What language do you speak with white gloves on, and standing on a crate?
The answer is tic tac. (Or tick-tack or something similar, there are lots of variations.)
As the white gloves suggest, tic tac is a sign language, and, as the crate indicates, it's for communicating across distances.
Tic tac was used to let people know betting odds at race courses, and until recently its use was fairly widespread. It used to be secret, too, but now the mobile phone and computers have almost entirely taken over tic tac's function there's no need for it to be secret any more.
Edgar Degas, Race horses in a landscape.
Odds of 9/4, for instance, were conveyed by touching both hands to the top of the head. Odds of 33/1 were represented by crossing the arms across the chest.
Within tic tac there were dialects - the south of England's touch of an ear was the touch of an elbow in the north.
As well as these signs, there were words, too. Some were based on rhymes (Burlington Bertie, 100 to 30); some on backslang (net, 10 to 1); some on the sign language (ear'ole, which was 6 to 4); some on the numbers themselves (century, 100 to 1); and some have German or French influences (elef a vier, 11 to 4). Exes, 6 to 1, is German (sort of) and backslang.
Though why 5 to 1 should be called ching I have not the faintest idea.
Alas, alas, tic tac is nearly gone. I wish someone would write a musical with a tic tac chorus.
That's the only way I can see of keeping it alive.
Thing To Do Today: some tic tac. When someone says do you think it's going to rain? show the odds by touching your ear (6-4) or crossing your hand on your chest (33-1) and think of beautiful horses.