Stroboscopic photo of a wink being potted in the game of tiddlywinks The North American Tiddlywinks Association
T i d d l y w i n k s !
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14 February 1981
An official publication of the North American Tiddlywinks Association
Special tergiversative issue

"Edited" by Rick Tucker

Competition, Statistics, & the Future of NATwA

by Larry Kahn

Over the past several seasons there appears to have been a steady decline in the activitiy of the so-called "established" winkers. Some people have become completely or partially boondocked but there are others who habe been around but just aren't playing as much. While the reasons for this decline are quite varied, I often hear such things as "the game just isn't as fun anymore", "Some people are just here to pad their stats", or "I wish the games weren't so serious". These are probably valid complaints because at least half of the regular season is devoted to some sort of championship or the Easterns, which is usually a pretty serious tournament. Newcomers also seem to have some difficulty in coping with these types of tournaments.

Let's also look at the statistics aspect of this. Right now almost all tournament results find their way into the statistical history of NATwA. Personally, I like statistics because they lend themselves to numerous interesting discussions although few real conclusions. I look on the present state of NATwA as comparable to baseball in the late 1800s and hopefully someday tiddlywinks will be played on a much broader scale. If this does happen it may be important that we have an accurate and unbroken record from the beginning. It's already fun to look back on games and seasons 10 years in the past. However, statistics aren't for everyone and there should be soe tournaments just for fun. Previous fun tournaments such as the Scholastics and to some extent the Westerns have had a very high enjoyment quotient. Perhaps the highest level a winker can attain is to play all ames the same, regardless of whether they count or not. I probably won't ever be able to completely do this, and for most people there will be some difference. In some cases the differences will be large- and for a few people, very small. As a possible compromise and to increase total winking I propose something like the following: Right now we appear to have centered around 7 "stable" tournaments that happen every year: the HOTT/Harvest, 2 regionals, Continentals, BIT, Pairs, and Singles. These tournaments would be defined as something like "Official NATwA Statistical Tournaments" and would be treated as they are now. I think we should be a little more conscious of scheduling these tournament more in advance so people can make definite plans if they want to go.

Other tournament & get-togethers should be encourage, particularly within the Boston & Ithaca regions. There are enough people in these areas to have good turn-outs & if someone wanted to show up from out of town it would be a bonus. To generate some interest in playing some fun, semi-serious winks why not try out some new and unusual formats.

How about a duplicate winks tournament, to be run much like a duplicate bridge tournament. A team of four tournament in which all possible pairings must be used would enable small groups to play as a team. Ideally there would be four teams, each team changing its pairings after each round.

Another possibility is "designated shooter" in which if a shot comes up that one partner can do better than the other, he or she can take it no matter whose turn it is. Hopefully this rule would not be abused in which case the game degenerates to where one person plays everything and the other just watches.

I'd like to see a match in which the time used to shoot is relevant somehow, like in sped chess. That ought to take car of people like Lockwood and Mabbitt.

There are numerous possibilities including such standbys as boondock and triples.

I hope this article generates some interest in improving the NATwA season so that more winkers will get and stay involved. Tournament such as the Scholastics and this year's Westerns were big successes in terms of winker enjoyment. "Official" tournaments should remain to satisfy that (occasional) statistical craving and to keep our records continuous. I don't ever plan on putting my squidger down and hopefully there are enough of y9ou out there who feel the same way to keep NATwA going.


by Sunshine

The 1980-81 winx season has thus far been a very poorly attended one -- the HOTT, Westerns, and Easterns each setting match records for least games played. Many factors are responsible for the decline, such as a poor communications network, boondockment, and possibly a reverse reaction to last year's boom (resurgence at MIT and Cornell and a Somerville revival). What we have is a changing NATwA in terms of location and priorities of its members, a more Continentals-oriented season (regionals not "counting"), but few players and a match schedule that has not adapted.

More active communications could help. The poorly publicized HOTT (the oldtimers still call it that) led to a very small October field but did point out the future need of a Regional Coordinator (Ross Callon). Lack of a coordinator in Ithaca contributed to the absence of the Toads at the Westerns. However, even had winkers been well-informed about those matches, attendance would probably not have markedly improved and for sure would not have approached last year's level (Approximate games played totals for the fall the last 3 seasons are: 1978-102, 1979-183, 1980-59).

So who is NATwA and what does it want. At this point we're looking at a 6 teams of 8 Continentals, about 50 players. Maybe 20 from the Boston area, 10 from Ithaca, and 20 spread around elsewhere. What is desired by each of these sectors?Last February winkers were asked to commenton what they thought about the Continentals (see Newswink #11). Maybe we need such feedback on the season in general. Larry has made some alternative matches suggestions (see front page article). I offer some additional starting points for these comments.

In Boston little winking takes place outside of matches and MIT meetings. Perhaps a revival of the old TBL -- "The Boston League" -- could be attempted. In the Spring of 1974 volunteers for captains held a player draft to establish teams of 4, going slightly across team lines. Matches were played wither at MITR or at winker homes. Such a league would give the opportunity for non-winking interaction (dinner, etc.) and could also serve as a low-key breeding ground for novices (rriends who were not interested in breaking in at a competitive NATwA match, etc.). An Ithaca League along the same lines could also be considered. The questions are: would winkers be interested in such activity, and would anyone be willing to facilitate the inception of the leagues.

And what about the scattered contingent. The real boonies (mainly Relix) must resort to air travel and are probably only available for the Continentals no matter how we change the winking season. There is a group of players (mainly Ohio and Chickens) who can travel but time, distance, and other priorities make attendance of more that the Regionals and Continentals unlikely for all but a few. These winkersshould comment as to what, if anything, could change this condition, and whether future attendance at the Regionals is in joepardy. And then there is the Alliance -- players willing and able to travel if there were matches to attend. NYC and DC have small winking factions, not large enough to support match play within themselves (what is the critical 'winker mass''?) and to this point, unable to create/find many voices. Perhaps reduction of winking interest in Ithaca and Boston concerns these winkers more than it does the players in our traditional winking centers. Haverford (near Philadelphia) is being considered as the site for the 1981 Continentals. Should (could?) it also be thought of for a spring match for the NYC, DC, and Ithaca sectors?

In summary, let me say that we know there is less winking going on-- smaller matches and few novices. Is this a problem or an accceptable direction for NATwA? I suggest that team leadres attempt to find out what their teams think about it all, that individual and group preferences be written/verbalized for discussion at this year's Continentals.

Fading-Out, Burning-Out, Recruitment, Gratitude, Competitiveness, Compromise,
and the Future of NATwA

by Fred Shapiro

Over the past 3 years I have probably been more involved with the different aspects of NATwA organization than any other winker. Through these activities I have gradually, sometimes painfully, learned a lot of things about the way NATwA works and the prospects for future development of our game. I would like to take Mr. Kahn's article as a point of departure for communicating some of the lessons I have come to accept.

Larry mentions a steady decline in the activity of established winkers. This is an unmistakeable and ominous fact. Taking the list of the 20 players who have played the most tournament games as a good compilation of the most long-term "dedicated" winkers, we find some strong indicia of how widespread this trend really is. Of these 20 veterans, one has completely retired from NATwA (Craig Schweinhart) and one is apparently taking a leave of absence (Dave Barbano). One is virtually unable to be involved due to boondocking (Jim Marlin) and three have their activities severely limited by boondocking (Bill Gamerdinger, Charles Frankston, and Scott Hirsh). I see significant declines in activity in recent years on the parts of Ferd, Bill Renke, Joe Sachs, and Indian; and Sunshine, Severin, and myself appear over the long run to be waning in interest. Bob Henninge and mary kirman are probably limited in their winks involvement by geography, and Rick Tucker will probably feel the effect of partial boondocking as well. This adds up to as many as 16 of the 20 most veteran winkers probably heading downhill in involvement.

I will have more to say on this trend, but let me switch for a moment to the question of expansion, or more precisely the recruitment of new winkers. I wrote a long letter for the May 1978 Newswink setting forth a kind of gospel of expansionism, and sent out in the fall of that year a rather embarrassing letter announcing an expansion-oriented candidacy fo SecGen. There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then, and I now view expansion as virtually inconceivable in the current order of things. The number of poeple in NATwA willing to do any work toward expansion is never more than about a half-dozen; more importantly, it is damn hard to force recruitment however hard you work at it. Last year myself, Rick, Ross Callon, and Arye Gittelman made an all-out effort under the most propitious circumstances to restore MITTwA to a self-perpetuating basis, but, according to reports I hear from Cambridge, this attempt appears ultimately to have failed. Cornell's idea of a new recruit is a High School graduate who enrolls there. Ithaca High School is the only reliable source of novices we have at this point, although Bob and mary have done a notable job of bringing some new people into the game in recent years.

To quote Ross, what does this all mean? It means that if older players fade out, they will not be replaced so easily. There are only a handful of newcomers each year; more importanly, since Joe in 1973 there have been very few newcomers who have stuck around to be major presences in NATwA, Arye being the foremost example. In the face of the fading-out trend discussed above, we're not talking about expansion, we're talking about maintaining the current scope of the organization. Since veterans that fade take with them not only their individual presences as other games-playing bodies at tournaments, but a wealth of experience and commitment with regard to sporting skill, general enthusiasm and organizational savvy, it is that much harder to replace them. How would you replace a Sunshine or a Joe? I am not even talking here of the tremendous personal qualities of such people, only of their importance to NATwA in terms of enthusiasm and energy and knowledgeability. Of course, the personal qualities, which play the biggest part in making the game what it is and encouraging others to stay in, are irreplaceable in an absolute sense. In summary, every veteran we lose is a major loss.

The causes of the general fading-out trend are varied and inevitable. Boondocking is inevitable as time goes on; you cannot stay very active in NATwA outside the Northeast no matter how hard you try. As people get older, they have more responsibilities and demands on their time; our interests diversify and change. In terms of people's lives, these developments may be natural; in terms of the future of NATwA, they are ominous.

Other long-term trends pose equal threats to tiddlywinks' future. In various ways, the people who have kept the organization going have become disillusioned with such work. Over the last three years four people have done over 95% of the work in NATwA. I cannot speak for Rick or Joe or Dave Lockwood, but I myself have become somewhat frustrated with working for NATwA, and I suspect ehy may know what I am talking about. It might be in the future self-interest of NATwA to recognixze that it is wise to cooperate with, to encourage and occasionally to thank the people who do the necessary work which all of us benefit from.

So, to the extent that Joe has dropped out from organizaing and I intend to to a large extent and others may have less willingness than in the past, this is a lont-term threat. Someone has to reserve the rooms and make the phone calls and sell the equipment and put out the Newswinks or the organization will wither. Equipoment is of course the overriding long-range threat to the future of winks; I am told that even the new winks are mysteriously running out now. This threat, however, has been extensively discussed and I have nothing to add to what everyone already knows about it, except to say that I hope that when the moments of real crisis hit there are people around willing to do the work necessary to ensure the continued supply of sets and mats.

So, Larry, you are right that we need to think about how to keep NATwA going. The points you raise tie in with what I have said as follows: there is so much else going on tending to undermine the continued involvement of the veterans who are the backbone of NATwA, we don't need to add to these factors the element of disillusionment which many, probably most, veterans feel at the over-competitiveness of tournaments. We must provide outlets for winkers who want to get together and play relaxed games. This can be done through low-pressure, imaginiative-format tournaments. Probably these must not be "official" "statistical" tournaments, because some winkers will always get hyper if their stas are implicated.

Probably also this must be done in some form at the Continentals. As I write this (Dec. 4) I do not know what the format of this year's tournament will be, but I think some of the comments on the sheets at last year's Continentals, emphasizing the spirit of compromise and flexibility so that "all winkers big and small" can get out of this, our major tournament, whatever it is they look to winks for, hit exactly the right not.

Puzzle Perversion

by Larry Kahn

Fill in the blanks with winkers' names or winks terms. Warning: some clues may be obscure. Reading down, the boxed letters spell out a message. For clues, the starting letters are listed elsewhere in this issue.

1  More of these winkers than any other        _ _._._
2  John B.                                     _ _._._
3  Pitty town                                    _._._ _ _ _
4  1.5 pair                                      _._._ _ _ _ _ _ _
5  Top chick                               _ _ _ _._._ _ _
6  Don't clown around                            _._._ _
7  Potbound                                    _ _._._ _ _ _
8  Sideways squop                            _ _ _._._ _ _
9  Colored winker                            _ _ _._. 
10 Winks stadium                                  ._._ _
11 Wink sink                                 _ _ _._.
12 Dive! Dive! Dive!                       _ _ _ _._._ _ _ _
13 Mottob                                      _ _._.
14 Mixed-up Fred                                  ._._ _ _
15 Watergate                                 _ _ _._._
16 Wink press                        _ _ _ _ _ _ _._.
17 Honcho                                _ _ _ _ _._.
18 Cleveland team                          _ _ _ _._._
19 Variation of 4                      _ _ _ _ _ _._.
20 Some winks just ain't got it                   ._._ _ _
21 Occasionally can be your opponent             _._ _ _ _ _ _
22 Winks rag                                 _ _ _._._ _ _ _
23 Lobdell special                         _ _ _ _._._ _ _ _
24 Down in the                         _ _ _ _ _ _._._ 
25 Pile mover                                     ._._ _ _ _
26 Get me out                            _ _ _ _ _._.
27 Veg-o-maniac                        _ _ _ _ _ _._.

See answer to puzzle perversion.

Dewrinkling and Dyeing Winks Mats

by Larry Kahn

I have had good success in getting a lot of the wrinkles out of cross cut mats and also in dyeing the new mats gray. The method is still somewhat under development and you pr[o]bably shouldn't try it without talking to me first. Rick Tucker found that a dye such as gray Tintex gives an excellent color. I used about 3/4 of a package emptied into a bathtub that is nearly full. The mat is then loosely rolled and placed in the water. Once in, it becomes waterlogged and WILL STRETCH if lifted out of the water. In water, it is nearly weightless and won't stretch if you're careful.

I have had some problems in getting a completely even tint because the mat will have air pockets that must be pressed on by hand to completely saturate them. The biggest problem remains in how to get the mat out and onto the flat pressing surface without stretching it. After trying this twice, I believe the solution is to get a tube such as a mailing tube, but waterproof (maybe plastic) and roll up the mat while it's still underwater. Then drain the tub, press out the excess water, and roll out the mat on the pressing surface. I am currently using hollow core doors for this.

After the mat is flat, take a rolling pin and run it down the mat, pressing out the excess water. Then let it dry (a few days) and it's as good as new. For cross-cut mats you should roll them up with the preferred side out snce wrinkling of that side is thereby reduced. This is because in a rolled mat the outside is in tension and the inside is in compression.

The first time I tried this I had some stretching so I cut off the excess. This doesn't appear to have harmed the mat so don't be surprised to see a few mats with slightly irregular borders. I believe this problem can be completely solved by finding a suitable rolling tube. The second time I used a mailing tube there was a big improvement, but the tube got soggy.

Again, I wouldn't advise anybody to try this out before talking to me first.


by Matthew Solá

Laidback winks appears to have made at least a small comeback in the Western Regionals this year. The Toads proved themselves the least worried about the outcome by now showing up at all, making the way easy for a quiet tournament. We're sorry they missed the kind of match they prefer but it was precisely their absence that made the tournament enjoyable. Those remaining were the High School, Cornell, & ECA (aka Dave and his Megalomaniacs). Teams of four played cheerily with the full knowledge that the tournament couldn't possibly count (= I guess you have to quadrumanous to count it. =), one-upping the East's post-Western randomizing of regional standings last year.

What made the tournament most pleasant for the fun-in-winks contingent was its brevity. There were one and 1/2 rounds totalling 6 games completed between 10 and 5:30 on Saturday (= 8 November 1980 =). Tempers remained calm as there were no major time pressure disputes about lateness, long lunch breaks, or electronic-quarter-eater time-outs. Even normally intense players (Dragon...) showed unusual ability to play seriously without getting hyper about bad position or missed shots. While playing with a rookie against Doug Young and me he started with very poor position and was quickly trapped by a threatened blitz in heavily protected territory. A strategically tight game by both sides kept Dave and partner Nathan largely underneath. But Dave's late round potting and my lack of it after Doug and I missed some simple squops in early rounds gave them a 4-3 victory. In that game I proved to be the more volatile player, duplicating the famous "Schiller Shatters Squidger" after missing a 1/2" squop. (Should anybody find a 1/4" square of red squidger at North Campus I would appreciate its return.)

I am a strong advocate of 'keep the game friendly', 'play hard and seriously' and 'to hell with the score'. But for the extraordinary pleasantness of this last tournament I had begun to think that laid-back winks was on the wane and my retirement was inevitable. Maybe this was not the ideal way to have a Western Regionals, but it was reassuring to think that this type of match could happen. Perhaps now I can postpone my departure from the game.

Clues to puzzle:

Here are the first letters associated with each of the numbered entries in Larry Kahn's acrostic puzzle:

1D, 2G, 3I, 4P, 5S, 6B, 7N, 8B, 9B, 10M, 11P, 12S, 13P, 14F, 15S, 16S, 17S, 18I, 19K, 20W, 21P, 22N, 23H, 24B, 25G, 26P, 27S.

1980 Easterns Report

by Fred Shapiro, Esq.

The 1980 Easterns, on the 6th of December at MIT, continued the recent trend of tournaments with record-low turnouts, as only 21 people showed up and, as happened at the Westerns, a 6-game quad format was forced by universal team shortages. Nonetheless, the match had a high enjoyment quotient and provided a model for how a relaxed, friendly team tournament might be conducted. Probably the only purpose of a Regionals nowadays is precisely to have a low-key teams tournament, anyway.

For the record, the newly-formed Alliance won handily with 54 1/2 points. MIT, in the absence of enforcement of singles penalties, edged Relix for second place, 41.4 to 41. MIT now leads Relix by .23 in their recent series of photo-finishes. Chickens placed fourth with 31.1 (= the editor of this precistent journal, dodecaNewswink, butts in to remark upon the unnatural team scores. See article, Sapience vs. Lyssophilia =).

In individual trivia, Ross Callon played a truly impressive tournament, going 5-0 for 29 points. Dave Lockwood extended his NATwA unbeaten streak to 16 games, going 5-0-1, 32 1/2, and Fred Shapiro, Esq., was 5-1, 30. Larry Kahn needed a 6 in his last game to extend his record streak of consecutive tournaments with over a 4 ppg to 22 (since the 1976 BIT). Dave and Larry tied Bill Renke and Ferd, only the second tie in almost 500 games for Dave, and, for Bill, his first since, believe it or not, [the] 1970 BIT.

Pay Time Limit


A new concept in timing winking was unveiled in Ithaca in September. For a mere penny, winkers were granted an hour time limit by Matt's strange device.

The Secret Squop

a short story contest

Your nonchalant editor often hears murmurs of mesmerizing fiction anxiously awaiting appearance in triskaidekaNewswink. Details elsewhere this issue.

Senator, wearing party hat, shooting winks into a cup on top of his in basket.]

Brooklyn, New York
4 March, 1979.

Dear Mr Shapiro and Mr Tucker,

Your enquiry in the New York Review of Books of 25 January has come belatedly to my notice.

When I was in the fourth term at Wolverhampton Grammar School in 1947, the Rev. Mr Edgar Ambrose Willis joined the school staff as instructor in religious education. It was that gentleman, I believe, who was subsequently responsible for the adoption at Oxford and Cambridge of tiddlywinks as a serious pursuit.

As a teacher, Mr Willis did not have much success and he stayed only one term: he was an utter failure as a disciplinarian, and that combined badly with his fervent seriousness on a subject that nobody cared anything about, his peculiar and exaggerated upper-class accent, typical of a product of St Paul's School (like, for example, General Montgomery), and his smooth, bald, rotund appearance (his friends all knew him as 'Eggs').

However, he gave tea parties and ran holiday parties at Oakley Hall School, Cirencester, On those occasions, his large collection of games was a prominent feature, notably tiddlywinks. It was in keeping with his out-of-classroom air of earnest jollity that he took an apparently frivolous game so seriously; he had formulated his own version of the rules (he called them the Queensberry rules), together with their technical terms. The only one I remember was 'drop-kick.' However I read some years later (late fifties?) a newspaper account of a Cambridge tiddlywinks tournament with which Mr Willis's name was linked; on that occasion Prince Philip, in one of his well-known humorous moods, made some remarks that incorporated terms from the Queensberry rules.

The pursuit of tiddlywinks at Oxford and Cambridge is not surprising, since it is in a way the epitome of the typically (especially at Oxford) undergraduate affectation of studio in otio

In combining religiosity with the study of some rather surprising branch of worldly or frivolous knowledge and with a, to coin a phrase, homoerotic bent, Mr Willis was probably one of a breed found more frequently earlier in this century and more often in the Catholic and Anglo-Catholic variety of religion. He was, I believe, a Baptist. There was an obituary for E. A. Willis in the London Times, possibly in the mid-sixties.

I realize that I am vague about dates. I am afraid that I was not consciously storing this particular set of data for future reference.

For further information about the recent history of tiddlywinks, though this may sound like an unlikely suggestion, you might try sending your inquiry to the correspondence columns of Private Eye[,] the satirical magazine which
you are no doubt acquainted with.

Yours truly
Anthony Lloyd

Ramblin' Dave Raves

English Singles '80

The ETwA Singles had an overlaid sense of predictability but underneath, the world was topsy-turvy. The predictable portion was Jonathan Mapley, the 19-year veteran, racing through the field easily. He was 19-1 for the weekend, losing to Cyril Edwards on the second day to make the tournament look interesting. Mapley has lost 5 of his last 60 match games, a streak that began at the ETwA Pairs last April. Jon is once again a challenger for the World Singles and at this point, should be favored to win it from Pam Knowles of The Dragon who play each other in early 1981 at the Greene King sponsored match.

The upset nature of the also-rans is worthy of note. Duncan Budd, a member of the Latymer Upper School Tiddlywinks Society, averaged a point in the finals and did very well to qualify in his first year of play. Geoff Thorpe, formerly at Cambridge, also displayed his recent improvement, beating Keith Seaman in the finals and tying Dave Lockwood in the preliminaries. Next up from the bottom was a surprise guest, The Dragon.

Ah yes, The Dragon. Jon Mapley asked Dave an innocent question in October: "Why do you win the World Singles but not the National Singles tournaments?". A good question. While sparkling in World Singles in 1980 (3 wins, over Jon, Severin Drix, and Larry Kahn), The Dragon has been weak in the championships. The ETwA Singles was to be a proper forum for Dave to silence the critics. But ... 'twas not to be. A good preliminary round (9-1-1 for first place in the division) was followed by a disastrous finals (3-5-1 with losses to Pam, Charles Relle, Keith (a gift), Jon, and Alan Dean) for an 8th place finish. Dave has an uphill battle in the World Singles again with challenges from Pam and now Jon outstanding.

In 7th place was another surprise: Alan "The Supreme" Dean. Alan has now won 50% of the 10 ETwA Singles championships; at one time he had won three of three. The aging superstar has not won anything major for a while. His last major win was the ETwA Singles '78. Besides the victory against the 1978 NATwA All-Star team, Alan has the worst international showing of any of the world's major players. He is 0-2 in World Singles, 0-1 in World Teams, and 0-1 in World Pairs. Quickly let me say that his reaching so many world championships is an exceptional achievement. His recent English and American performances would suggest future world championships may be rare.

The rest of the also-rans performed better than expected. In 6th was a "newcomer" ... or at least a player who hadn't played in a tournament for over two years. With Alan Dean gone north, Julius Mach, along with Mick Mooney (who barely didn't qualify), are the best English winkers south of London. Julius, 5-4 for 32 1/2 points, is a veteran of the first World Teams in 1972.

In 5th and 4th were Charles Relle and the 1980 American Singles champion (though not titleist), Pam Knowles, with 33 and 34 points, respectively. Both nailed the Dragon for 6-1 victories to help their causes. The pack from 4th to 8th were only separated by 4 1/2 points.

The best of the also-rans were Cyril and Keith. Keith in 3rd with 38 1/2 points and a 6-3 record made his greatest impact since his victories in 1974 and 1975. Cyril, 6-2-1 for 42, was the major surprise of the tournament. After inflicting the only major loss of the weekend on Mapley, he led for a couple of rounds. His strong showing is a warning of greater triumphs in the future. However, his own predicted finish as of Sunday morning was 8th. Congratulations on a very good performance, Cyril.

In conclusion, a large field, some startling upsets, and the overpowering performance of Jon Mapley made this one of ETwA's finest tournaments. Thanks are due to the Soton Club for hosting the event and to the various homes made available on Saturday night. While I don't want to end on a negative note, I will because this is where my thoughts have led me. With attendance reaching these levels in singles play, we must work out better ways of handling the format. Twenty games in two days is TDM.

The Winks Equipment Crisis

by Larry Kahn

NATwA is getting pretty desperate for good new equipment and we can't afford to delay much longer in our searches. Basically, the four areas of concern are pots, squidgers, mats, and winks.

Pots — The pots and mold we are presently using are quite adequate functionally, although aesthetically I think they're a real pile. Personally, I would like to see the rim thinner, the color less shiny and the sound a little less tinny. However, these are minor problems that you could just about cure with sandpaper and spray paint. Basically, the current pot supply is in pretty good shape.

Winks — The last batch of winks was pretty bad. There were three primary defects: grainy surfaces, varying thicknesses, and sharp instead of rounded edgdes. Everyone knows the effects of graininess and thickness but the sharper edges also pose a problem. The edges are so sharp the the trajectory of the wink has changed on pots and squops. The sharper edge gives a significantly higher trajectory, particularly when using sharp squidgers.

If the last batch was indicative of what we'll get in the future then we probably have to find a new source. The best solution so far would be to try and get the mushroom winks (made in West Germany) in a slightly larger size for smalls. Big winks are interchaneable. If it comes down to a choice, I think that using the smaller mushroom winks imposes less of a change on the gamet than do the current new winks, although there is sifnificant change in either case. Dave Lockwood and Joe Sachs, we really need your (Pan Am's?) help in looking into this.

Squidgers — If the mushroom connection comes through we hopefully could get squidgers also. The squidger we have been getting all along are probably OK and they can be flattened using the dewarping method of boiling.

Mats — Mats have become a serious problem. The new mats were too thin and if we order them thicker they will cost a lot more. It would be really nice if we could find an American source (contact has been made with a New Jersey firm, samples to appear). The material Rick Tucker found (at Commonwealth Felt, Boston) was somewhat reasonable although the felt seemed to be packed denser, thus giving a higher trajectory on all shots. using those mats with new winks is impossible. If anyone knows of felt companies we haven't contacted yet perhaps we should send them samples of our felt and see if they can match it. As far as I can tell, the springiness and winking quality of a mat is determined by the thickness of the felt and thedensity to which it is packed.

Assuming we can eventually solve these problems the only remaining one will be in finding interested new winkers to sell the equipment to.

And so it goes / A peek into the past

The Easterns, a cross among hide-and-seek, musical chairs, and the Continentals, was once again acted out on 2-3 December 1978 in the MIT Mezzanine Lounge.

The ground rules laid down by Turkey Deluxe Josef Sachs regarding "B" division play were stringently enforced at 9 o'clock when only ½ the Harvard team showed. One of the games in the first round was played with one Real Winners player vs. zero harvard players, and another with a Winner pair vs. Fred and thereby incurring a penalty of 1/3 of the points gained by Fred for the Harvard team score. Later in the day, Mr. TD himself defied his own written words and played for MIT in addition to his Real Winners, crossing divisional barriers. While some thought the TD's two 6s for MIT proved to provide the difference which resulted in Relix (who?) losing to the Chickens, the situation is much simpler than that. You see, while brave Relix played 4 of its 18 games with one player short, thereby incurring the penalty of 1/3 of the points earned in them, MIT deviously used its players multiple times against the same team. MIT, using this system, required only 5 players to play against the 5 Relix. Charles Frankston played in 5 of the 9 games vs. Relix. But the Relix, as it went, layed one game in the penalty situation against MIT. There went 1 2/3 points. And so it goes.

The Chickens should be congratulated for the hexes, and that only Ferd played the full 6 games in the "A". The Zoo players, Bill Renke (after a year's absence from winks), TDI, and Barry Rogoff, after learning that their team would be filled out with Rick Tucker, switching from MIT after 6 years, and Fred Shapiro, whose Harvard players eventually arrived, and Tina Warren, who remained a member of Renaissance, quickly abandoned the old familiar name for "Relix". John Radford of the Winners team (from the MIT fraternity AEPi) became the 5th winker in recent memory to come out with a tie in his first NATwA game. The Chickens did not bring forth strange fruit such as persimmons and kumquates this match, but did show their strength and breadth with 9 winkers, equaled by the Winner.

A bevy of long-lost winkers arrived for the match. Invited by Fred were John Kernochan and Alfred Goldberg of the 1962 Harvard Gargoyle Undergraduate Tiddlywinks Society (GUTS), who came by to view the commonwealth of winks. Also invited by Fred were Paul Mailman, after 5 years of retirement, and Dan Bricklin, also after 5 years. Not invited by Fred was Steve Krasner, after 4 years in the ARW. The Harvard winkers of 1962 (pre-NATwA) did not play. Unnoticeably absent from the tournament was Mr. Dragonweed, undoubtedly off in Bangkok or Rio, or posing for centerfold photos to generate publicity for our game.

The final score was Real Winners 47, Harvard 16, and a nascent Boston University pulling off a 3.5 ppg in its 3 games. And I think the other division finalized out at Chicken Hearts 69 2/3, Relix 67 2/3, MIT 51 2/3. A good day for 2/3.

8/2/80 World Singles Report

by *

Dave Lockwood retains title 30-19, winning last 3 games 6-1 to undo Larry Kahn's 16-12 lead. Surprisingly, no games ended in a pot out, though early blitz attempts were mounted in most games. Level of play was quite high for most of the match, peaking in excellent 5th game that proved to be very important for D. L made many brilliant squopping shots but was hurt be occasional short misses and unreliable potting (only 4 for 10 in match, none very long). D made his share of outstanding shots, was sharper as the match progressed and kept the pressure on L throughout with his solid strategy. Play was slow—averaging 36 minutes for only 27 rounds per game. D utlitized the 30 second rule on most shots during close games. The long play (7½ hours with a 1 hour lunch break), the strain of playing against D's relentless play & strategy for so long, and D's greater match experience (he peaks in 5th and 6th games, it seems, in Singles matches) proved too much for L as his play fell off sharply in the late games.

Records set in the match include 30 points (old record Bill Renke 29 over *) and least winks potted (unofficially, only 11) and most coverage on NY evening TV (as Drew Scott said on WPIX, "The Dragon made mincemeat out of Horsemeat."), and most successful title defenses (n, where n is unreadable) (Sunsch's scrawl is bad enough, but a photocopy of it requires operose semiological travail; paralipomena may appear in Newswink 13 if * informs me of the details; thus endeth this prolix hortatory) Judge - Sev (substitution of Joe Sachs); Clock & notes - *.

  1. Tentative, very slow game as players feel each other out. L gains advantage; is heading towards 5-2 win but well times late D surge and L pot misses helps D to a comeback 5-2 victory.
  2. L gains control, defends excellently against a strong D attack and many close squop decisions go L's way as L holds on for 6-1 and 8-6 match lead.
  3. Tight game with D ... blows open and L must respond to D pot threat, helping D to a strong position, inside track at a 5-2. Both players fail to pressure each other by missing pots and D's 5-2 regains match lead, 11-10.
  4. Important game for L as D assumed fragile control. L kept on coming, outlasting D's defenses and broke open game, winning going away 6-1 for biggest lead of match to this point, 16-12. Would have been easy for L to crumble midway through game; 6-1 for D would have put him in th driver's seat, 17-11.
  5. Best game of match, awesome number of seemingly impossible shots by both players. L would be ahead, D would make wonderful shot to threaten to gain control but L would respond with an equal shot. With 4 min to go L had easy shot to virtually nail down victory (possibly 22-13 lead) but missed the squop and D took it from there, capitalizing on each L mistake for a 6-1 victory. Difference of 6-1 and 5-2 gave D the lead 18-17.
  6. Strain of the battle tells on L and he starts to lose his sharpness as D gets stronger. Close early game goes strongly to D and he holds on easily for 6-1, threatening a control pot-out that could have ended match. L could not afford the consecutive 6-1s as he now trails 24-18 in match and is in the dreasful position of needing 7 against D.
  7. Early rolls off table all but sign L's death certificate; he batles gamely but D gives him little margin or error, continues to play impressively and grinds his way to a 6-1 for a 30-19 margin and successful defense of title.

Vaticinal Vicissitudes

by *

Does Newswink need a 'gossip' column, or rathre, reportage on things winkers are doing as people. Would the readership want to know about the building of solar (envelope) houses, of clumpsville, about union organizaing, the demise of a long serving beloved vehicle, of job changes, dropouts and education completions, of pregnancies, of long distance romance, of recenter-former-and-future marriage and the like. I hear of such things in my travels within NATwA country; but should such confidences be printed? And what ever happened to the idea of a NATwA pictures & personal sketches type publication in which people could select their own gossip? Well, maybe by next issue I'll have enough 'interesting' information to pass on.

Toads Spotted in Ohio Backwater

by Bob Henninge

It appears that the Winking Toad will again make its annual migration to the site of the Continentals in a population expected to be between five and eiqht.

Once feared extinct due to their mysterious absence from the recent unregionals, specimens of the Ohio Winking-Toad (xenopus winx) can again be heard and occasionally seen squoipping away in the glades and gullies of outer Appalachia. Sightings have been reported as far north as Columbus (Paul Henninge and Margaret) and Cleveland (Mac & Sue), but the epicenter of the phenomenon is the territory surrounding Athens, Ohio. From the original Toad Farm in Wellston (Rich & Country) the population has spread east to Albany (BIG), Amesville (mary & Fuzzy), and Cutler (Bob & Roger). The underlined varieties of Xenopus show a significant increase in the regularity of clumping activity*. Statistical analysis of these data lends support to the hypothesis that they're up to something.

* Clumping is a term used to describe certain species' tendencies toward grouping together into flexible but dependable mutual support systems. In some species, individuals may share territories and food sources; in others with higher clumpativity, they may even estivate and provide for their young in common. Toads have proven to be consistenly amphibious about clumping, getting neck deep in it while keeping their feet on the ground. Tendencies towards clumpativity have recently been documented in wild turkeys and other birds of valor.

[Image of a stamp postmarked "WINK, TX DEC 28 PM 1978 79789"]


by *

Last September, many NATwA members journeyed to Long Island to break a 6 year old record for most winkers dressed up for a formal occasion. However, a very different form of gathering took place the previous April in Canterbury, New Hampshire. Not since the days of Toronto debauchings had there been such an exhibition of degeneracy. In attendance were much of Somerville & the Relix, a few Chickens, and 4 long missing Torontians—RG, Goff, Myro, & Evets. Over the course of the weekend much food, beer, and other substances were consumed during the Pentathlon of continual game playing. The Relix dominated the bridge scene (duplicate team title; rubber bridge to TDI), Frolf belonged to Toronto (RG, Goff running 1-3), and * captured backgammon and some game involving plastic objects. Individual honours went to TDI (9 points), * (*), and Bob (6). Unfortunately, no statistics were kept on 'debauching'. is the official web site of the North American Tiddlywinks Association.
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