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11:35am on Saturday, 24th July, 2021:

Look In


My wife asked me if I knew the answer to a crossword clue this morning: "Opening cry in Bingo (4, 4)".

She knew I'd know the answer, because my weekend job when I was in my teens was as a Bingo caller. I told her "Eyes down", which of course was correct.

I then repeated the call, with the parts that immediately followed. "Eyes down, look in, your first number".

"Is that 'look in' or 'luck in'?" she asked.

OK, so I'm from Yorkshire. The words "look" and "luck" sound exactly the same in my accent. It hadn't even occurred to me that the word might be "luck", though — I just assumed it was "look". Had I used that phrase thousands of times and been misunderstanding it all allong?

All the other callers were also from Yorkshire, and so also said the word the same way as me, so I wouldn't have noticed if they were saying "luck" rather than "look" — all except one, that is! A young woman called Sandy used to come up from Stratford in London every year to call over the summer. I had to dredge up a memory of her starting a game to listen to how she said it.

The way she said it was "look in".

Phew! That's a relief. It would have been rather embarrassing to have been saying "look in" instead of "luck in" all those times.

In my accent, the vowel sounds in "good luck" are identical. I have yet to discover whether this amplifies the luck given or dampens it down.

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