Aunt Sally

Aunt Sally is a traditional throwing game. The term is often used metaphorically to mean something that is a target for criticism. In particular, referring to the fairground origins, an Aunt Sally would be "set up" deliberately to be subsequently "knocked down", usually by the same person who set the person up.

The game

The game was traditionally played in British pubs and fairgrounds. An Aunt Sally was originally a figurine head of an old woman with a clay pipe in her mouth, or subsequently a ball on a stick. The object was for players to throw sticks at the head in order to break the pipe. The game bears some resemblance to a coconut shy or skittles, and may have developed from the blood sport of cock throwing, in which a chicken was tied to a post and people took turns throwing "coksteles" (special weighted sticks) at the bird until it died.

Today, the game of Aunt Sally is still played as a pub game in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The ball is on a short plinth about 10cm high, and is known as a 'dolly'. The dolly is placed on a dog-legged metal spike and players throw sticks or short battens at the dolly, trying to knock it off without hitting the spike.

Modern rules of play

Two teams of eight players throw six sticks each per leg. The game is played over three legs, or 'horses'. The largest number of dolls scored per team wins each leg. If there is a tie in the decisive leg, each team can throw three sticks and then one until there is a decisive result. In the league system, however these days legs can be tied, with two points being awarded for a leg win and one for a draw. If a player fails to score in a leg, it is called a blob with the ultimate embarrassment of a three blob game often being published in the local newspapers sports section. It is a custom that the winner of the fourth (beer) leg is bought a drink of their choice by a member of the opposing team.

Other kinds of Aunt Sally

Aunt Sally appears as a character portrayed by Una Stubbs in the television adaptation of the children's serial "Worzel Gummidge", produced by Southern Television for ITV from 1979 to 1981. She is a fairground doll of the type used as a target for throwing competitions but nevertheless considers herself to be of a superior class to Worzel, a scarecrow and her frustrated suitor.

The term 'Aunt Sally' is in limited use as a political idiom, indicating a false adversary or straw man, set up for the sole purpose of attracting negative attention and wasting an opponent's energy.

ee also

*Whipping boy


* [ WorldWideWords]
* [ Aunt Sally - The Online Guide]
* []

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  • Aunt Sally — war eine Punk Band aus Japan, die Ende der 1970er Jahre tätig war. Mitglieder waren neben den kreativen Köpfen Phew (Gesang) und Bikke (Gitarre, Gesang) noch Kataoka (Bass), Takashi Maruyama (Schlagzeug) und Mayu (Keyboard). Neben zahlreichen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Aunt Sally — Aunt Aunt, n. [OF. ante, F. tante, L. amita father s sister. Cf. {Amma}.] 1. The sister of one s father or mother; correlative to nephew or niece. Also applied to an uncle s wife. [1913 Webster] Note: Aunt is sometimes applied as a title or term… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Aunt Sally — n. pl. Aunt Sallies or Aunt Sallys [after the figure of a woman s head at which balls are thrown, as in a sideshow] Brit. a person or idea seen or set up as an easy target for criticism …   English World dictionary

  • aunt sally — I. ˈsalē, li noun (plural aunt sallies also aunt sallys) Usage: usually capitalized A&S 1. Britain : a representation (as an effigy or puppet figure) of a woman usually with a pipe in her mouth 2 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Aunt Sally — noun (plural Aunt Sallies) Etymology: Aunt Sally, name given to an effigy of a woman smoking a pipe set up as an amusement attraction at English fairs for patrons to throw missiles at Date: 1879 British an object of criticism or contention;… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Aunt Sally — noun (plural Aunt Sallies) 1》 a game played in parts of Britain in which players throw sticks or balls at a wooden dummy (formerly a figure of a woman). 2》 a person or thing set up as an easy target for criticism …   English new terms dictionary

  • Aunt Sally — Chiefly Brit. a person who is a ready target for criticism or focus for disputation. [1860 65; so called from the figure used as a target at fairs] * * * …   Universalium

  • Aunt Sally — /ant ˈsæli/ (say ahnt salee) noun 1. Chiefly British a figure, typically of a woman smoking a pipe, at which objects are thrown at a fair. 2. a person who is the butt of jibes, insults, etc …   Australian English dictionary

  • Aunt Sally —  Person or thing attacked merely for the sake of attacking (usu. consciously made into such a target) …   A concise dictionary of English slang

  • Sally — bezeichnet: Sally, Vorname, siehe Sara (Name) Sally (Musical), Musical von Jerome Kern (1918) Sally, US amerikanischer Musical Film von John Francis Dillon (1929), siehe Cilly (Film) Sally ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Judith D. Sally… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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