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Bingo Number Calling - Some History

Some of the traditional British bingo calls are so used for fairly obvious reasons which most people even if they don't know for sure have probably managed to work out themselves, legs eleven for instance because the two digits resemble a pair of legs and similarly two fat ladies eighty eight also bears a passing resemblance to the two ladies mentioned, but what about some of the more obscure ones? Where do they come from?

Heinz beans as number fifty seven relates to the traditional number of Heinz varieties still shown on the Heinz label today and two little ducks for twenty two again although a little less obvious is due to the appearance of the two digits, these couple start to seem a little more obscure but still aren't incredibly difficult to work out.

What about Kelly's eye for number one? This originates from popular military slang for the number and in the Kelly mentioned is thought to be notorious Australian outlaw Ned Kelly. Was she worth it is often called out at the number seventy six and relates to the pre-decimal cost of a marriage licence in Britain, seven shillings and sixpence, eager players will shout back "every penny!" The Lord is my shepherd is a shout often used for number twenty three as it is, of course, the opening line of Psalm twenty three in the bible.

These are some of the main calls used, a lot more relate to things that rhyme with the number in question as well as a multitude of interesting local variations and twists added by flamboyant callers. It's all just a bit of fun that helps make bingo the endearingly popular game and pastime it is.

Article was written by Alex, Alex is an online Bingo blogger who contributes to sites like this one with her thoughts and knowledge gained from playing a range of games. She likes to play bingo both online and at land bingo halls!


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Last modified: 11 May, 2017

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