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Literature and Fiction


Samuel Hopkins Adams. Common Cause. A Novel of the War in America. Houghton-Mifflin Company, The Riverside Press. © 1918 Curtis Publishing Company. © 1919 Samuel Hopkins Adams.

  • Page 410: "Well, then! What's this we're up against right here in Fenchester? Are we fighting"? Or playing tiddledy-winks?'
  • Page 411: "'There's very little tiddledywinks in it, so far as The Guardian is concerned,' confessed Jeremy with a wry face."
Aug 1955

Poul Anderson & Gordon R. Dickson. "The tiddlywink warriors", short story. Appears in:

The Magazine of fantasy and science fiction (FSF). August 1955. (see Magazines section)

Earthman's burden. 1957, Gnome Press. Pages 154­185.

Earthman's burden. 1957, Avon. Pages 159­189.

  • Page 120 (FSF), 178 (Avon), 174 (Gnome): and Alex got a close look at it: a small metal disk with sharp edges that glistened with some poison.

    He buried his face in his hands. "Oh, no," he groaned. "Oh, no, no, no. Not tiddlywinks!"

  • Page 122 (FSF), 181 (Avon), 177 (Gnome) in song: the foe shall tread on tiddlywinks!

  • Page 122 (FSF), 181 (Avon), 177 (Gnome): the tiddlywinkers

  • Page 124 (FSF), 184 (Avon), 179 (Gnome): and tiddlywinks were already bouncing to meet him

  • Page 124 (FSF), 184 (Avon), 180 (Gnome): tiddlywinkers

  • Page 125 (FSF), 185 (Avon), 181 (Gnome): Nevertheless, the ground for half a kilometer outside was strewn with tiddlywinks.

  • Page 125 (FSF), 186 (Avon), 181 (Gnome): "Damn the tiddlywinks! Full speed ahead!"
Original (NATwA: Avon edition)
1969 Poul Anderson. The rebel worlds. 1969, Signet. Page 50
1959 Poul Anderson. We claim these stars. © 1959. Page 98 ("hypersquidgeronics")
1959 Poul Anderson. (Other books in the Flandry series ("Hell and tiddlywinks").)
1981 Piers Anthony. Blue adept. © 1981, Ballantine. Page 149 Original (NATwA)

Piers Anthony. Fractal mode.

  • "Are you sure you know what you're doing" he asked Colene . . . he knew they were not playing tiddlywinks
1980 Piers Anthony. Split infinity. © 1980, Ballantine. Page 312 Original
  Isaac Asimov [Ask Dave Lockwood]

Anne Austin. The black pigeon. 1930. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.

  • Page 277: ["] Weeks has been here handing out nice, hot little samples of hell. You'd think, to hear that guy talk, that nobody hadn't done nothing but twiddle their thumbs or play tiddledy winks since you stumbled over Borden's stiff yesterday morning. ["]

John Kendrick Bangs. Tiddledywink tales. 1891. 236 pages.

Review of book appears in New York Times, 6 Dec 1891, page 19

The literary world. 1892.

  • Page 458: Although it is nonsense pure and simple, yet we venture to predict that Mr. Bang's new book, Tiddledywink Tales, will be read and laughed over by a large number of grown-up readers [...]


Original (NATwA)

Digital copy (NATwA)


John Kendrick Bangs. The tiddledywink's poetry book. ©1892. [PZ8.3.B225] 64 pages. Profusely illustrated with anthropomorphic wink characters.


    SMALL Jimmieboy one soft June night
    Found out a thing that pleased him quite,
    Which was in short that Tiddles talked,
    And sang, and danced, and also walked.
    His nurse had put him in his bed,
    And, several moments later, sped
    To other things,—for she supposed
    He was asleep: his eyes were closed.
    Scarce had she gone when near the lamp
    The youngster heard a tramp, tramp, tramp,
    And looking toward the table, where
    The lamp was standing, noticed there
    The Tiddles climbing all about
    Engaged in play and noisy rout.
    There were the red ones and the blue,
    The black and yellow, green ones too.
    The white Tids strutted to and from
    Till Jimmieboy cried out "Hullo!"
    Whereat they scampered out of sight
    And then peeped back, to his delight.
    Then one, less timid than the rest,
    Came back and told him to get dressed,
    And come along with them and play
    Until the sun proclaimed the day.
    Which he was glad enough to do,—
    And O! the countries they went through.
    He saw strange sights and wondrous beasts;
    He sat down to the strangest feasts;
    He heard the queerest poetry,
    And met birds that you rarely see.
    He heard fine music, and went through
    The very finest sort of Zoo—
    In which he saw the Mangatoo,
    The Nightmare, and the Rooster who
    Could crow most loud, yet never crew;
    Met Cinderalla at a ball,
    In a most gorgeous dancing hall;—
    And when at last the night was sped
    He found himself once more in bed.
    Some things he saw that happy night,
    As you read on, will greet your sight—
    And if you have in seeing these
    The fun he had, they're sure to please,
    And they by whom this work was done
    Will not be sorry 'twas begun.

Reviews of book appear in New York Times, 2 Oct 1892, page 19; and The Critic, 10 Dec 1892, page 327


Photocopy of selected pages


Louis Joseph Barbier. Tiddlywinks. 2009. Vantage Press Inc. ISBN-13: 978-0533159918

No reference to the game of tiddlywinks.


Ralph Henry Barbour. Captain of the crew. 1901. New York: D. Appleton and co.

  • Page 97: "Hope, are you certain there was no mistake made! You're sure you didn't issue a call for candidates for a tiddledy-winks team?" Dick smiled dismally.

    "No, there's no such luck. We've got thirty-four fellows, of which a possible two dozen are rowing material."

James M. Barrie. Peter Pan. 1904. Chapter VII.

  • There was a chandelier from Tiddlywinks for the look of the thing,

Bruce Barton. The making of George Groton. 1918. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page & company

  • Page 255: Down under neath he's so damned human—and he's never had a chance to show it. You ought to have seen us the other night, squatting on a million-dollar rug, in his house with ten thousand dollars worth of electric light shining on us and fifty thousand dollars worth of servants peeking around the corner—down on the floor playing tiddledy-winks. Cross my heart. And it would have made you cry to see how the old guy enjoyed it.

John Joy Bell. Cupid in oilskins. © 1916. Fleming H. Revell Company, New York

  • Page 54: "Ye'll ha' to tell me all about it afterwards," Mr. Buckle declared, and when the meal was over and the table cleared, he commandeered the wretched hero, planted him at the roasting fire, and
  • Page 55: ordered the others to play tiddleywinks under further notice.

John Joy Bell. Ethel. © 1903

  • Page 116: Do you remember the one she had for supplying tramway guards with tiddley-winks to play with when the car was at a terminus?

Richard D. Blackmore, Lorna Doone: a romance of ex-moor. Originally 1869; 20th edition: 1883. [See Notes & Queries, 19 Oct 1946, page 158.]

  • Page 74: "Zailor, ees fai! ay, and zarve un raight. Her can't kape out o' the watter here, whur a' must goo vor to vaind un zame as a gurt to-ad squalloping, and mux up, till I be wore out, I be, wi' the very saight of's braiches [...]"

No reference to the game of tiddlywinks.

Photocopy of 1883 edition page
1981 William S. Burroughs. Cities of the red night. © 1981. Extract
1955 Beverly Cleary. Beezus and Ramona. © 1955. Avon Books, Inc. (1990). Pages 80, 81 ("'Tiddlywinks, tiddlywinks, I want to play tiddlywinks,' chanted Ramona, shaking her head back and forth. 'Not after the way you spoiled our checker game,' said Beezus. 'I wouldn't play tiddlywinks with you for a million dollars.'), and 82.

Dorothy Cottrell. "Tiddlywinks and the train wrecker", short story. Appears in:

  • Era Zistel, editor. Golden book of dog stories. 1947. Pages 217­222
  • Beth Brown, editor. All dogs go to heaven. 1961

No reference to the game of tiddlywinks.

1955 Clyde Brion Davis. Something for nothing. © 1955. Page 280
1970 Philip K. Dick. Our friends from Frolix 8. © 1970, Bantam. Page 180 Original
1899 H. J. Drane. The True History of Tiddley Winks and Takey Tuss. 1899  
1967 J. D. Fitzgerald. The Great Brain. 1967

Brian Flynn. The crime at the Crossways. 1932. Philadelphia: Macrae Smith company.

  • Page 22: ["] Some people oughtn't to possess anything more valuable than 'bus tickets and tiddledy-winks counters, and then somebody should hold their little hands for them when they cross the road."
1952 Erle Stanley Gardner. The case of the moth­eaten mink. 1952, Pocketbooks. Page 60
1952 Erle Stanley Gardner. The case of the moth­eaten mink. ©1952, 1980, Ballantine Books, New York, ISBN 0-345-36928-9. Page 67 Original

Anne Green. With much love. 1948.

  • Page 103: Returning to his paper Papa found Eleanor and Mary playing Tiddledy Winks while Mamma and Charles pored over maps

Violet Guttenberg. Neither Jew nor Greek: a story of Jewish social life. 1902

  • Page 96: Celia rose from her knees, and came forward smoothing her skirt.

    "Playing tiddley-winks," she answered promptly"

Ben Hecht. Erik Dorn. 1921, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, The Knickerbocker Press

  • True enough. Why answer it? But what difference did it make if paper burned? Was man after all a creature consecrated to institutions, doomed to expend himself upon institutions? A hundred million nervous systems, each capable of ecstasies and torments, devoting themselves to the business of political brick-laying. Always yowling about new bricks. Politics--a deformity of the imagination; a game of tiddledy-winks played with guns and souls.

Grace Livingston HIll. The honor girl. 1927

  • Page 97: "Gee! Elsie if you come back and live, I'll stay in every evening, and play tiddleywinks with you!" declared Jack.

James Joyce. Finnegans wake. © 1939, Viking.

  • Page 23: how biff for her tiddywink of a windfall [...]
  • Page 583: And her duffed coverpoint of a wickedy batter, whenever she druv behind her stumps for a tyddlesly wink through his tunnilclefft bagslops after the rising bounder's yorkers

James Joyce. Ulysses. © 1934 (written 1914­1921), Modern Library (Random House).

  • Page 670: Which domestic problem, as much as, if not more than, any other frequently engaged his mind?

    What to do with wives.

    What had been his hypothetical singular solution? Parlour games (dominos, halma, tiddledywinks [...]

Stephen King, The stand. © 1978. (paperback)

  • Page 784: The coins falling on the plastic made a sound that reminded Harold absurdly of tiddledywinks.
  • Page 897: A manhole cover exploded into the air at Broadway-and-Walnut intersection, went nearly fifty feet, and came down on the roof of the Oz Toyshop like a great rusty tiddledywink.

Sinclair Lewis. The Trail of the Hawk. ©1915, Harper & Brothers.

  • Page 32: And always Gertie Cowles, gently hesitant toward Ben Rusk's affection, kept asking Carl why he didn't come to see her oftener, and play tiddledywinks.
1954 Halford Edward Luccock. Like a mighty army: selected letters of Simeon Stylites [pseud.]. 1954. Page 178 ("(AP) The National Tiddlywinks Shrine, costing $200000, was dedicated her yesterday, in the presence of 10000 members of the American Tiddlywinks Association."  

Grace Lumpkin. A sign for Cain. © 1935. New York: Lee Furman, inc.

  • Page 101: Lee got to his feet. "Sure I'm coming," he said impatiently, almost angrily. "Sure I'm coming. I didn't get these ideas to play tiddledy-winks with them."

Compton Mackenzie. Sinister street. Volume 1. 1913. London: Martin Secker.

  • Page 450: There were the mutilated games that commemorated Christmas after Christmas of the past. Here was the pack of Happy Families with Mrs. Chip now a widow, Mr. Block the Barber a widower, and the two young Grits grotesque orphans of the grocery. There were Ludo and Lotto and Tiddled Winks whose counters, though terribly depleted, were still eloquent with the undetermined
    squabbles and favourite colours of childhood.

Also appears at Page 455 in: Compton Mackenzie. Youth's encounter.1913. New York: D. Appleton and company.


Fred Majdalany. Patrol. 1953.

  • Page 68: The old woman had hobbled back behind the desk, and Slythe gave her two thousand francs. In return she gave him four large tiddly-winks, two of which he handed to Sheldon.
1983 Julian May. The nonborn king. © 1983, Pan Books, London. Page 209 Extract
1955 Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita. © 1955. Putnam. Pages 21 and another page. Original

Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita. © 1955. Berkley.

  • Page 20: This is all very interesting, and I daresay you see me already frothing at the mouth in a fit; but no, I am not; I am just winking happy thoughts into a little tiddle cup.
  • Page 21: My little cup brims with tiddles.

Frank Norris. The Octopus. Sagamore Press, 1957. Originally printed in 1901

  • You didn't get something for nothing. It would cost them all a good deal more if they sat like lumps on a log and played tiddledy-winks while Shelgrim sold out from under them.
1949 George Orwell. Nineteen eighty­four. © 1949, Harcourt­Brace. Page 298 Original

Bellamy Partridge. Horse and buggy. 1937. New York: Arcadia House.

  • Page 103: The influx of knowledge as it entered the brain of the doctor was somewhat scrambled. The words that he was absorbing with his eyes were hopelessly intermingled with the persiflage that came in through his ears. The result was not unlike a portion of hash—mental hash of course—topped by a poached egg that had been slightly beaten before poaching, the egg being strictly fresh and strictly mental. The troublesome paragraph in its final form ran something like this:

    The glaciations help in giving us certain time-markers for dating our tiddledywinks. You sort them out by colors and put the little ones along in a row.
    Rivers were swollen and became active agents of erosion by which great accumulations of sand and gravel were deposited in the little basket in the middle of the table. With the coming of an interglacial stage the red ones are separated from the blue and green ones and only terraces of the former filling would be placed
    along in a row before each player, the oldest in the higher level, the youngest in the lower.

    The doctor got up and shut the door leading on to the porch. He had just resumed his chair and finished filling his pipe when four of the young people moved
    into the parlor to play the new game of Tiddledy-
  • Page 104: winks which Cousin Lettie had brought with her and which, she assured them, was all the rage in Washington and New York.
1905 Beatrix Potter. The tale of Mrs. Tiggy­Winkle. 1905. (Character conceived in 1893). No reference to the game of tiddlywinks  

Eugene Manlove Rhodes. Copper Streak Trail. © 1917 The Curtis Publishing Company. © 1922 Eugene Manlove Rhodes. Houghton and Mifflin Company, The Riverside Press.

  • Page 173: 'It is a shame, of the burning variety that a State as wealthy as New York does n't and won't provide country schools with playgrounds big enough for anything but tiddledywinks!' declared Miss Selden.

Edwin Meade Robinson. Enter Jerry. © 1921. The MacMillan Company, New York

  • Page 199: Once, Father started to offer him a cigar, and Max laughed merrily at having been thought of as a man, even for an instant. As if to dispel the illusion, he at once became the most youthful of us all, and we played crokinole and tiddley-winks with wild shrieks of laughter.
1933 Dorothy Sayers. Murder must advertise: a detective story.1933  
  Laura Rountree Smith. Six tiddly winks and the a to zees. Original (NATwA)
1923 Laura Rountree Smith. The tiddly winks. 1923. 94 pages  

Laura Rountree Smith. The tiddly winks primer. Albert Whitman Company, Chicago. ©1926. 126 pages. Revision of 1923 book . Many illustrations

  • Page 19 illustration: Tiddly Winks Bowed to the Waste Basket

John Steinbeck. The grapes of wrath. © 1939, Bantam.

  • Page 13: And now a light truck approached, and as it came near, the driver saw the turtle and swerved to hit it. His front wheel struck the edge of the shell, flipped the turtle like a tiddly­wink, spun it like a coin, and rolled it off the highway.
  • Page 87: the children squidged their toes in the red dust.
Original (NATwA)
1936 Rex Stout. Rubber band. 1936. Page 129

Kurt Vonnegut. Slapstick, or, Lonesome no more!. © 1999, Random House Trade Paperbacks.

  • We concluded there must have been days of light gravity in olden times, when people could play tiddledy winks with huge chunks of stone

P. G. Wodehouse. The cat-nappers (US title). Aunts aren't gentlemen (UK title) ©1974, Perennial Library, Harper & Row, New York.

  • Page 112: Aunt Dahlia: " 'Do you remember when you had measles and I gave up hours of my valuable time to playing tiddlywinks with you and letting you beat me without a murmur?' ". Bertie Wooster: "I could have disputed this. My victories had been due entirely to skill. I haven't played much tiddlywinks lately, but in those boyhood days I was pretty hot stuff at the pastime."
Original (NATwA) is the official web site of the North American Tiddlywinks Association.
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