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Bric-a-Brac: X is for...

X Stamps, Those Little Spot-the-Ball

Too thick to do the football pools? No matter, you can still be relieved of all your spare cash by doing Spot the Ball, the ridiculously impossible ‘put a cross where you think the ball should be in this photo provided you realise we can say it was anywhere we like once all the entries are in and there’s nothing you can do about it’ competition. Nevertheless, some people – and Nationwide found and spoke to them, unsurprisingly – became obsessed with the thing, leading to a small but highly visible mail order market for rubber stamps with a hundred tightly-packed crosses on them, with which hopeful fools would cover their coupons ‘to save time’.



  1. Richard Davies

    August 10, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I remember when my local paper had a weeky Spot The Ball competition they insisted the crosses were done with a Biro, & rubber stamped crosses were banned.

  2. Applemask

    June 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    And the winner is…Mr T. Venables, Wembley Stadium, London.

  3. THX 1139

    November 6, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    I remember Nationwide covering this, someone complained he had covered the photo in crosses, but the adjudicators had said the ball was in a space between the crosses about a micrometre wide.

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