Bingo Calling Numbers Explained – Rhyming, Shapes & History

Come and join us in the Halloween Bingo Room at BJ’s Bingo online on Sunday 31st October 2021 from 22:00 to 23:00.

We’ll be playing ten games of bingo for some cracking prize money and best of all it’s exclusive to BJ’s Bingo customers!

Each game will pay a guaranteed £20 for one line, £30 for two lines and £50 for a full house. Also, William, our Membership Manager will be hosting the online chat with a quiz for the chance to win online bonuses and more.

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So, join us for some treats, no tricks, this Halloween.

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Bingo Calling Numbers Explained – All 90 Numbers

1 – Kelly’s eye

2 – One little duck

3 – Cup of tea

4 – Knock at the door

5 – Man alive

6 – Tom Mix/Half a dozen

7 – Lucky seven

8 – Garden gate

9 – Doctor’s orders

10 – PM’s den

11 – Legs eleven

12 – One dozen

13 – Unlucky for some

14 – Valentine’s Day

15 – Young and keen

16 – Sweet 16

17 – Dancing queen

18 – Coming of age

19 – Goodbye teens

20 – One score

21 – Royal salute

22 – Two little ducks

23 – Thee and me

24 – Two dozen

25 – Duck and dive

26 – Pick and mix

27 – Gateway to heaven

28 – In a state/Overweight

29 – Rise and shine

30 – Dirty Gertie

31 – Get up and run

32 – Buckle my shoe

33 – All the threes

34 – Ask for more

35 – Jump and jive

36 – Three dozen

37 – More than eleven

38 – Christmas cake

39 – 39 steps

40 – Life begins

41 – Time for fun

42 – Winnie the Pooh

43 – Down on your knees

44 – Droopy drawers

45 – Halfway there

46 – Up to tricks

47 – Four and seven

48 – Four dozen

49 – PC

50 – Half a century

51 – Tweak of the thumb

52 – Danny La Rue

53 – Here comes Herbie/Stuck in a tree

54 – Clean the floor

55 – Snakes alive

56 – Shotts Bus

57 – Heinz varieties

58 – Make them wait

59 – Brighton Line

60 – Five dozen

61 – Baker’s bun

62 – Turn the screw/Tickety-boo

63 – Tickle me

64 – Red raw

65 – Old age pension

66 – Clickety click

67 – Stairway to heaven

68 – Saving Grace

69 – Favourite of mine

70 – Three score and ten

71 – Bang on the drum

72 – Six dozen

73 – Queen bee

74 – Hit the floor

75 – Strive and strive

76 – Trombones

77 – Sunset strip

78 – 39 more steps

79 – One more time

80 – Eight and blank

81 – Stop and run

82 – Straight on through

83 – Time for tea

84 – Seven dozen

85 – Staying alive

86 – Between the sticks

87 – Torquay in Devon

88 – Two fat ladies

89 – Nearly there

90 – Top of the shop

Anyone who has played bingo at clubs such as BJ’s Bingo knows that one of the most memorable aspects of the game is the assorted calls made upon the revelation of each number. Even if you’ve only been to bingo once, you remember the numbers and the often comical calls that accompany them. But where do they come from and why?

As is often the case, the true answer is multi-faceted and requires a deeper dive. The below categories cover most if not all of the 90 numbers in a traditional game of UK bingo, with many numbers falling into more than one.

Read on for an explanation of bingo’s many calls…


The first thing you’ll notice about bingo calls is that the vast majority of them rhyme, which is no accident. Even if they do belong to one of the below categories as well, more often than not they will also rhyme with the number they’re paired with.

For example, ‘42 Winnie the Pooh’, or ‘85 staying alive.’ These rhymes make the calls more catchy, engaging and memorable for both the caller and the player.


As well as rhyming, there are calls that are very basic and easy to understand in their construction. ‘16 Sweet Sixteen’ is a perfect example, as is ‘65 old-age pension’ and a few others. Rather than having some historic reasoning behind their use, these calls play on simple, easy-to-follow wordplay or references that even new players will understand and appreciate.

bingo calling numbers - balls


The shape of the number itself can also be a big contributing factor to the bingo call given to it. The most famous examples are ‘two little ducks 22’, and ‘legs eleven 11.’ In these instantly recognisable bingo calls, the numbers bear a clear resemblance to what is described. 22 looks like two small ducks, whilst the number 11 could easily pass for a pair of legs.


Whilst the story behind many numbers and their respective calls fall into one or more of the above, there are a few that have a richer, more interesting backstory. Some have a history behind them, a history that will go unknown for many players – until now.

‘Doctor’s Orders’ (9) relates to the name of a laxative tablet taken by soldiers during the second world war, whilst ‘Sunset Strip’ (77) refers to an old TV show. Similarly, ‘Tom Mix’ (6) is a reference to an old American movie star, and ‘Trombones’ (76) comes from a song in a musical called The Music Man.

These examples and a few more are a perfect example of the rich history involved in the intricacies and eccentricities of everyday bingo. It may be a simple game, but it’s far from dull, and the facts displayed here clearly reflect that truth.

In short, there are a number of varying origins covering the full list of wordplay bingo calls heard in halls around the UK. Whether it’s a simple rhyme, a clever shape, a self-explanatory description or something more specific – you won’t forget them anytime soon. As a result, people are sure to keep coming through the doors to play bingo.