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UK Bingo, a game usually played with ninety balls, drawn and called randomly until someone wins, shouting ‘House’ or ‘Bingo’ to claim their prize.

A large number of the bingo balls have over the years been given nicknames, known as ‘Bingo Lingo’, the balls have rhymes attached to them, this helps to add a bit more character to the game as players chant as they are drawn and called out. In 2003, Butlins holiday camps introduced some more modern calls devised by a Professor of Popular Culture, Charlie Blake, to freshen up and modernise the bingo game.

Below is a full list of which each of these are and the meaning behind them, how many do you know?

1. Kelly’s Eye – Possibly a reference to Ned Kelly, a character from the Valiant comic strip “Kelly’s Eye”, where the hero KELLY possessed a magic amulet

2. One little duck – The number 2 looks a lot like a single duck

3. Cup of tea – Rhymes with “Three”

4. Knock at the door – Rhymes with “Four”

5. Man alive – Rhymes with “Five”

6. Tom Mix – Rhymes with “Six”. Tom Mix was a star of silent-era Westerns

7. Lucky – The number 7 is considered lucky in a number of cultures

8. Garden gate – Rhymes with “Eight”

9. Doctor’s Orders – A laxative pill given out by army doctors in WWII was known as number 9

10. (Theresa’s) Den – The name refers to whoever currently resides at Number 10 Downing Street

11. Legs eleven – The number 11 resembles a pair of (chicken) legs, often chicken legs specifically with players often wolf whistling in response

12. One dozen – One dozen is 12 units

13. Unlucky for some – The number 13 is considered unlucky in some cultures

14. The Lawnmower – The original lawnmower had a 14-inch blade

15. Young and Keen/Rugby Team – There are fifteen players in a team of rugby

16. Never been kissed – 16 is the age of sexual consent in the UK

17. Dancing Queen – ABBA’s song Dancing Queen has the number mentioned in the lyrics

18. Coming of Age – Eighteen is the age of majority in the UK

19. Goodbye Teens – Nineteen is the age after which people stop being teenagers

20. One Score – A score consists of 20 units

21. Key of the Door – The traditional age of majority

22. Two little ducks – The number 22 looks like two ducks together, players often respond with “quack, quack, quack”

23. The Lord is My Shepherd – The first words of Psalm 23 of the Old Testament

24. Knock at the door – Rhymes with “(Twenty) Four”

25. Duck and dive – Rhymes with “(Twenty) Five”

26. Two and six, half a crown – Half a crown was a pre-decimalised currency in the UK

27. Duck and a crutch – The number 2 looks like a duck and the number 7 looks like a crutch

28. Two and eight, in a state – Rhyming slang for “state”

29. Rise and Shine – Rhymes with “(Twenty) Nine”

30. Burlington Bertie – This refers to a music hall song of the same name composed in 1900, and a more famous parody (Burlington Bertie from Bow) written in 1915. Burlington Bertie is also 100 to 30 on the race track

31. Get Up and Run – Rhymes with “(Thirty) One”

32. Buckle My Shoe – Rhymes with “(Thirty) Two”

33. All the threes/Fish, chips and peas – Rhymes with

34. Ask for More – Rhymes with “(Thirty) Four”

35. Jump and Jive – A popular dance step

36. Three dozen – Three times number 12

39. Steps – A reference to the book and film The 39 Steps

44. Droopy drawers – A reference to sagging trousers

45. Halfway there – The halfway, of 90, numbers

48. Four Dozen – 4 x 12 = 48 (12 being a dozen)

50. It’s a Bullseye! – Referring to a dart board centre score

52. Danny La Rue/Chicken Vindaloo – Danny La Rue is a famous Australian drag queen entertainer

53. Here comes Herbie – 53 is the racing number of Herbie the VW Beetle, players often reply “beep beep”!

54. Man at the door – Rhymes with “(Fifty) Four”

55. Musty Hive – Rhymes with “(Fifty) Five”

56. Shotts Bus – The bus from Glasgow to Shotts in Scotland also had this number

57. Heinz Varieties – The “57 Varieties” slogan of the H. J. Heinz Company

59. The Brighton Line – The original Brighton telephone numbers all started with the number 2

60. Grandma’s getting frisky – Sounds a lot like ‘sixty’

62. Tickety-boo – Rhymes with “(Sixty) Two”

64. Almost retired – In the UK official retirement age is 65

65. Stop work – The British age of mandatory retirement

66. Clickety click – Rhymes with “(Sixty) Six”

69. Anyway up/Meal for Two/A Favourite of mine – A possibly risqué reference

71. Bang on the Drum – Rhymes with “(Seventy) One”

72. Danny La Rue (again) – Rhymes with “(Seventy) Two”

73. Queen Bee/Under The Tree/Lucky 3 – Rhymes with “(Seventy) Three”

76. Trombones/Was she worth it? – “Seventy-Six Trombones” is a popular marching song, from the musical The Music Man. Was she worth refers to the pre-decimal price of a marriage licence in Britain. Players often shout back “Every Penny”

77. Two little crutches/Sunset Strip – Looks like two crutches. Sunset Strip was a 1960s TV series called “77 Sunset Strip” which players usually sing

78. 39 more steps – 39 + 39 = 78. Refers to 39 being “The 39 steps”

80. Gandhi’s Breakfast – Looks like Mahatma Gandhi sitting cross-legged in front of a plate, sometimes known as “(8)ate (0)nothing”

81. Fat Lady with a walking stick – The number 8 represents a curvy lady, the number 1, a walking stick

83. Stop Farting! – The 8 is supposed to be a bottom and the 3 is the fart. When this is called, a single player responds with “Who? Me?”

84. Seven dozen – 7 x 12 = 84. Refers to the number 12 being “a dozen”

85. Staying alive – Rhymes with “(Eighty) Five”

86. Between the sticks – Rhymes with “(Eighty) Six”

87. Torquay in Devon – Rhymes with “(Eighty) Seven”. Refers to Torquay in the county of Devon

88. Two Fat Ladies – The number 88 represents to curvy ladies next to eachother

89. Nearly there – 89 is the last number but one of the 90

90. Top of the shop – 90 is the highest possible number in bingo, with the shop being a reference to the bingo game

Some callers may not reference all of the nicknames listed for every game. Why not see how many you can spot next time you play.


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