cue: keu. to dwindle: verminderen. grant: beurs. promising: veelbelovend. prone: geneigd. to stay something: iets tegenhouden. receptacle: kom. snooker: obstructieslag. squidger: grotere fiche. tiddlywink: fiche van vlooienspel. It is a sport in which Britain rules the world. It has lifted no less than 37 world titles in the last 20 years. You might think, then, that in this world of government grants to promising athletes and sports centres, this sport and its practitioners would have received their fair share. But in fact, it has never received a penny. This scandalous neglect is perhaps one reason why tiddlywinks recently came close to extinction. Tiddlywinks bears a structural resemblance to snooker, in that the basic aim is to use one object to propel another object into a receptacle. But in tiddlywinks the playing surface is not a table but a mat measuring two metres by one metre, instead of balls there are small plastic discs called winks and instead of a cue there is a larger plastic disc, the squidger, which a player uses to flick his or her winks into the pot. The tiddlywinks equivalent of a snooker is a squop, which you can achieve by getting your wink to land on an opponent's wink. This means you have captured it and have the right to boondock it; that is, to flick it off the mat. OK, so it's not exactly a thrill a minute. And OK, it's not really a 'sport'. (Though some of us would say the same about snooker.) Nevertheless, the news two weeks ago that the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club was to hold an extraordinary general meeting to disband itself caused a small outcry. Cambridge is the spiritual home of British tiddlywinks. It is where the rules of the game were codified in 1955 and the stable which has produced most of the British world champions (their chief rivals have come from Harvard in America). But membership of the club has dwindled sharply over the past decade. Even the remaining members were prone to apathy. Understandably, tiddlywinks cannot compete with more modern forms of entertainment. The only option seemed to be liquidation of the club. However, letters of protest and editorials in the national press (the British know a splendid piece of British eccentricity when they see it) persuaded the remaining members to stay the execution.