The Post Quiz: Long Winters - Answers

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We'd rather be writing about the long, hot summer, but we'll take what we can get.

Long Winters: Answers

Falling snowflakes.

They tell us that spring will come. And it has, really, every year except 1816, which was called '18-hundred-and-froze-to-death' by many people. They would have been glad of those furry earmuffs Aunt Ethel sent you, so don't be so proud.

Here are the answers to the weather quiz.

  1. Where was the Frost Fair of 1607 held, and why? The River Thames, because it was frozen over. It was called the 'Little Ice Age'.
  2. What highly intellectual film features Elizabethans on ice skates? Orlando. You know, the one where Quentin Crisp plays Queen Elizabeth I.
  3. Why was the Danish defeat in 1658 the result of strange weather? The Swedes didn't need boats to invade. They crossed the frozen Great Belt with an army, darn them.
  4. What happened in New England on 13 July 1816 that didn't usually happen in the summer? It snowed. The Old Farmer's Almanac accidentally predicted this: a copy boy's joke turned out to be prophetic.
  5. What caused all the weird weather in Europe and New England in 1816, anyway? A volcano in the East Indies.
  6. What meteorological phenomenon do some scientist blame on the Black Death? Global cooling. You heard us. According to the theory, the 14th-century plague killed off so many humans that Europe reforested, thus lowering the temperature. Fewer cows, less methane. Something like that. You know scientists.
  7. Speaking of widespread devastation, what two things killed so many people in Europe in the winter of 1944/45? World War II and the weather. The winter of 1944/45 was the coldest in the 20th Century. Ask an elderly person.
  8. Who wrote a novel about the harrowing winter of 1880-1881 in South Dakota, and what was it called? Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter. Part of the stories of the 'Little House on the Prairie'.
  9. What was strange about the 1936 North American cold wave? It was followed by the 1936 heat wave, one of the hottest summers on record.
  10. What unusual sight was found in South-West England and Wales in the final days of 1962? 20-foot snow drifts.

Look out your window. If the sun is shining, and kangaroos are hopping about, we suspect you are happily ensconced in a reasonable place, like Australia. Or else you live in an artificial habitat on another planet. If there's white stuff all over the ground – if, like your Editor, the snow accumulation has now reached a level almost with the top step of the front walk – then you're probably in the northern hemisphere. Temperate zone, my eye. There's nothing temperate about it. But grin and bear it, and keep the snow shovel handy. It's only for a few more weeks.

A snowman wearing a rather fetching hat
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Dmitri Gheorgheni

16.03.15 Front Page

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