Stroboscopic photo of a wink being potted in the game of tiddlywinks The North American Tiddlywinks Association
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The following "parody" issue of Newswink was written by Fred Shapiro, then of the MIT Tiddlywinks Association. It was conceived by Fred and devised by the MIT team on the way back from Ithaca, New York (on 17 February 1980) after MIT came in second in the Continentals, the team championship, ⅙th of a point behind Relix, the team lead by Bill Renke. ⅙th of a point is the smallest possible margin of difference in scores in tiddlywinks matches.

Rick Tucker, 20 April 1997


Newswink 10⅙

RELIX SLINKS PAST MIT BY OBSCENE MARGIN PENDING INQUIRY—ENGLAND TRIP ON HOLD—HEARTBROKEN YOUNG TEAM CRACKS UP CAR IN WESTERN NEW YORK—SECESSION TALK—25,000 WINKS HELD HOSTAGE—SEARCH FOR NEW SEC-GEN BEGINS—SITE FOR HOTT, EASTERNS, BIT, PAIRS AND SINGLES SOUGHT

The 14th NATwA Continentals ended in tragedy and controversy (see article below for latter) this week as Bill "No-Heart" Renke wormed his sixth wink into the cup while a shocked winking world looked on in horror. The victory was the 22nd Continentals win for Mr. Renke and the twelfth in a row for teammate Joe Sachs. Infants have been born, grown old and died since Joe last lost a Continentals. For the other Relics, this made the totals nine for T. D. Indian, eight for Bill Gammerdinger and six each for Scott Hirsh and Barry Rogoff. Charles Frankston alone was free from the taint of title-hoarding.

The Relix route to the championship was a long and unsavory one. They began by out-Steinbrennering Renaissance, signing almost-Triple-Crowner Joe and then, at the eleven-and-five-sixth hour, Charles, hoping to add a touch of hungriness to the jaded teams weighed down by their 123 previous trophies. Chief conspirator "No-Heart" took a leading role in the "Break-Up-the-Mooses" movement, dredging up an alleged three-in-a-row rule which no one else remembered passing. The next step was arranging a cream-puff Continentals division to warm up in while forcing the valiant young MIT team into the difficult Moose-Somerville division. (The precise role of the scoundrels in Nan's recent calamities remains poorly understood.)

The Relix stopped at nothing in their fiendish drive to the top. The key Ross and Fred-MP and Carl game was pushed to a table with such poor lighting that Fred requested flashlight assistance on all squops. Top MIT scorer Rick Tucker was so unnerved by Relix voodoo that he dropped a squidger onto a 14-wink complex of piles, the resultant mess being allowed to be accepted by the opponents. Rick played with painful blisters and "deep, infected cuts" incurred while manufacturing squidgers for Severin Drix. Drix's squidgers mysteriously disappeared the week before the tournament. No clue was found as to the thief except for the Grateful Dead concert tape and red scarf discovered near the scene of the crime.

The stunned MIT squad was devastated by the narrow loss but by the next day, beginning immediately after one shaken car destroyed its grille in a La Fayette, New York collision, began to take appropriate response to the treacherous Relix actions. Secession from NATwA seemed the most obvious course. Team captain Arye Gittelman was quoted as saying, "We have the sets, we have the squidgers, we have the computer stats (relevant only to the Dragon). I think we have enough winkers to sustain our own organization." Pending secession decision, MITTwA has transferred its entire stash of 25,000 winks to a secret location, cancelled room reservations for all foreseeable tournaments and drafted Arye's letter of resignation as Sec-Gen. MITTwA Vice-President Fred Shapiro stated, "I'm sure Joe won't mind returning as Sec-Gen."

As Arye explained to Newswink, the secession route is not the only one open to us. We are holding the winks, among other reasons, to ensure that the legal points brought up by Fred (see below) will receive a full hearing. We are willing to be reasonable. Once Relix is disqualified and we come back from England, we may resume full participation in NATwA. But certainly the time has come to respect the mandate of past Congresses."

NATwA HISTORIAN BEGINS COMPILATION OF PAST CONGRESS DECISIONS--OBSCURE EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY RULINGS UNEARTHED

Reluctantly accepting the task of codifying all previous NATwA "common law," Fred Shapiro quickly came upon the forgotten 1973 "equal-opportunity" ruling. In that year, in case readers have forgotten, Mary proposed that no team be allowed to compete in the Continentals unless at least one woman was included on the roster. The proposal was of course passed, according to the detailed notes of Jim Marlin, Reached by Fred in Saudi Arabia. Marlin explained that the rule was comparatively mild one: "It was specifically decided that the women need not play on the A team, but could be B team members or, if no B team formally existed, club members who played for another team in the Continentals." MITTwA stalwart Ellen Davis ("LN") expressed pleasure when informed of the discovery: "I think increased participation by women is a crucial goal for NATwA, and this rule was a necessary step to promote it."

NATwA Sec-Gen Arye promised decisive action to enforce ":the clear mandate of the '73 Congress... A majority vote of team captains is all that is necessary to officially disqualify the Relix. Of course, all-male teams are not eligible for such a vote. I will contact Severin, Bob, Sunshine and Doug shortly to poll them." Asked what would happen should the disqualification fail to command a majority, Arye explained his tie-breaking powers and alluded to the extraordinary powers vested in the Sec-Gen by the 1971 Congress, according to the detailed notes of Phil Villar, reached by Fred in Brazil: "In cases where the integrity of the game is at stake, I am empowered to overrule any team captain[']s vote. There is nothing as threatening to the integrity of an organization as the spectre of discrimination, sexual or otherwise."

When asked to elaborate on what he meant by "otherwise," Arye referred to the 1968 racism ruling: "According to the detailed notes of Rosie Wain, reached by Fred in England, NATwA took a weak stand against racial exclusiveness in 1968. It was not ruled necessary to play blacks and Asian-Americans on the team every year, but at least one of these races had to be represented on the roster in each year and the other must have been represented within the past two years for a Continentals championship to be legitimate. MIT B-team member Jeff Lu and recent member Dave Pinckney have often inquired at our meetings about the existence of such a rule. NATwA adopted a gradualist approach to this issue because of the relatively small numbers of interested nonwhites, delaying implementation of the rule until 1980, so previous Continentals victories are not affected.

"The women's opportunity rule, on the other hand, will change some past results if the captains vote to enforce it. We are now seeking to determine whether any of the Zoo championship teams included Lynda, and similarly examining the rosters of other past winners. Certain players who have always been committed to sexual equality, as well of course as women players themselves, may find themselves with multiple retroactive titles."

INVESTIGATION INTO NATwA FINANCES COMMENCES--CRIMINAL CHARGES MAY BE BROUGHT

The financial dealings of treasurer-villain Bill Renke have been brought into question by the affidavit of MITTwA President Rick Tucker, sworn late Sunday night. Tucker related that he gave Renke a $50 check in December 1977, which Renke apparently never deposited, robbing NATwA of much-needed interest payments. It is not known exactly what bankerly shenanigans Renke pulled with the check, but the interests of NATwA and the criminal embezzlement laws seem clearly to demand an investigation. The NATwA General Counsel, when asked for comment, declined to speculate on the relationship between the Renke embezzlement and the reckless-driving charges pending against teammates Scott and Bill G as a result of their mad dash from parts distant to Ithaca to set off their incomparable cruelty.

THEY CALL THEMSELVES THE MR. BILL SHOW, BUT ARE THEY MR. BILL ... OR ARE THEY SLUGGO?

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