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January 16, 2008 | 5 Comments

Dear Garrison Keillor,
I live in a retirement village in New Zealand, and I heard your radio show 2 mornings in a row. For some reason it hasn't been on again, and I have no idea what happened to the man and woman down the man-hole.

In NZ this week we had 3 tourists rescued from 'Harwood Hole' a 200 foot hole where young people abseil down. There was an American girl, Canadian man and Welshman, and 14 rescuers took over 12 hours to save them. It has reminded me that I must know what happened down the manhole in your show. Please how can I find out? I have enquired to our National Radio Station for more episodes but have heard nothing as yet. I am only 71 but realise that the rest of my life could be ruined if I don't find out.

Thank you,
Yvonne B. M.

You tuned in to an episode of "Crispy the Rescue Dog" in which a man fell into an open manhole in Times Square in New York, and then Mayor Bloomberg fell in after him. The episode ended with Mr. Bloomberg telling the man to bend over and he, the Mayor, would climb up on his back and out the manhole and then help the man out. On that slight joke, the episode ended. "Crispy" is not a serial story from week to week, each episode is self-contained, and so the ending must be left to your imagination. I believe that both Mayor Bloomberg and the gentleman got out of the manhole simply and easily. In New York City, people who fall in a hole are not allowed to languish for long periods of time. This is all the more true if one of them is the mayor. And now I am wondering what "abseil" means. I suppose it means to use your belly as a plane but the thought of people dropping 200 feet for pleasure is a little beyond me. I guess there is much about New Zealand that we have yet to understand.


Noun 1. abseil - (mountaineering) a descent of a vertical cliff or wall made by using a doubled rope that is fixed to a higher point and wrapped around the body

I wondered what abseiling was too when I visited New Zealand. It seems to be one of those "Queen's English" words that we yanks call "rappelling".

It involves lowering oneself down a cliff or wall while being suspended by ropes or cables.

Those wacky New Zealanders are always throwing themselves off of tall things.

"abseilen" is a German verb, reflexive and non-reflexive for roping oneself or others down, as the others already explained correctly

"abseilen" is a German verb (I happen to be German through no personal merit) which means to use a rope (Seil, pronounced something like "seyel" as in "eye") in order to descend a mountain or cliff or wall, or, in this case, obviously the side of a hole.

For the NZ listener. Radio NZ national have been playing PHC on saturday and sunday mornings to replace the usual magazine programming which is on holiday. Eventually one hopes to hear PHC again on Wednesday nights at 9.00pm on Radio NZ National.If you click on "National" at the top of the RNZ website here and then "view all schedules" you can find out when its on again.Regards Martin from NZ.

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