possible way. George Talbot was very distressed at this and conscientiously picked every counter up again. Even Gerald got fearfully excited and was quite furious because someone at his table knocked over the bowl just as all the counters were in. Sidney Colvin, whom they nicknamed the Bard because he wrote a prize poem at Cambridge, also got excited and thought he played beautifully. He was at Gerald’s table and whenever a counter dropped on the floor G. turned to him and said, “Oh, now you can pick that up,” and coolly went on playing. Even he began to scream. I assure you no words can picture either the intense excitement or the noise. I almost scream in
describing it.

Potting to Be Awarded

Josef Sachs has announced that he is donating to NATwA a prize to be known as the Sachs Cup. This cup, to be awarded annually, will go to the winker who has scored the most sevens in the relevant Regional, the Continentals, the Pairs and the Singles. It is hoped that this prize will encourage both participation in these most important matches and also pot-outs, be they of the blitz, semi-controlled or controlled variety. Says Sachs, “I think blitzes are the purest, most exciting aspect of the game. In the old days, the threat was the opponent’s counter-blitz, while today the potter must contend with the possible squop and attendant numerical disadvantage. The exhilaration during a pot-out attempt is tremendous, especially if it takes more than one turn. As Winston Churchill put it, `There is nothing as exhilarating as being shot at and missed.’ Controlled pot-outs also make the game more interesting. A pair on top could merely consolidate its defensive position and play for six points, but going for all the marbles adds interest by leaving one of its colors with few mobile winks, making it harder to maintain control when enemy winks are freed. And if that control is lost, it can be a whole new winks game.”

Guess the Milk

Word has reached our ears that Severin [Drix] is planning to do the “Guess the Milk” joke with Ferd this year. Forewarned is forearmed (fourarmed?). Those interested should be sure to consult Sev or Ferd for the details.

As Others See Us

[from March 1966 Winking World #9, page 5]

Geoffrey Tattersall sends this report from Ulula, Manchester Grammar School Magazine: `Tiddlywinks, too, has its own mystique. To a man born and bred in the winking tradition there is no sound quite like that which a spherical red wink makes as it chuckles into its plastic cup. It all seems peculiarly English. It is not enough, as foreigners claim, to say that the game suits the English temperament; rather, the game is an expression of it. A game about which one can reminisce endlessly, a game which epitomises all that is gentlemanly and subtle, sedate and fair-minded in our national life. Outside the cricket by contrast seemed lighthearted.’ s gentlemanly and subtle, sedate and fair-minded.

Winks Chic

Anyone who had doubts that Winks could be an accepted adult game should take note of an upcoming event scheduled by Who’s Who, International, at the Colonnade Hotel on April 29. An evening of dinner, dancing and winks is planned, with proceeds to be donated to an as yet undetermined charity. Much of the credit for setting up this affair must go to Ms. Bobby Albré, the public relations director of the Colonnade Hotel, who first got interested in staging such an event after seeing the January 1976 NBC Grandstand telecast. Ms. Regina Bongiovanni, of Who’s Who, International, is also playing a leading role in making this a truly successful and memorable evening. For additional information, contact Joe Sachs.

Several instructors are needed to help guide the throngs of neophytes through the gates into the world of winks. Bostoners should note the convenient location of the event at 120 Huntington Avenue, opposite the Prudential Center. Those interested in helping out should talk to Joe Sachs.

The Reasons Behind the Rules

Congress may discuss the official acceptance of Joe Sachs’ “Rules of Four-Color Tiddlywinks”. A copy (green pamflet [sic, should be pamphlet]) is provided with this issue. This article attempts to point out and explain the differences between these rules and the common law which has existed in NATwA. Note: these rules, though copyrighted, are currently merely an excercise on the part of Joe and should not be taken as gospel. Note also that these rules are not meant to cover situations that occur in less than one game in one hundred, e.g. wink landing under pot, pot overturning, two-wink circular squop, four color squop out, etc.

There were several considerations in deciding on the name of Four-Color Tiddlywinks. Firstly, the word “tiddlywinks” must be part of the name, if for no other than historical reasons. Undeniably, our game is known as tiddlywinks throughout the English speaking world. We cannot escape our heritage; to attempt it (with a name like “Squop” or “Squidge”) would be to undertake an immensely difficult uphill battle out of the depths of obscurity. If tried, spectators would be sure to ask, “Isn’t that tiddlywinks you’re playing”, and we would look silly trying to explain why we are avoiding the name by which the game is commonly known. Even “Winks” suffers from this problem, though to a lesser extent; it also ignores the main purpose of a name, to describe the referent. The most we can hope for is to add a modifier to state that our game is different from garden variety tiddlywinks. “Match Play Tiddlywinks”, “Tournament Tiddlywinks”, “Adult Tiddlywinks” and “Strategic Tiddlywinks” all fail to do so. The first two are most simply interpreted to describe children’s tiddlywinks played in a tournament and “Adult Tiddlywinks” has definite prurient connotations. “Strategic Tiddlywinks” is just too bold a disaffirmation of popular belief. “Four-Color Tiddlywinks”, however, is a modest statement that there is something special about the game, that the game by necessity is played with four colors (it has been known for quite some time among winkers as the “four color game”). It is just obscure enough that the observer, instead of assuming rediculousness, is apt to ask, “Why is it called Four-Color Tiddlywinks?”, thereby providing a perfect opportunity for further enlightenment.

Baselines on the mat are required for play, for obvious reasons. (Actually, they are required now, but few players mark their mats!) If a pair is squopped-out when the time limit expires, the first turn after the freeing turn automatically is in the zeroeth round, as opposed to giving the squopped-out pair the choice of having free turns extend into rounds. This is because the squopped-out pair is not necessarily losing, and there is no justification for arbitrarily giving them the choice, which can have a major effect on the outcome of the game. The reason for the extension of regulation play is to make rounds more interesting by providing more opportunity for all colors to play.

In a shot, the squidger must apply a downward force. This is the rule against push shots. Only one wink may be brought into play per shot; again, obvious. The squidge-off winner is determined by the final positions of the four winks. Otherwise, judgeability problems could occur when, e.g. red knocks green away from the pot and lands near where the red was. After all, winks can be knocked by other winks after a pot-out with similar ramifications. There is little harm in letting a player try to knock an opponent wink away or a partner closer, as anyone who has tried will state.

Penalty for shooting any wink out of bounds. Winks is meant to be played on the mat, not on the floor. As originally suggested in Winking World #19 (July 1971, p. 3): “This encourages more skillful desquopping and discourages heavy ugly shots which are often open to arguments of legality.” Why should shooting your own wink out of bounds incur a penalty and shooting another wink out of bounds not? The penalty being loss of next shot, not turn.

The Lure of Flying Plastic Discs

The following is the first of a series of articles written by various winkers about their other sources of “fun”. We hope to vicariously experience activities to which we may not have previously been exposed. Perhaps this exposure will encourage many of us to try some of the different activities to be covered in the series. Larry Horsemeat Kahn starts off the collection with his dissertation on the sport of frisbee.

I find frisbee to be almost as important a part of my life as are winks and bridge. I imagine that given an infinite amount of money I could be happy doing nothing but these three things the rest of my life as they cover all situations; night and day, good weather and bad, serious or random play, and strenuous or relaxing. I guess my life was meant to be centered around flying plastic discs (yes, I do have a deck of round, plastic coated playing cards).

My first real memories of frisbee are as a tenth grader in 1969, watching some people play at school. I started playing a bit after that and by twelfth grade could perform several throws as well as do the behind-the-back catch. I didn’t get into serious frisbee until I got to MIT, when everyone was playing out in Kresge Plaza, including the then-world champion John Kirkland. I picked up most of my freestyle moves from watching and playing with him and it was during these years that I developed most of my throws and catches.

Ultimate Frisbee was just beginning at colleges in the early seventies and I played on MIT’s first organized team. Our first game was against New Hampshire and CBS came to MIT to film it for one of their sports shows. Ultimate is played on a forty by sixty yard field, seven on a side, and the only way to advance the frisbee is to pass it to a teammate. There are too many specific rules to describe here, but the game emphasizes accurate throwing, good catching and lots of teamwork. I consider it the best game I have ever encountered from both a playing/spectating point of view (winks may be a bit more challenging, but it is boring as hell for an uninitiated spectator, while an Ultimate spectator can learn the rules in a few minutes).

I also started playing some frisbee golf (folf) when that game became popular around 1974. This is played identically to regular golf, except a shot consists of throwing the frisbee instead of hitting it. This is one of my favorites because all throwing skills are required, including rolling shots.

There are an unlimited number of things you can do with a frisbee, including all sports perversions (as in Winks), as well as specific frisbee events for tournaments. Some of these are: distance, accuracy, free-style, maximum time aloft (a boomerang shot),
throw run and catch (maximum distance wins), golf and a game called double disc court.

My specialties are distance and golf; and if I had the time to practice more, I think I could make the world championship tournament at the Rose Bowl. I can probably throw about 350 feet under the best conditions, but would probably have to improve another
50-100 feet to have a chance at winning. Hopefully, there will be a National Series Tournament in Washington in the near future. It’s too hard to try and make both frisbee and winks tournaments at this time.

I hope one of the side effects of this article will be to get more winkers into frisbee. Unfortunately, there is usually too little time at tournaments to get in much frisbee; and, at least for me, playing frisbee in between games causes problems in my next winks
game (ask Severin about the 1977 Pairs). I think it causes a loss of feel for the delicate shots. However, there’s nothing like getting out and flinging a frisbee to relax and stretch out after a hard day over the winks table. When’s the last time you made a hundred yard squop?

Some of my favorite winks-frisbee memories are throwing seven frisbees at once and having seven people each catch one after the All-Star match in England (this took forever because Charles [Relle] kept dropping his), playing Ultimate up in Scotland with Steve Welch and some of our group (you would have cracked up watching Severin [Drix]), and performing the now famous air-bounce under one of the MIT winks tables.

From the Editor

Actually, I can only call myself co-editor, since Joe did so much to help get this issue out. Some of you may realize some events have not been covered in this issue. Fear not, we have not forgotten. They will be covered. After that happens I regret to say, this editor/winker may not be seen as much as he used to be. Sometime around April I will be going out to work and live near the San Francisco Bay area in California. Thus I join the ranks of boondocked winkers. I expect to make it back for two major tournaments a year though. Its been great knowing you all.


NATwA Address List February 14, 1979


The two-page NATwA address list included in the original Newswink 9 has been omitted online. The address list included 109 entries.