Friday’s answers

Andrei gets my thanks for posing Thursday’s questions.

Should you have stumped us all you can claim a virtual batch of ginger crunch by leaving the answers below.

You also get a bonus virtual batch of shortbread for the topic. My father came from Dundee and a picture of the old Tay Bridge hung on the wall in my parents’ sitting room.

I knew of William McGonagall and his notoriety (Dunedin has an annual bad poetry competition in his honour). But I didn’t know about the Tay Bridge poem.

2 Responses to Friday’s answers

  1. Will says:

    I’d never heard of him. Out of curiosity I read one called the ‘Tay Whale.’ Pretty dire.


  2. Andrei says:

    (1) What is the Scottish poet William McGonagall most celebrated for?

    He is (in)famous for his bad poetry and is sometimes considered the creator of the worst poetry in the English language

    (2) What is his most famous poem?

    “The Tay Bridge Disaster”

    (3) What event does this poem recall?

    The answer is in the title – “The Tay Bridge Disaster”

    This was the largest bridge in the world at the time but collapsed during a storm as a passenger train was passing over it with large loss of life

    (4) How do the events recounted in this poem relate to the importance of numeracy?

    The engineer who built it, Sir Thomas Bouch, did not calculate the effect of “wind loading” on the structure which lead to its collapse a mere eighteen months after it first went into service

    (5) Can you draw a moral from this?

    My thoughts

    Sir Thomas Bouch, who had been a successful engineer is remembered today for this disaster – it also killed him the stress of these events led to a fatal heart attack 4 months after the collapse

    And William McGonagall is remembered for bad poetry

    But bad engineering kills people while bad poetry makes them smile

    All engineers have nightmares that they will overlook something that will lead to catastrophe

    Let’s enjoy the poem 🙂


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