Why is 111 known as 'Nelson'? "I've no idea!" That was the first reaction of Professor David Crystal, one of the world's foremost experts on English usage. There are more theories than hard facts:
1. The term stems from the mistaken idea that Nelson had one eye, one arm and one leg: hence one, one, one. (In fact, he had two legs.)
2. That it commemorates Nelson's three great naval victories: Copenhagen, the Nile, Trafalgar. Hence: won, won, won.
Shep says: "I always believed it was one eye, one arm, one testicle, because they reckoned Nelson was one short down below as well. But I always say one eye, one arm and one lump of sugar in his tea."
Why is it considered unlucky? One theory says batsmen are allergic to 111 because it resembles a set of stumps without bails. The number, so the argument runs, then became more widely associated with bad luck.
Shep says: "Nelson's always been an unlucky number. Whether it's 111 because of the three stumps, I don't know. It's just a tradition in English cricket."
Is it used only in cricket? No. In pre-decimalisation days, bankers seem to have called a sum of one pound, one shilling and one penny `Nelson'. It is also listed as slang for 111 in a darts book of 1938.
Why did it become associated with jumping up and down? Supposedly this started in the Gloucestershire dressing room when Shep was a player. Some believed that having no part of your body touching the floor brought better luck.
Shep says: "Whenever I was in the field as a player and the score was 111, I would do a little jump but no one really knew I was doing it except one or two friends. When I did my second Test as an umpire at Edgbaston, in 1985, someone had written in to dear old Brian Johnston and said `Watch this idiot when the score gets on 111.'
"It did, I did my little jump and there was a titter in the crowd. I thought there must be a streaker on the field but it was Brian telling the world - and the spectators were listening on their radios. I've been lumbered with it ever since."