North American Tiddlywinks Association

NATwA founded • 27 February 1966

  • Publication title: Written Word
  • Whole number: 1 (unmarked, only edition)
  • Publication date: 5 July 1978
  • Publication location: Somerville, Massachusetts
  • Editor: Joe Sachs
  • Page side count: 4
  • Preparation: Prepared at the MIT AI laboratory, printed on its XGP printer
  • Production: Photocopied on 8½” by 11″ paper
  • NATwA Archives artifacts: original photoduplication printed pages (NATwA)
  • Date updated: 17 August 2022
  • Scott Hirsh (also appearing under the nom de plume of “R. U. Keating”; incorrectly appearing as “Scott Hirsch”)
  • Sunshine (also appearing as “*”; real name: David Scheinson)
  • José (fictitious name)
  • Carl Chenkin (also appearing under his nickname, “Spike”)
  • Dave Lockwood
  • Larry Kahn
  • Rick Tucker
  • Bob Henninge
  • Severin Drix
  • Larry Kahn (also appearing under his winks nickname, “Horsemeat”)
  • Christ Young (appearing under his nickname, “Dinsdale”)
  • Richard Hussong (appearing under his nickname, “L”)
  • Michael Schwartz (appearing under his nickname, “Moishe”)
  • Dennis Martinez: baseball pitcher
  • Gary Player: golf player
  • Ron Mabbitt
  • Charles Frankston
  • Dr. Kleinfelder: (?)
  • BIT: Boston Invitational Tournament
  • NATwA: North American Tiddlywinks Association
  • TMW: The Missing Wink


51 Dimick St., Apt. 5 Somerville MA 02143 · July 5, 1978 · Price 10¢ cheap

Pre-Invasion Issue

See Me, Feel Me, Read Me

Well, folks, here It Is. The first Issue of The Written Word Is finally out—and about time, too. But what’s the word? (Johannesburg—yeah, I know.) … Sunshine helps kick-off this rushed endeavor with a summary of Interesting occurances [sic, should be occurrences] at the Continentals and an exhortation of his views on statistics. We hope to be featuring his scribllngs often; don’t miss his essay What is a NATwA Game in the next issue. But that’s not all there Is In this rag. This ish Includes a history of North American winks journalism (with the rationale for this one); The Department of Redundancy Department, a collection of notable quotes from near and far; Out of Bounds, a column “remarkable solely for its lack of wit or pertinence”; and, perhaps most Important, the current Rules proposal. We should all be aware that the tyrannical and despotic SecGen Joe Sachs, who authored the proposal, has decreed that It shall now be considered the official NATwA Rules. Therefore, any and all beefs should be sent to him. And now, on with the show…

Miscellany at the Continentals

In one game the mythological vertical wink scenario actually occurred. A judge was called and, yes, the wink was both squopped by and squopping a neighboring wink—thus creating the two wink circular pile. Elsewhere, Belinda [Spalding] turned In a very rare boondock, sending one wink of each of the colors except her own off the mat in a single shot. In the strange score department, mary became the first winker to attain three of the rarest scores (2⅓, 3½, 4⅔) In a single match. Her two 4⅔ – 2⅓ games also represented a first. After the novice tie game in the Beanpot (see Newswink, 5/12/78), there have now been 33 ties and 31 4⅔ – 2⅓ games among the almost 3900 NATwA games. Severin and mary lead with 14 and 8 of the games, respectively.

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The Newswink Story

In the early seventies, Newswink appeared once or twice a year under the skilled direction of Rosie Wain and/or Andy Tomaszewskl. The headlines centered on personalities, not winking stories—MITCHELL WAND RE-ELECTED, WAND DRAFTED, and then the famous FERD BUYS TRUCK graced the front page. But Rosie returned to England, Andy’s outside obligations Increased, and hard working (at the time) Bill Winke, all-purpose SecGen, took over and put out the Feb ’72 PHIL BOONDOCKED (In many colors) issue. The search for a new editor began. A year later, another Newswink was about to appear, but the Continentals were moved up one week and the paper was not ready for print. In 1974, the search for an editor was still on (but not very actively), as was the search for the ’73 Newswink, which Is rumored to be still residing In the Winke basement. By May ’74, NATwA had gone over two years without a publication. The soon to be famous R.U. Keating took matters Into hir own hands and The Missing Wink, “the voice of the underground winker”, was sold for ten cents a copy at the ’74 Pairs, much to almost everyone’s surprise. Only Sunshine was Implicated for the WINKE IMPEACHED Issue. TMW continued to appear, its secret staff growing, and VV AND WINKE LOSE and CANADA COPS CROWN followed, the last issue finally revealing the Identity of Mr. Keating (Scott). The paper was now supported by NATwA. Wlnx Canada had agreed to take over the official publication and prepared the WINX HUNT and JOSE SWEEPS CONTINENTALS efforts In ’75. But Mr. Keating went to California, Canada stayed in Canada, and winx journalism went nowhere until the summer of ’76. The old tradition SecGen and paper interfacing was reactivated with Spike as editor and Sunshine as chief hassler. In November, it was LIONS 3, CHRISTIANS 0 In the Return of the Missing Wink (a name agreed upon at the last cut & paste party). The 24 page Issue smashed the old 16 page record. Joe S, being groomed as the next SecGen, joined the staff. In Feb ’77, It was FERD 4, SHEEP 3 in the My Winkly Reader, a *-Joe effort featuring Ferd’s travels abroad. December ’77 broke all tradition – a headline having something to do with the winking world: QUADROPHENIA. This was also the first issue with an odd number of pages. However, this work was done almost entirely by Joe & *. The pair revolted and printed a short March ’78 WHO CARES edition to spearhead their strike calling for more participation from the ranks of NATwA. The demands were partially met, and a different kind of paper was prepared In May ’78 under the old banner of Newswink. The paper, described by some literary critics as “dry”, left a void for what can be called “fun articles”; and, as we all know, nature (and NATwA) abhors a vacuum. The paper you are now reading is meant to fill that vacuum, as well as to provide a channel for information and a forum for discussion of wlnx and other interesting topics. We hope that It will be occasionally amusing, often thought provoking, and certainly interesting. It is by nature self-indulgent; but then that’s where most of the fun comes from, and if we’re in this thing for anything, it’s for fun.

Sunshine on Stats

My philosophy in preparing stats for wlnx publications has been to try to come up with strange/obscure/esoterlc/confuslng statistics In the hope that most people would find at least some of them amusing. Informative, or interesting. I was not interested in trying to show who was better than whom, for numbers to reflect individual comparisons. I concentrated on finding instances of winkers beating numbers, either by achieving the absurd or by turning in a truly admirable accomplishment. I rarely reported negative stats unless they were performed by an acknowledged superior player. I also let It be known that anyone wishing to know their own numerical credentials should simply consult me. However, over the last couple of seasons more and more of the statistical work has been done by the computerized stats processor. I do still dabble with my own statistical creations, but not nearly so much as several years ago. Also, the only statistical requests for the recent Issue of Newswink were not of the form I enjoy preparing for publication. Since much of NATwA is quite reticent, I am finding it hard to motivate myself to come up with numbers that might be of interest. Some feedback from interested readers could generate the appearance of a statistical column In later issues of this publication.

Out of Bounds

Dear friends, lovers and colleagues, honored partners and opponents… I think that covers just about everybody. First, some serious thoughts. I feel as though winks has given me a lot—charachter [sic, should be character]-buildlng competition, enlightening life experiences, training in relating to and dealing with people and situations, exposure to a great many outlooks and opinions, a whole lot of fun, and most important, invaluable friendships. I attempt to repay this treasure-lode in kind, but the ledger seems unbalanced—I owe something more. It is this debt that I try to pay by my organizational, promotional and journalistic efforts. I admit they’re also enjoyable (sometimes). My strongest desire is that I may be able to put as much into winks as I’ve gotten out of It. This paper Is dedicated to winkers, the most friendly, generous and hospitable people I know. And I’d like to give special thanks to those who’ve made the biggest impressions on me: to Dave Lockwood, who “brought me up” in winks and exemplifies devotion to the game; to Larry Kahn, who most closely shares my views of teamwork and competancy [sic, should be competency]; to Scott Hlrsch [sic, should be Hirsh], who took me in during my California journey and showed me the ultimate in winkers’ hospitality; to Rick Tucker, who shares my concerns for the “really Important things” and who helped me learn to use ITS; to Bob Henninge, the “gentleman winker”; to Severln Drlx, a complete friend (even though he Is a bit weird); and to Sunshine, who makes winks interesting, and without whom none of this would be necessary… In the news—scarce weeks after tying the record for twelve small winks from three feet, I was astounded to hear from Larry “Horsemeat” Kahn that he’s smashed the record with 21 shots… a toast overheard In the company of Sev and Dlnsdale: “To winks and winkers, big and small.” … (The newest craze) how Chickens get five people Into a game; a persimmon and a Tucker Two-Turn. Three winkers alternate red and blue; the remaining two each play both yellow and green In turn. For example, L plays yellow, L plays green, Molshe plays yellow, Moishe plays green, etc. This way, no one player controls any color. Also, a partner misses if you shoot out of bounds… There is now a winker with a legitimate color preference. The game Is rather confusing if Chicken newcomer Blue plays any color but his own… and it’s off to England for Renaissance, as foretold by the Feb ’77 Wlnkly Reader. Be seeing you.

Department of Redundancy Dept.

Dennis Martinez, after pitching against the Red Sox In 41 degree weather: “When it’s cold like this In Nicaragua, people die, man.” “Do you have to be lucky to win three In a row?” someone asked Gary Player, long noted as one of golf’s hardest workers and most dedicated competitors, after coming from five shots back to win the Houston Open Golf Tournament, his third consecutive victory on the PGA tour. “Yes,” said Player, straight-faced as could be. “And it’s amazing, isn’t It? The more you practice the luckier you get.” One spectator at the BIT to another: “Their tournaments are boring, but their practice Is good.” “I don’t feel like collecting another 1!”—courageous winker at the BIT when offered a game. “I like you ’cause you’re the only other one who screams and jumps up and down like me.”—Ron Mabbltt to Dave Lockwood at the BIT. “Are you Sunshine?”—asked of Charles by a novice at the Beanpot. “I still don’t know what tempo is.”—the most senior winker at the Beanpot. “I met someone who likes both vanilla ice cream and pound cake.”—incredulous Harvard Captain. “One who plays singles winks has a fool for a partner.” —overheard from Spike at the Pairs. “Basketball is football, not baseball.”—famous NATwA adage. “Dr. Klelnfelder’s retort to you.”—ask Severln.

The Rules of Tiddlywinks: a proposal of June 11, 1978

The Game

Tiddlywinks is played by two teams of two players each. The purpose of each team is to score game points, generally accomplished by potting Its winks and/or preventing the other team from doing so. A team wins by scoring a majority of the seven game points. Winks may be squeezed, flipped, or butted with a squidger and otherwise handled, subject to restrictions laid down In the following rules.

Rule I. Equipment

1. The Playing Surface

Tiddlywinks Is played on a rectangular felt mat free from obstructions and measuring six feet in length and three feet in width. The mat shall be situated on the hard, flat, and level surface of a table with the same length and width as the mat, and thirty inches high. There shall be at least four feet of unobstructed space above and around the table.

2. Baselines

The playing surface shall be marked with baselines perpendicular to its diagonals and three feet from its center. The inside edges of the baselines, along with the edges of the mat, are the boundaries of the field of play.

3. The Pot – Size

The pot shall measure 1 7/16 inches in height with an outside bottom diameter of 1⅜ inches and an outside top diameter of 2 Inches.

4. The Pot – Position

The pot shall be situated open side up at the center of the mat. It may not be moved during the game. It may, however, be held so that it is not moved by a player in the act of shooting. Other than winks in play, nothing is allowed in the pot.

5. The Winks

The game is played with twenty-four discs, or winks: two 3/32 thick and ⅞” in diameter, and four 1/16″ thick and ⅝” in diameter, in each of four colors – blue, green, red, and yellow. Each player controls the six winks of one color. The players of one team control the red and blue winks, and the players of the other team control the green and yellow winks.

6. The Squidgers

A disc used for shooting, or squidger, must have a diameter not less than one inch nor greater than two Inches.

Rule II. The Duties of the Umpire

1. Duties

The Umpire shall inspect and approve the mat, table, pot, and winks and, upon a player’s request, an opponent’s squidger. The Umpire shall keep time and be responsible for notifying the players at the end of the time period. The Umpire shall check and approve the score at the end of the game. This approval terminates the jurisdiction of Ihe Umpire.

The Umpire shall conduct the game in accordance with the Rules. This includes: judging the squidge-off, deciding any question of whether a wink is squopping another wink or whether a particular shot is clean, determining the point of replacement of any wink shot out of bounds, and repositioning any winks as required by the Rules. Any winks thereby removed from the pot shall not be considered potted.

2. Elastic Power

The Umpire shall have power to make decisions on any points not specifically covered in the Rules.

Rule III. Definitions

Free Wink A free wink Is a wink which is neither potted nor squopped.

Irreversible Motion A wink has moved irreversibly If It cannot be returned to Its prior position by the termination of the contact between the squidger and the pile.

Pile A pile is a free non-squopping wink or a connected set of winks each of which Is either squopping or squopped by another wink in the pile.

Potted wink A wink is potted if it comes to rest in the pot or on the rim of the pot. A wink coming to rest on the rim shall be placed inside by the Umpire. A potted wink is replaced if knocked out of the pot.

Regulation Play Regulation play consists of all shots prior to the end of the time period. If a team Is squopped-out at this time, regulation play is extended to include the freeing turn.

Shot A shot is the contact between a squidger and one or more winks which causes irreversible motion of the winks.

Clean Shot A shot is clean if

(a) the edge of the squidger makes initial contact with the edge or the upper surface of a free wink of the shooter’s color,

(b) the squidger applies a downward force,

(c) the squidger touches no wink in the pile played that Is not squopped by the Initial wink,

(d) from the instant that any wink in the pile begins to move irreversibly, the shot is quick and continuous,

(e) and, if the initial wink was squopping another wink, the squidger was held motionless within one half Inch of it immediately before the shot.

Squopped Wink A wink is squopped if any part of it is under another wink.

Rule IV. Scoring and Timing Regulations

1. Game-Points

In each game seven game-points are divided between the two teams. Each team’s score Is the sum of the points scored by the two players on the team.

If the game ends by pot-out, the first color to pot-out receives 4 game-points, the second color to do so receives 2 game-points, and the third receives 1 game-point. Then one game-point Is transferred to the team whose color potted-out first.

If there is no pot-out, the color with the most time-limit-points receives 4 game-points, the second place color receives 2 game-points, and the third place color receives 1 game-point. If two or more colors have the same number of time-limit-points, the game-points for their positions are divided equally between them.

2. Time-Limit-Points

Time-limit-points are calculated after the last shot of the game. At that time, each color receives 3 TLPs for each of its winks that is potted, and 1 TLP for each of its free winks in play.

3. The Time Period

The time period begins at the first shot of the squidge-off winner and expires when twenty-five minutes has elapsed. The clock should be stopped during deliberations by the Umpire or at the request of the players.

4. 30 Second Rule

If no shot has been taken for thirty seconds, the clock is stopped.

Rule V. The Squidge-Off

At the start of the game, the baselines are assigned to the colors in alphabetical order clockwise around the mat; each color’s winks are placed outside its baseline. Each color shall shoot one of its winks, and the color whose wink is nearest the pot after all four shots is the squidge-off winner. All potted winks are equally near the pot and are nearer than any unpotted wink. If two or more winks are equally nearest the pot, all winks are returned by the Umpire to outside their baselines and the tied colors shoot again. This process is continued until there Is a winner. Then all winks are returned by the Umpire to outside their baselines. No wink is in play until it is subsequently shot from there.

Rule VI. The Play

1. Procession of Play

The play proceeds cyclically, in alphabetical order of the colors beginning with the squidge-off winner. In turn, a color may pass or make one shot, with an additional shot for each of its winks that Is potted during the current turn. Immediately before being shot, any free wink that is not squopplng any other winks may be turned over and/or rotated by the player controlling it, but its position on the field of play may not be changed. Only one wink may be brought into play per shot.

2. Unclean Shots

If a shot Is made by the wrong player or is not clean, and the opposing team wishes, the Umpire shall replace any winks moved by the shot and the color may be shot again.

3. Out-of-Turn Play

If a color is played out of turn, the colors who missed turns shall be considered to have passed. However, If no color has subsequently been played, the opposing team may nullify these turns by having the Umpire return all winks to their positions prior to the out-of-order turn. Play then continues with the color that was rightfully due to play.

4. Interference and Obstruction

The Umpire shall replace any winks in play, except those In the pile played, whose movement was not caused by contact with a wink from that pile. Also, the Umpire shall reposition any winks as necessary to rectify the obstruction of a wink in motion.

5. Leaning Winks

Any wink coming to rest leaning against the pot shall be repositioned on the mat tangent to the pot by the Umpire. It shall be placed under any winks it is squopped by and over any other winks in its path.

6. Practice and Advice

Players may not practice during the game; nor may they accept advice from anyone other than their partners. Advice is any counsel or suggestion which could influence a player In determining the course of play to follow, the choice of a squidger, or the method of making a shot. Information on the Rules or the tournament structure or standings is not advice.

7. Conclusion of Play

If no color has potted-out, play ceases after the sixth turn of the squidge-off winner after regulation play.

8. Winks Out of Bounds

A wink is out of bounds if any portion of it is not over the field of play. If a wink Is shot out of bounds, it is replaced on the field of play at Its point of departure; it is then moved, if necessary, so that it is at least four inches from any other wink and from any baseline with winks behind It. The wink shall be placed ⅞” from the boundary.

If a wink is shot out of bounds by the color controlling it, that color forfeits Its next shot. No shot Is forfeited for shooting a wink out of bounds during the squidge-off.

9. Pot-Out

If the six winks of one color are all potted, that color has potted-out. When the first color has potted-out, all winks in piles shall be repositioned by the Umpire so that their distances from the pot are maintained and no winks are squopped. Play then continues until the game score is determined. If any wink is squopped, the squopplng wink is repositioned as above.

10. Free Turns

A color is squopped-out If It has no free winks. If a color is squopped-out, it may not shoot in its turn. When both colors of a team are squopped-out, the two colors of the other team alternate between themselves as many free turns as they have free winks in play between them that are not squopplng any other winks. If an opponent color is freed, the free turns immediately end.

11. Failure to Free

If, after its first turn following the free turns, or after Its first opportunity to shoot If there were no free turns, the squopplng team has failed to free an opponent’s color, the opponents may choose any one of its winks with the fewest winks on top, and the Umpire shall move any winks necessary to free It. If the freed color is squopped-out before its next turn, the Umpire shall move any winks necessary to free the most recently squopped wink of that color.

NATwA Match Play

In NATwA match play, the duties of the Umpire are jointly performed by the players. If they cannot arrive at a consensus for a particular ruling, then an impartial person, agreeable to the players, shall make the ruling. If an imminent shot has a reasonable likelihood of being made uncleanly, an impartial person should be called to judge It. if, In addition, the pile being played is deemed to be irreconstructable, the tournament director should decide prior to the shot the consequences that the opponents may accept in lieu of an unclean shot. If it is reasonably likely that the backswing of an imminent shot will disturb winks that are not in the pile played, the players should be prepared to replace any winks, if necessary. When a matter is disputed after the fact, the tournament director shall make any rulings after receiving testimony from the players. The tournament director is empowered to impose discretionary penalties in cases of clear violations of the moral principles of the game.

The clock should be stopped during the adjudication in any of the aforementioned circumstances.

In Singles Tiddlywinks, one person plays the two colors of a team as two people ordinarily would.