Bingo calls have been a vital part of the game since it became popular in the 60’s and haven’t changed much over the years.
Across the UK callers tend to stick with the classics, such as Lucky Seven (7), Half a Century (50) and Top of the Shop (90), and will use a rhyme for all 90 numbers.
Adding nicknames to the numbers makes it more engaging for the players. So, why not join in the fun and learn your bingo calls?
Rhyming Bingo Names
As bingo calls began in the UK they are mostly based on bingo lingo or cockney slang. Created to make the game more entertaining, the witty names help you settle in and start having fun. If you get stuck all you need to remember is that over half of the numbers rhyme with their chosen saying, for example:
8. Garden Gate – a rhyme with a hidden message, which is possibly a reference to a meeting place for gang members.
17. Dancing Queen – named after the popular 1976 song by Abba, which also rhymes with the number.
26. Pick and Mix – refers to childhood sweets while rhyming with the number.
43. Down on Your Knees – a popular phrase for soldiers during wartime and also rhymes with the number.
52. Danny La Rue – rhymes with the number and is based on the Irish singer known for his cross-dressing.
You will recognise some of the rhyming numbers as they have been around for decades, but if you get stuck simply say the number out loud for the rhyme to make sense. This process helps new players understand the nicknames quickly and if you forget it’s not a problem. In fact, bingo calls often change locally and many players like to tweak the rhymes to their favourites from the region, so feel free to make up your own.
Look at The Numbers
If you struggle with the rhyme, try writing some numbers down and see which looks like the saying. Some of the nicknames have been given their name due to their shape and visualising the numbers can help massively.
For example, the number five looks like a snake, so 55 combines the shape with the rhyme to get ‘snakes alive’ and here are some others:
22. Two Little Ducks – the number twenty two looks like two ducks.
25. Duck and Dive – two is often referred to as looking like a duck and the number five looks like a snake, so the duck dives out of the way.
44. Droopy Drawers – rhymes with the number and refers to sagging trousers.
69. Either Way Up – both numbers can be turned upside down and look the same as the other number.
88. Two Fat Ladies – the curves of the eights look like two large ladies sitting next to each other.
If you find these easier to remember you can create a rhyme that both looks and sounds like the number. Many bingo players always refer to eight as a fat lady, seven as a crutch and 2 as a duck to make them easier to understand when playing the game.
Historical and Cultural References
As a large portion of the names are from the 1950s and ’60s there are many that include historical references that can still be recognised today. From Kelly’s Eye (1) to Royal Salute (21) avid bingo players enjoy hearing the familiar names and these include:
9. Doctor’s Orders – during World War II, British doctors handed out a pill called the number nine to cure soldiers.
10. Theresa’s Den – rhyming with the number ten the name of the den owner changes based on the current prime minister elected in the UK.
30. Dirty Gertie – dirty Gertie from Bizerte is a song that was sang by the soldiers during World War II. It also rhymes with 30.
42. Winne The Pooh – this rhyme is based on A. A. Milne’s honey-loving bear, who also appears in the recent Disney film Christopher Robin.
57. Heinz Varieties – Heinz has 57 varieties of canned beans and Henry Heinz says that 57 is his lucky number.
However, as the game moves into the digital age more modern updates have been introduced to help the game appeal to younger generations. This has been done by rhyming the numbers with well-known games and books, such as 84 is Dumbledore and 42 could be Pikachu. So why not create some of your own to help you remember the calls and make the game more fun for you.
Give Bingo a Go
Bingo is often thought as a room filled with old ladies, but the first recorded game in the UK was by the British Navy showing it can be played by anyone. Now you know the
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